Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ON THE SPOT with David Almond



The New Vic sat down with David Almond, author and playwright of Skellig. Read on to find out more about this author - from his upbringing in the magical English countryside to his secret wish to play for Newcastle United!

New Victory: Where did you grow up?
David Almond: Felling-on-Tyne, a small ex-coal mining town in the northeast of England

NV: Favorite hometown food?
DA: Pork sandwiches (with mustard, pease pudding and sage-and-onion stuffing) from Myer’s Pork shop

NV: Favorite hometown haunt?
DA: The Heather Hills at the top of town – a spooky, wild-seeming place where we played as kids

NV: Favorite NYC haunt?
DA: Best thing I like about NYC is just walking the wonderful busy streets with the skyscrapers all around.

NV: When you travel, what do you miss most about home?
DA: The open spaces and clear air and glittering night sky of Northumberland

Northumberland beach near Low-Newton-by-the-Sea
Hayley Green© under Creative Commons
NV: Favorite family activity?
DA: Walking on our beautiful – though often rather chilly – beaches

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a spectator?
DA: Seeing Handel’s Alcina at the Royal Opera House in London. Breathtaking heart-rending stuff.

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a director/performer?
DA: The very first time I heard an actor speak one of my lines in a rehearsal room

NV: Favorite saying or slang term?
DA: "Howay man!"

NV: Something interesting/unique others may not know about you (hobby, life experience, etc.)
DA: I’ve run three Great North Runs (half-marathons).

NV: Do you do anything else to earn a living?
DA: I write books, plays, stories. [I] give talks/readings at conferences/festivals, etc, and visit schools.

NV: If you weren't in theater, what would you want to do with your life?
DA: I’d play soccer for Newcastle United, and lead them to their first league title for half a century.

NV: What is your educational background? Training background?
DA: Degree in English & American Literature; Post-graduate teaching diploma

NV: What is your cultural heritage? Has it influenced your work, and if so, how?
DA: I’m from the northeast of England. My work is massively influenced by the language, people, landscape and history of the place.

NV: Which 3 people have influenced you the most?
DA: My Uncle Amos, who was a printer and an unpublished poet; the novelist/short story writer Flannery O’Connor; my mother.

NV: Why do you like performing at the New Vic?
DA: Wonderful theatre with true commitment to presenting quality drama for people of all ages.

Thanks, David! Want to prove your writing chops to this best-selling author? Enter our SKELLIG ILLUMINATION CONTEST for a chance to win his complete YA collection and tickets to the sold-out Tragical Life of Cheeseboy. David Almond himself will pick the winner!

To find out more about how David's books are influenced by Felling and northeast England, check out the website Storybook England. Skellig runs at The New Victory March 4-13. Watch the trailer here.

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