Andrew McMillan, an award-winning poet from Barnsley, has written Dorian, retelling Oscar Wilde’s classic. It’s the third in Huddersfield’s Proper Job Theatre Company’s Monster trilogy, all three of which transform literary classics for the stage, and all three by known poets.
Ian McMillan, Barnsley’s ‘bard’, penned Nosferatu as the first in the trilogy and Helen Mort, a Sheffield poet, delivered Medusa.
Andrew said “I have long been fascinated by the world of theatre so it’s an honour to be approached by Proper Job for this project – and to follow in the footsteps of two great poets,” says Andrew. “Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece was the inspiration for Dorian, but my own experience fed into what happens in the play; I’m interested in masculinity, in the body, in class and in violence, and particularly in the places where all these ideas intersect. One such place is the gym, which is how the story began to develop.”
The play tells the tale of a tired, middle-aged man who sets out to change his life and get the body of his dreams; he hires a personal trainer and signs up to a six-month transformational programme, but things start to unravel. Dorian’s body starts to change, but he can’t recognise it so becomes more and more addicted to the gym and less and less able to see the results of his work.
“We have an obsession with image now,” Andrew told us. “According to YouGov, over a third of people in the UK are unhappy with their own weight and body image. I have lived with eating disorders and unhealthy relationships, to working out, so I wanted to show just how far people will go in search of unreachable perfection.”
Andrew’s play tours in October. For more information, visit the Proper Job website here.
Andrew McMillan’s debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award.
Proper Job Theatre Company is an award-winning theatre company and Social Enterprise based in the North of England founded in 1985. The Company individuals from the local community through its impactful LAB Project – a unique course for unemployed adults to help improve confidence and employability.
The UK Tour – When and Where:
Oct 15 Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax
Oct 16 The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
Oct 17 Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
Oct 18 The Brindley Arts Centre, Runcorn
Oct 22 CAST, Doncaster
Oct 23 Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham
Oct 24 The Civic, Barnsley
Oct 26 Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
Oct 29 Rose Theatre, Ormskirk
Oct 30 The Lowry, Salford
Oct 31 The Lowry, Salford
Nov 1 The Lowry, Salford
Helen’s interests are wide-ranging, from food to music to art and comedy. She is especially keen on writing about local charitable activity and events as well as the opportunities the City Region has to offer to those with hidden talents.