Norwich playwright turning play and book into film set in Norfolk

Tamla Kari and Michael Socha in the original west end production of This Is Living

Tamla Kari and Michael Socha in the original west end production of This Is Living - Credit: Savannah Photographic.

A Norwich playwright who has worked six jobs to finance his first play's adaptation into a film is crowdfunding to see the project finally make it to the big screen.

Liam Borrett, 29 and from Hellesdon, who studied arts courses at Norwich Theatre Royal before a directing degree in London, wrote his first play, This is Living, based on a dream he had.

The play was showcased at West End theatre Trafalgar Studios in 2016 and was subsequently turned into a book which was published by Nick Hern Books. 

Mr Borrett moved back to Norwich during the first lockdown with the aim of turning the play into a fully-fledged feature film, with Norfolk at its heart.  

Liam Borrett, Norwich born actor, director and writer on his new venture to produce a feature film in the fine city. 

Liam Borrett, Norwich born actor, director and writer on his new venture to produce a feature film in the fine city. - Credit: Mark Duffield

He said: "After leaving London and moving back to my home county during the first lockdown last year, I decided I would only do so on the condition that I threw everything into making something. 


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“That something is an adaptation of my debut play, This Is Living, chronicling the journey of mental health faced by those dealing with the death of a spouse, while offering a unique hypothetical perspective of the situation, told from the point of view of those recently deceased.” 

He said he began thinking about how it could make the leap onto a bigger screen.

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"I started thinking about how the play could be adapted for film, a far more visual medium, while still keeping the heart of the story intact, the idea of two people struggling to say goodbye to each other," he said.

"I then wrote and workshopped numerous drafts of the screenplay, something which is still evolving as we shoot which is always the case." 

Now, LIVING, the film adaptation, is halfway through its shoot and has, for the most part, so far been self-financed by the writer and director, who has had to hold down six jobs - including as a drama teacher and at a summer school - to cover the cost.

LIVING  is led by Niamh Lynch as Alice and Jordon Kemp as Michael and Directed by Liam Borrett. 

LIVING is led by Niamh Lynch as Alice and Jordon Kemp as Michael and directed by Liam Borrett. - Credit: William Fielding

"Working multiple jobs is quite difficult, it's remembering and making sure you carve out time to prepare the film and deliver it to the best of your ability," he said.

"Essentially, I work six to seven days a week for three months and then we can afford to shoot for five days, so, it's a fairly slow-moving project at the moment but we are getting there," he said. 

The cast includes Niamh Lynch (Normal People), Elly Condron (I Hate Suzie), Lisa Ellis (Call the Midwife) and Owen Evans (one half of Norfolk comedy duo, The Nimmo Twins).

LIVING  is led by Niamh Lynch as Alice and Jordon Kemp as Michael

LIVING is led by Niamh Lynch as Alice and Jordon Kemp as Michael and directed by Liam Borrett. - Credit: William Fielding

He praised his team, including co-producer Natasha Cordeaux, and the actors, who he said usually worked on large-scale, higher budget work.

The Wedding shoot for LIVING.

The Wedding shoot for LIVING at Horsford Village Hall. - Credit: Rachel Lloyd.

Mr Borrett has now set up a second round of fundraising via GoFundMe after a successful first campaign in February. 

"The storyline is told over a six-year period, so we captured Bluebells in Spixworth in May, had a great summer in Filby on the Broads, and just had a fantastic large scale wedding in Horsford a few weeks ago, where I cannot thank the people who came and filled that scene for us enough," he said. 

He added: “I hope the film offers a little bit of hope to those dealing with such a difficult situation, in the way we found that the play did."

If you would like to help, visit the GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/c07b5705 

If you are a young person who has a story to tell or would be interested in having your voice heard in the paper, please contact Sophie Skyring via sophie.skyring@archant.co.uk     




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