Interview with Jo Tyabji

Written by Tabby Lamb and starring David Hoyle, Darling is the latest instalment from the second season of 45North’s Written on the Waves audio play series and examines what it’s really like growing up inspired by the boy who never did. I caught up with Director Jo Tyabji to find out more.

Can you tell me about Darling?
Darling takes an imaginary leap from JM Barrie’s story into our present future. We find out where the Darling children have flown since they left Neverland, and who still leaves a window open… and why.

What was it about the project that made you want to get involved?
I love Peter Pan. I grew up being him In the playground (after a short battle with my best friend Felix who wanted me to be Wendy tied with imaginary rope to the climbing frame so he could rescue me). But let’s face it if I actually met Peter as written by JM Barrie we’d have had one helluva to-do – I only darn socks as part of an equitable share of social reproduction, not on some man-child’s say so. It felt like Tabby was writing out of and embracing exactly that love-hate relationship with the original, and taking it to places that made it possible for me to imagine myself as a version of who Wendy might have become.

What can listeners expect?
An intimate, lyrical, softly funny portrait of who we are when we step outside of the stories shape us and take control of them ourselves.

How do you approach directing an audio play? 
As with any directing process it’s a combination of attentive, caring imagination – what are these words conjuring, what are they asking me to conjure – and opening up possibilities with the performer and rest of the creative team. Mwen (Darling’s sound designer) is incredible, I was really lucky to have someone with a background in composition and producing music to weave the magic and the realism together. 

How did you find the directing process for this production during the lockdown? 
We were very lucky to be able to record in studio – with negative Covid tests and distancing in place. David Hoyle and I worked together on an R&D for a queer panto before the pandemic, so it was wonderful to be working together again – like stitching a rent in reality back together (and the panto’s looking for backers so get in touch if that’s you!) 

What do you hope listeners take away from this production? 
That nothing is fixed for ever, not even the Never Never. 

To listen to Darling visit https://www.forty-fivenorth.com/darling

Photo credit: Max Zadeh

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