Interview with Jack Sunderland

Jack Sutherland is the star of DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco, which is playing at the Riverside Studios later this month. I caught up with Jack to find out more.

Can you tell me about DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco?
The play tracks through snapshots of Bazzer – a wannabe DJ in Magaluf who at 35 is still working as a caretaker in his old primary school. Each year, he eagerly awaits the Year 6 Disco; the only time where he can live out his fantasy to some extent and feel free. As we follow Bazzer through the twists and turns of his past and present, we discover that his bravado and energy is actually hiding his anxieties about himself, and the secrets he can’t bear to face.

What attracted you to the production?
I mean, first of all, because the play is written so well. (But the writer is sat opposite me so of course I have to say that..) I was so excited about all the possibilities to do with the tech side of things and to discover a new kind of relationship as an actor with an audience. I think ultimately what clinched it for me was the character of Bazzer. He broke my heart. He was such a gorgeous soul, but underneath all of that was a sad little boy – crying out to be loved and noticed. The character encapsulates the essence of the tortured artist, and I think the whole team were so onboard with this play because the struggles and fears of Bazzer ring true with all of us as well.

What can you tell me about your character?
Without giving away too much, he is a primary school janitor/year 6 Disco DJ who is so scarred by a secret from his past that he cannot get out and escape from the haunts of the four walls he was trapped in as a child. He’s also a bloody good laugh and a bit of a geezer. I love him dearly.

What can audiences expect?
If our previous run is anything to go by, they can expect a jolly old laugh and a fat old cry. What I love about this play is that you go in expecting to be taken down a certain path, and those expectations are quickly and constantly being subverted. It’s a really huge journey for the character, and therefore the audience too – it’s light and dark. Hilarious and harrowing. But I do think the play leaves you with plenty of hope. It’s not all doom and gloom I promise.

What would you like the play to achieve?
I’d like the audience to see some of themselves in Bazzer. This story is so universal – I really think we can all relate to the same issues as him. Pathos is a beautiful thing, and I think this play evokes plenty of it for an audience. I’d love everyone to have a good time above all though. And so does Bazzer. I’d also like to see people who aren’t shy to get up and have a boogie.

What is the one song that would get you up on the dance floor at a disco?
It’s a cliché but Mr. Brightside. Without a shadow of a doubt. Any other answer is wrong!!

DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco is playing at the Riverside Studios on 20 November.

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