A Two Headed Interview with Liz McMullen

Last week I had the most wonderful opportunity to see a show at the Rose, Bankside, on press night.  The show was Two Headed, performed by the endearing Liz McMullen along with her acting partner in crime, Noor Lawson, and brilliantly directed by Amy Bonsall.  I was blown away. So I decided to meet with one of the co-stars of this theatre play to chat about the show, the production company, and what their plans are moving forward.

Liz has arrived a small private restaurant and is excitedly sharing her news about the shows’ progress so far.  They’ve already had one glowing review and from what I could see on opening night, there is a lot of buzz being generated about their two-hander. I should even mention that the team at Rampage Studio have also asked if they can film the progress of MyLovely Productions and make it into a documentary. They are also delighted to be supported by the wonderful Molton Studios, who they found on twitter and replied to about gaining support for their project. It is exciting times for these two ladies.

“And female playwrights need to be encouraged….We need to embrace them”.

The story itself is set against the background of the Mountain Meadow Massacre, which took place in Utah, USA in 1857, of which I actually knew very little about. The characters are two Mormon women who have secrets from their past that continue to come back as we follow them over the years. We watch their friendship struggle on, amongst many trials and tribulations, and even in the face of adversity. And all the while it is performed brilliantly by these two bubbly young actors.

I got down to the nitty gritty with Liz McMullen about her show and her production company.

What prompted you and Noor to start MyLovely Productions?
….we knew we wanted to do the play [found the play, did the play in 2009 on a small scale in Surbiton, and got great reviews], and we both found ourselves back in London after some time away. We had the play and we started looking for a theatre where we could do it. When I saw the space [The Rose, Bankside] I thought OMG this would be perfect for Two Headed.  The dig, the archaeological dig, is the Mountain Meadow Massacre.  I had a chat with the manager of the venue and they were looking for a couple more productions to fill up their season, so we submitted our proposal.

And what do you want to achieve with MyLovely Productions?
We wanted to create a theatre company that made opportunities available for women, because we always struggling as female actresses, to find parts and to get parts. And if there’s two female roles there might be, who knows how many people auditioning for it. And so often I’ve turned up to an audition and they’ve said ‘oh if you even made it here that’s great as we had 400 or 500 women apply for this role.”

Do you think it’s interesting that Hampstead Theatre have recently announced their choice to go with an all male cast for a well known play?
I think it’s being very blind to what the actual industry is, and it’s turning a blind eye to the demographics, that is what the actual need and call is for the industry.  If they were really feeding into the demographic they’d be doing a lot more female dominant roles, or more evenly distributed roles.  There are a lot of good plays out there and they just need to be found and produced.  And female playwrights need to be encouraged. Shakespeare was written 400 years ago when female playwrights weren’t very much in existence; and they are in existence now and we need to embrace them.

Any interesting moments along the way?
One thing that happened that was really cool was, because we are using twitter to promote it, another company in the United States that was doing Two Headed, found us.  It was great because we were able to build up a rapport with them with us doing the production here and them doing it over there.

And how was opening night?
Opening night was such a thrill, it was so exhilarating.  As an actor it was that moment you want.  You’ve got the audience there, you’ve got the nerves, you’ve got the playwright in the audience who has come all the way from the united states to see the production, and it was larger than any audience we had in Brighton.
And we had the Gala Event after so we were able to celebrate with everyone… It really was such a wonderful night, and such an honour to have Julie [The playwright] there and to have her enjoy it as much as she did. You never know when a playwright comes along.  She might love it or she might hate it.

At this point Liz lets out a little smile and seems genuinely chuffed that Julie received their production of her play with such adoration.

And what are next steps for MyLovely Productions
One of our ideas that we are toying with at the moment, especially given what is happening in the industry right now with all these male dominant productions, is we want to have a female play-writing competition. We want to encourage female playwrights to write about women, to create strong roles for women, and we would like to have the top three or top five [of those plays] workshop those pieces and do a week of staged readings of new work. And who knows, maybe there’s potential for our next production to be in there somewhere amongst those scripts.

If you would like to see the interview by Rampage Studios with the playwright, Julie Jensen, you can see it right here.

And most importantly B.A.B.E.’s, if you want to book tickets, follow this link. Don’t miss your chance to see them perform. It is absolutely wonderful to see females out there creating their own opportunities in the industry. 

For more on MyLovely Productions, you can visit their website


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