Ruby Slippers Audiences “will be laughing so much theyll be aching” at The Epstein this Bonfire Night

Posted on 2 November 2016
By Chris High
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Remember, remember the fifth of November: gunpowder, treason and a spot of something different at The Epstein Theatre in Liverpool this year. Yes, this Saturday amidst all the bangs, whoops and whistles, The Ruby Slippers returns to Liverpool after its poplar debut at The Lantern last February.

A play about love, friendship and identity The Ruby Slippers is devised and written by Emma Culshaw along with writing partner, David Paul.

“We wrote the play around two years ago and last year David and I decided to finally get it on its feet,” Emma explained on the opening night of a three night performance tour which begins in Blackpool before heading to St Helens Theatre Royal before its two performances at The Epstein. “We did some read throughs and went out to get lots of feedback.

We then went away and rewrote some of the bits that needed it. We then approached Bill Elms Associates who were really interested in helping us getting it out there, which is when we approached The Lantern. On the back of that really successful run, we felt we could then approach the Arts Council and successfully applied for some funding so that we now have a show that’s bigger, better and brighter than ever.”

“It’s really exciting to opening in Blackpool and going on s mini-tour that ends in Liverpool. It’s great seeing the set going up and the costumes and everything else being prepared because it is something we’ve all worked really hard on to make a reality.”

The play is two, 50 minute Acts which is no mean feat given that on Saturday there will be two performances: one at 6 pm the other at 9pm. “It’ll be pretty tiring to do that so I’m sure there will be lots of energy drinks being consumed,” Emma laughed.

“The story revolves around the club owner, Raz, and his two resident Drag Queens, Phoenix and Destiny. The problem is though that Raz has competition just down the road when another drag club opens, which sees his other artistes jump ship to join the new venture. Added to this, there’s a supermarket chain interested in buying the site of The Ruby Slippers as well so Raz has a few decisions to make.”

“Being a relatively new show adds a different dimension to things. David and I have been writing together for ten years or so now and have worked on a few things with TV in mind, but this is the first time we’ve worked on something for the stage. It’s really exciting to see things moving forward so well. We both have other jobs – David is a Teacher and I run the Stage Door Theatre School. It’s really nice to see all the hard work not only we’ve put into it, but everyone else who has been involved too.”

And it certainly takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get anything put on these days, let alone anything new. “The biggest obstacle has really been getting the finance in place. The Arts Council money has definitely helped and we are so grateful to them. We can really bring the set and the costumes to life now, as well as being able to pay the actors. When we put The Ruby Slippers on at The Lantern, everybody did it because they loved the script. What’s great is this time we can pay them all.”

Emma also appears as Laura in the play. A dual role that keeps her fully occupied. “I’ve always written poems and short stories, but obviously chose the acting path to follow. Then I met David at a workshop and we got chatting and now we try to meet once every couple of weeks to go
over ideas we’ve had. We’ve made a couple of documentaries a few trailers. Hopefully now though we can get a few more of our ideas up on stage too.”

“It would be really great, on the back of these three nights, to take the show out nationally next year. We’re really confident that it could be seen across the country and it would be great to take it to more places so more people can enjoy it. We launched the show at The Pride Festival in Manchester and in Liverpool, which was such a fantastic experience. We were allowed in the parade which was great fun and Phoenix and Destiny were both there, which was just fabulous. It was just so much fun to be involved with.”

So what can an audience expect? “A genuine mix of every single emotion you can possibly imagine. The main thing is though that they will be laughing so much they’ll be aching. There are a lot of ups and downs, with a bit of a serious side, but mostly it’s just hilarious and I can guarantee everyone who comes to see it will say they’ve seen something that’s very different, very well performed and very funny.”

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