“The city has a great theatre scene and a welcoming community…” Interview with Adam Quayle of Box of Tricks

The Artistic Director of Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks talks about their latest production Too Much World At Once and his love for the city

Adam Quayle (pictured) is the Joint Artistic Director of Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks and they have produced some great theatre in the city and toured the UK. Under Three Moons and SparkPlug are just two of the pieces that have made waves here and beyond.

Their latest production is Too Much World At Once by Billie Collins and it explores climate change, mental health and identity. We caught up with Adam to find out more about the play and the city he adores.

What attracted you to this play?

As a director, I’m often drawn to intimate stories honing in on relationships so rarely get to stage bold, theatrical plays. As soon as I read Too Much World at Once, I knew I had something special on my hands: an epic, lyrical and heartfelt new play that demanded to be staged. Here was a story that not only excavated human relationships but held up a mirror to the world in which we live today – exploring family, friendship, queer identity and the climate emergency.

Do you feel since we came out of lockdown that many of us are not really seeing climate change as urgent anymore? 

Quite the opposite if I’m honest. I feel like 2020 forced us to wake up to the natural world. Suddenly life slowed down and we were forced to appreciate our surroundings. With fewer cars on the road and no planes in the sky, we suddenly heard birds in our gardens and saw nature all around. Emerging from the pandemic, the world faces many challenges but few seem as existential as the climate crisis. I’m not sure we can bury our heads in the sand any longer.

What stands out for you about this play? 

The writing. At once theatrical and intimate, magic realist and funny, epic and relatable, the play casts a spell and takes you on an earth-shattering journey. Starting with a boy who turns into a bird on his fifteenth birthday, the play spans continents and lives. But, at the heart of it, Billie hones in on what it is to be human – in all its messy and complex contradictions – whilst finding humour and hope amongst huge existential questions.

What do you love about Manchester?

Manchester has been Box of Tricks’ home for over a decade. Moving here from London back in 2012 was the best thing we ever did. The city has a great theatre scene – from bigger venues like HOME Mcr, The Royal Exchange, Contact and The Lowry to smaller fringe spaces like 53two, Hope Mill and Kings Arms – and a welcoming theatre community. As a proud Mancunian, I think it’s fair to say I love this city and its buzz: the history, culture, bars and restaurants – and, of course, the music!

What would you change about the city? 

How can you improve upon perfection? I love this city, warts and all. It’s like family, isn’t it? We may mither about this and that, but we’ll defend this city to the hilt if anyone from outside disses us.

With so much great theatre on in Manchester, why would you encourage audiences to come and see Too Much World at Once

For me, new plays are the lifeblood of theatre. Audiences get a chance to see something contemporary, something new, for the first time. Too Much World at Once speaks to our world today; a fantastic piece of new writing with an incredible cast, promising a great night out. After developing this piece over the last four years, we can’t wait to finally share this story with our home audience at HOME Manchester.

Too Much World at Once opens at HOME Manchester from 3-11 March before heading out on a national tour until 22 April 2023. Book tickets here


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