Worlds collide for Upstage Theatre
On the surface Jerry Bowden and Ann Croger appear to be unlikely writing partners – one has served as a police officer for 24 years, while the other is the artistic director of a local theatre company.
But the collaboration between these polar opposite livelihoods has been a winning a combination for Maitland’s Upstage Theatre, with Mr Bowden’s policing life coming to the stage in Upstage’s first production of 2017, POST.
The play examines the shooting of a knife-weilding 16-year-old boy by a police officer, with the event as a catalyst for looking at both what happened in the lead-up, and the effects of it happening.
“The event is a tiny pebble,” Ms Croger said.
“When we all don’t help we have our hand on the gun as much as the police officer.”
Mr Bowden said he didn’t want the production to be seen as a police sympathy play, saying that some people will probably leave disliking the Constable.
“Every story has two sides,” he said.
“The 16-year-old boy was too difficult to deal with so no one did and he became somebody else’s problem.
“The impact of that split-second event has such a ripple effect.”
The play is not based on one single event, with several of Mr Bowden’s experiences soon to be under lights, with care taken to not make people or incidents directly identifiable.
“It’s a mish-mash of seven or eight real life incidents,” Mr Bowden said.
“We don’t want to make entertainment out of people’s own tragedies.”
But Ms Croger said that POST is not just about the events unfolding, it’s about the people who have to deal with them.
“For me it’s about the things people do in our society that the majority of us are unaware of and the sacrifices they make to protect us, but we’re oblivious to it,” she said.
“These are the people who do the jobs nobody else wants to do.”