Languages Week 2019 – Jack Bradley: Producing Theatrical Hits!

On Tuesday 30th April, Jack Bradley spoke to High School Theatre students about his work in the theatre, developing plays and playwrights. Jack works for Sonia Friedman Productions as a Literary Associate. Before that, he was Literary Manager at the National Theatre in London.

Sonia Friedman Productions is the production company responsible for some of the most successful theatrical productions in London and New York which, of course, meant Jack had lots of great stories to share! He talked about many of the different productions that he has been involved in, a number of which were targeted specifically at young people. In particular, he spoke about the stage play, ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, discussing the development of the production and how Sonia Friedman was able to convince the author, JK Rowling, that their idea for a stage version of Potter was the best one. Jack said it was simple really. Their line to JK Rowling was: “It’s not a musical.”

This is what Noa in H2 had to say about the experience:

It was likely an amusing sight: about ten Theatre students reclining on the cushions in the library, completely and silently engrossed for an hour. This Tuesday, we had the pleasure of participating in a Skype call with Jack Bradley, previously Literary Manager of the National Theatre in London and currently working at Sonia Friedman Productions.

Although many of us were unfamiliar with the job of a Literary Manager and were not sure what to expect, we were all immediately absorbed by the unique insight into theatre that Jack offered us. He spoke about the importance of theatre to young people, how theatre can present questions of justice and bring characters to life. He also told us about the practicalities of the industry: writing a script, adapting it, getting it performed etc.

Of the many gems he bestowed upon us, one that I was particularly struck by was his answer to “how can you tell if a script is good?” He said that while reading a good script, it becomes unnecessary to look at the names of the characters who are speaking; if the story and characters have enough purpose it is clear who each line is said by. Insights such as these made Jack’s talk valuable and enriching to us as theatre students eager to learn about acting, script-writing and directing. Jack’s easy, humorous way of presenting such eye-opening observations left us all with new motivation and perspective into the world of theatre.

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