‘I’m all about theatre being unpretentious, hard hitting and fun. How To Save A Life is this.’
Rates of Cervical Cancer screening uptake have begun to fall in recent years after the peak following the death of Big Brother star Jade Goody.
It isn’t just the statistics on cervical cancer screening which lead Stephanie Silver of Glass Half Full Theatre to write, direct and produce How To Save A Life. When asked why telling a story about cervical cancer is important in 2020, she says, ‘any woman led story with a strong focus on female friendships is important’. The show certainly falls under the ‘dark comedy’ remit. Stephanie, who is also a registered Children’s Nurse says, ‘some people, when faced with the possibility of dying, don’t like to confront the truth and they want to deflect from being the patient or the sick person’. How To Save A Life’s main character Melissa embodies this, throwing a party in an attempt to stop everyone thinking about her cancer.
Glass Half Full theatre was set up by Stephanie after she finished drama school, inspired by the fringe work she was doing for other people. ‘My heart was not in some of the scripts I was working on because I felt I wanted to make theatre and present it differently, and the messages I wanted to get across were different’. Now, she performs, writes, directs and produces with her own ethos. She doesn’t perform in How To Save A Life but has written, directed and produced it as well as putting together the tour. Stephanie describes writing as a ‘joy’ and her ‘safe space’, while directing is something she has found that she loves. On the other hand, producing is something she is constantly learning, as it can be the ‘least joyous part at times’. She speaks particularly highly of her current team working on How To Save a Life, ‘my team now are so so strong, there is such great chemistry between them’.
Stephanie is particularly pleased that How To Save A Life has been programmed at Theatre503, ‘it is a brilliant venue… it really champions new writing and unheard voices’. After Theatre503 in Battersea, the production is heading to Birmingham. Following this, Glass Half Full theatre are programmed at The Space with their four star play Walk of Shame, despite the barrier of cost when putting on a show in Edinburgh, ‘Charles Pamment has always been a champion of our little company and always been very helpful in making it possible for companies to return to Edinburgh, the venue really cares about the artist’.
It is the audiences who make everything worthwhile for Glass Half Full, and they’ve had an incredible reception from audiences who saw How To Save A Life in Edinburgh, some of whom went back to see the show several times. Stephanie hopes their London run at Theatre503 will be ‘blessed with lots of bums on seats’.