‘By all accounts, 2016 was a pretty terrible year of the world, but it was probably the best year of my life. I was scooped up by the warm, fuzzy embrace of Pentabus Theatre and they’ve changed my outlook on theatre and life forever.
I moved to Shropshire at the start of the year, and set myself up in a flat with questionable internet and no washing machine. The theatre was a beautiful hour’s walk through fields and groves - but the ‘beautiful’ part quickly got smushed by the ‘hour’s walk’ part and I ended up cadging a lift most days. If you’ve never visited Pentabus... well, you need to. I’ve never known a theatre to be more open to artists and so giving with their time.
I did a lot of things in my year there. I did get-ins and get-outs. I attempted to help with homemade lemonade (I think I washed a few lemons and then was asked to leave the kitchen). I was around to make the tea, and even more around when other people were making the tea. I played the piano, I walked the dog, I hosted other writers, I went to the pub, I put up a tent. Oh, and I WROTE. I wrote so much. Because Pentabus gave me that time and space to just scribble away, and I can never thank them enough for that. They made me realise what I want to write and why I want to write it. Even as I bounce around the UK, I’ll always carry that strange Shropshire landscape around in my notebooks.
Natasha Tripney recently described Pentabus as ‘quietly radical’. She hit the nail on the head right there. What these guys do in rural communities is second-to-none. If you want to find art that has its fingers on the countryside pulse, you’ll find it here.
I’ll continue to be associated with the company. I’m co-running the Young Writer groups this year, and I’ll be joining the ex-resident-playwright support group ran by Simon Longman and Joe White. (Jenny, I’m still gonna come round and use your washing machine occasionally).
So Crayg, Elizabeth, Jenny, Kitty, Lynda, Sam, Fran, Mike, Stephen, honorary Pentapeeps Alex and Winnie, new Pentaboss Sophie, all the cast and crews that passed through our doors, all the wonderful writers, and basically most of Shropshire, THANK YOU. You’re all great. And 2017 is going to be banging.’
- Tim Foley, Writer in Residence 2016