The Byre Theatre and Perth Theatre are teaming up to stage Laila Noble’s The Man in the Submarine, the winning entry in the inaugural St Andrews Playwriting Award.

A dark and surreal comedy about love, loss and missing biscuits, The Man in the Submarine is inspired by Laila’s own attempts to understand her grandfather’s experience of dementia. She said:

“I am very excited to get to share this story. It is a story of deep personal connection for me, but one which I think touches almost all of us. Writing this play began as an act of empathy, an attempt to understand my grandfather’s experience of dementia. Dementia is a condition that we discuss almost exclusively from the perspective of those that love and care for the people living with it, rather than centring the experience itself. So here, in this submarine, I hope you will find fantastical things, improbable, impossible things, lost things, found things and things that change that perspective (if only for a passing moment). This is my first commission as a playwright and I am so proud that it is this play, dedicated to my grandfather - who is delighted every time I tell him about it because for him it is the first time, every time.”

Nestled in the valleys of a rural Welsh village there lies a submarine. Incongruous, rusted and (somehow) rapidly filling with water. The radio doesn’t work, the staff are overly familiar, and nobody is quite sure why the sandwiches aren’t soggy but a steady drip, drip, drip is threatening to drown the residents.

Amongst the wreckage, a daughter and her father find themselves in a delicate bubble together. Claire does everything expected of her. She brings the bourbons, changes socks and tries desperately to forgive William for something he does not remember.

The Man in the Submarine is co-directed by Perth Theatre’s Artistic Director Lu Kemp and Chris Stuart Wilson and features Dyfan Dwyfor as Y Dyn (The Man), Brendan Charleson as William, Laura Dalgleish as Claire/Sandra and Anne Lacey as Annie.

Perth Theatre Artistic Director, Lu Kemp said:

“Laila’s play is an unusual early work for a playwright because it totally embraces the theatrical and visual. The story is a total joy to stage – it allows us to deep dive into how people living with dementia try to make sense of a world which no longer makes sense. Laila’s story brings an agency and power to her main characters, which is often not associated with dementia, as they become explorers, detectives and visionaries within a brave new world.”

Byre directors Kally Lloyd-Jones and Jessica Richards said:

“After all the challenges to the creative industries as a result of the pandemic, the Byre Theatre is incredibly pleased to have been able to launch The St Andrews Playwriting Award. Working in partnership with Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland and Perth Theatre, this new award has been developed to offer a key career development opportunity for emerging playwrights living in Scotland.  We want to thank our very generous donors who have made this possible. Laila Noble’s play is a testament to the calibre of new writing in Scotland and we are delighted to be able to share The Man in the Submarine with our audiences.”

The Man in the Submarine previews at Perth Theatre on Tuesday 7 February before premiering at the Byre Theatre on Thursday 9 February then completing its run at Perth Theatre on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 February.

For tickets and info for Perth Theatre click here, call the Ticketing team on 01738 621031 or visit Perth Theatre Box Office between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday.

Book for the performance at the Byre Theatre here or call 01334 475 000.

Monday 23 January 2023