This is our 6th Interview with the Springers AOD ‘Made in Dagenham’ Cast and Team
Introducing Eric Smart, The Show’s Director & Jackie Bates, the Assistant Director
TL: So, what is your involvement in the show?
Eric: I haven’t directed for Springers for 9 years as I’ve been Directing elsewhere but when Made in Dagenham came up I was really interested. You have to apply to be the director, about 3 applied and I was lucky enough to get it. The show captured my imagination different to anything I’ve done before.
It appealed to me for 3 reasons 1) the drama, 2) telling of a true story and 3) the in it – these three combined this could be a really excellent show and I supposed I was very lucky to get the cast I got. I’ve been lucky with all the head of departments i.e. wardrobe, props, Jackie as my assistant and Marcus as Production Assistant, Ian as Musical Director so everybody sort of came up trumps and not shirked at what they are supposed to do so it’s given me a chance to really concentrate on the directing side. I am really enjoying rehearsals it’s been really good fun and sometimes controlling 40 people on the stage at the same time is not always easy and to have so many men is brilliant. But I am really enjoying doing it.
Jackie: I wanted to have the experience of being an Assistant Director as I have done a couple of shows but my roles were backstage really, just follow spotting etc. I got involved through Offspringers the youth group but I worked in Dagenham in the 1980’s and knew lots of people who worked in Fords so I when I saw it at Hornchurch I thought what a great show, it’s so funny, So I wanted to be involved. Last summer I applied to be the assistant and I was lucky enough to be selected to work with Eric. For me every song, every line is just so funny and to do it in the 100thyear of the women getting the vote. I’m just so, so, so excited
Eric: She’s been like this since she knew she was the assistant director …. bring out the Valium (both laugh)
Jackie: as Eric said to have all these men
Eric: We didn’t have enough at the start, but they’ve all come in and have all come up to the mark
TL: Is this just a show about Feminism and history?
Eric: I guess it is. I would probably describe it like that, the political side of the story is humourous – Harold and Barbara. Barbara is more straight-faced, where Harold is unconscious humour – he really hasn’t got a clue and it might have been like that. In two scenes he has his governmental aides they are a hoot to direct all very strong singing voices and great to direct and up for anything. That’s a joy as well.
TL: What is the best bit about the show so far?
E: The humour of all the elements of the show if people don’t laugh, ok they’ll have to accept some strong language, swearing – it’s not gratuitous it’s simply there as part of the language and how some of them spoke.
J: The whole thing virtually every line of dialogue or song is just so funny.
E: The humour is what drives me at the moment, I do love the element of drama to it and there are some really poignant moments between Eddie and Rita because their relationship is tested just about as far as it can go. The cast are strong singers anyway and put the numbers over well. But, I would still say the humour for me.
TL: How does MID compare to other musicals people may have seen?
E: My opinion of it, well when I saw it in the West End, I hadn’t seen the musical or the film before but I knew the story and it appealed to me on two different levels, one it was truly educational which is not something you often get in a musical and the other element that struck me at the time was I could listen to this music all night. It’s the sort of music, not even having heard it before, well it has quite a variation in styles as a musical, so it stands alone in that respect, that the music could match something like ‘Carousel’ or ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ it is music that is very enjoyable to listen to, that and the telling of the story is probably where it differentiates itself.
TL: Why should people come and see MID?
E: Well, I suppose if I had to put a strapline on it, it would be Come and see this show because you will have a great night out, you will laugh and you will cry. We haven’t got to the end yet and the final number is quite rousing
J: It’s very emotional when she wins them over
E: Hugely emotional, I would love to get the audience to stand up in the Civic at the end. I do think it could be really, really moving.