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Claire Murphy Morgan talks about Editor at The Albany in Deptford
Spoken word performer Claire Murphy Morgan talks to Heloise Wood about how she turned a lost journal into a play at The Albany in Deptford.
‘TWO years ago today someone broke into my car and stole my diary and in a funny way I’m grateful to them.’
When car thieves stole Claire Murphy Morgan’s diary she was initially “devastated” – the spoken word artist had lost three years worth of writing.
She said: “It was March 6 2011. I had gone for a drink with friends the night before and stayed over and then I found out my car’s side window had been smashed in and my rucksack was gone.
“At first I was just fed up but then I remembered my diary was in there in which I had written about the three most turbulent years of my life.
“It covered relationship breakdowns, sudden deaths of friends and operations I’d had. It was written in an intensely personal way in a way I wouldn’t publicise.”
Claire began to despair over her lost diary.
She said: “Over the next few days I entered a deep depression. It was similar to the days after I had been sexually abused when I was in my 20s.
“I felt very low. I was absolutely devastated, it felt like those years had been taken away and I felt violated. It probably meant nothing to the person who broke into my car.
“Then I tried to recapture what I’d written but it wasn’t the same and it made me think how no day is the same and you’re always editing past events and re-editing them in your mind.”
Now she has turned the experience into a production, Editor, which transformed The Albany’s studio theatre as a landfill site where audiences make unexpected discoveries through searching for words amongst rubbish.
Claire has taken the play to a range of other venues, mainly in the North East, and noticed how the theme of loss has struck a chord with audiences.
The 39-year-old said: “It’s looking at how loss brings gains and what can be learned from traumatic incidents.”
“People have come up to me afterwards to talk to me about their houses being broken into.”
“One lady said it made her re-evaluate her attitude towards her house and possessions. It’s also about resilience.
“In a funny way now I think the person who broke into my car did me a favour and I’m grateful to them.
“I was at a low point in my work at the time and producing things for other people because I wasn’t confident of my voice.”
Claire began to grow inspired by imagining how she would re-write the past.
She said “It helped me find my voice. It galvanised me. I would recommend to other people who want to perform or create art – just find your voice and concentrate on that, don’t try to emulate other people.
“Think about what you want to communicate to the world, whether it’s about your diary, the state of the world or just your dog. The world will want to hear it.
“I’m always amazed at how much this play has resonated with people.
She added: “I’m really excited about performing at The Albany for the first time.
“It feels like a pivotal stage in my life. And I still keep a diary.”
Editor will be on at The Albany in Douglas Way, Deptford, from March 12 to 15.
Tickets cost between £8 and £10.
For more information, visit thealbany.org.uk or call 020 8692 4446.