New Black Showcase: Spotlight on Daniel Anderson

Posted on 3 November 2017

The Belgrade is currently in the midst of its fifth New Black Showcase, giving audiences a chance to hear stories from the most exciting new writers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Four new plays are being showcased across three nights from Weds 1 – Fri 3 Nov, as script-in-hand readings by a professional company of actors in our B2 auditorium.

In this series of blogs, we shine the spotlight on the writers whose work will presented as part of the showcase, including Daniel Anderson.

What is your play called?

My play is called Invisible.

What is your play about?

Invisible is a story about the search for justice and care within a society fragmented because of social, political and economical divides. In 2027 a new supermax prison controlled by an artificial intelligence is introduced to ease the burden on the justice system created by high levels of national crime. The government is of course keen to roll it out because its low cost and efficiently run by a machine. However, Reverend Melvin Richards, a local Church pastor, feels that the system and the machine is miserably failing the country’s most vulnerable. A prisoner he meets called Noah epitomises this failure and pulls Melvin into one of the country’s most controversial legal cases to date.

Invisible explores how the advancement of technology can have a negative impact on human rights and society’s ability to freely choose its course.

Where did the idea come from for your play? What was your inspiration?

A friend’s criminal case prompted me to think about the criminal justice system and about how much prisoners are rehabilitated and what organisations or people are working in partnership with prisons to address the rise in crime. I work a lot in prisons and have the opportunity to speak to people who have been ostracized by society because of the choices they have made. My interests lie in what drives a person, the route cause, to commit a crime. Invisible explores some of these issues and poses the question; Does the Criminal justice system need to do more to rehabilitate? Inspiration for the character of Melvin comes from individuals such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks who all fought for what they believed in and went to great lengths to inspire and encourage others to do the same despite opposition. I am also fascinated by how technology has such a massive effect on what we do today and how much the advancing of it will influence certain aspects of our lives.

How do you feel about hearing your piece read aloud in front of an audience? Is this the first time it will be performed?

I can’t wait. It’s not the first time it will be performed. The first scene of Invisible was performed at the Coventry Shoot Festival in March which was an amazing experience. I am looking forward to sharing a larger extract as part of the New Black Showcase on November 3rd. I think it’s extremely important for any writer to take a step back from their work and hear it aloud. It can be nerve racking, because you hope that the audience get it and connect with what you are trying to say as a writer. I feel it will be great to hear the feedback that it receives so I can strengthen the next draft.

How did you get involved with futuretheatre?

I’ve previously worked with Toyin Omari-Kinch (creative producer) and Jouvan Fucinni (artistic director) outside of futuretheatre as part of other projects. The great thing about the West Midlands, is that is has a growing number of like-minded artists who are eager to collaborate and produce meaningful work. When futuretheatre were starting out and developing ‘EMPTY’ written by Jouvan, I had the privilege of working with them and it is clear, that they are very much dedicated to the development of new writing that connects with audiences. They have a hands-on approach to their engagement and I’ve found they always have the writer’s best interests at heart. Being part of their writer and script development project has been a massive journey for me and my play and I’m looking forward to sharing Invisible in a full length staged reading in the futuretheatre Showcase at mac Birmingham on 13th January 2018. It’s exciting times!

What one piece of advice would you give to new and aspiring playwrights?

Listen… Be true to yourself, surround yourself with like-minded individuals, trust the process and take risks.