Q and A: Ellie Claughton

Odd Shaped Balls is currently running at The Old Red Lion, London, and explores homophobia and sexuality in the sporting world. It’s been receiving 5 star reviews across the board.  I ran a quick fire Q and A with the producer, Ellie Claughton, to find out more about this production…

Interview by @AmieAmieTay

AT: Tell us about Odd Shaped Balls?

EC: Odd Shaped Balls follows the story of James Hall, an up and coming rugby player who is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. After gaining a promotion with the Chiltern Colts he gains a lot of media attention which leads to his secret being discovered. At its heart it’s a play about being true to yourself, understanding that you’re never going to have all the answers you need and that we as a society (and especially in a sporting community) still have a long way to go.

AT: Why is it an important piece for 2016?

EC: Odd Shaped Balls is important now because the sporting world is still so far behind the rest in terms of acceptance. When we first performed it in Edinburgh in 2015, Keegan Hirst had just come out and was the first openly gay rugby player still playing today. That’s a huge step, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think that’s enough progress.

AT: Who is it for?

EC: It’s for anyone really! It’s important to us that we can get sporting teams coming to see the show and hopefully help encourage change at a grassroots level. Other than that I think there’s so much that resonates with what’s going on in the world today, the themes of acceptance, isolation and the struggle to find your place in the world are universal.

AT: What do you hope people will take away from watching?

EC: Honestly I think the most important thing is that the audience can recognise and identify with the heart of the play. That doesn’t mean they have to have gone through something similar but if the themes resonate them then that’s all the spark you need to ignite change.

AT: Describe the show in six words:

EC: Funny, punchy, poignant, gentle, powerful and affirming.

AT: Where can we find out more about the show online?

EC: http://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/odd-shaped-balls.html

Odd Shaped Balls is running until the 25th June.

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