Below won the Northumbria University and Channel 4 TV Drama Writing Award 2017 – I was fortunate enough to develop the piece further with Margery Bone and Elwen Rowlands of Bonafide Films.
BELOW is the story of 80’s obsessed autistic teenager Grace who creates an imaginary world below her bed to hide from her father’s violence, until she is forced to confront the reality he’s created in order to save her mother from certain death. It’s a chase between two worlds.
BELOW offers a unique, issues-based, coming of age drama for young adults thirsty for greater diversity. BELOW entwines two stories told from a neurodiverse point of view to create a dark wonderland Grace must navigate and conquer to become a young adult under the most difficult of circumstances – domestic violence, disability, and poverty.
Designing the BELOW world was an exciting part of the process in which I played with puppet making (as Grace LOVES 80’s kids TV which was littered with puppets and muppets) Bringing mythical creatures, flowers and goddesses into the mix was delightful.
The notion was to bring the Below world to life using puppetry and real life staging similar to the Wizard of Oz/Labyrinth/The Dark Crystal which would then bring the harshness of the contemporary world into sharper focus, emotionally jolting viewers.
I lent heavily of symbols and unconcious processes when creating the piece which initially explored using the kabbahlistic tree of life to map out a full series which eventually became a 90 min screenplay. What an adventure.
The piece is challenging. For makers and viewers. It asks us how far we would go to free ourselves.