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“A Fire is Burning” PREVIEW: Q&A with the directors of The Crucible (Leeds Student Newspaper)


Al Fresco rehearsing: The Crucible, Act Three

Miller’s classic, which is being directed by final year Workshop Theatre students Eloise Colin and Laura Nagel, will be performed at Stage@Leeds next Wed-Sat (28th-31st). Would be great to see you there. Below is a preview that will be published this Friday in Leeds Student Arts section.

What is the play about?

One man’s struggle to maintain his integrity after an act of infidelity spirals into an unpredictable sequence of accusations. It is set against the backdrop of the Salem Witch Trials of 17th Century Massachusetts.

So what relevance has the play got now?

Well Miller was also writing about McCarthyism. By interpreting his present through past events, he demonstrates that this kind of scenario is timeless: it is an inevitable product of the human condition. We’ve tried to bring that universality to the fore in this production by removing it from the stereotypical, hackneyed costumes and giving it a more industrial, Orwellian aesthetic.

So you’re adding something to the text?

Not at all – we’re working with what’s already there, emphasising the elements and angles that we think speak to our current culture.

So what timeframe does that place it in?

The unfolding of the events present the chilling inevitability of the circumstance. We’re focussing on that in this production so there is a constant sense of the future, always resonating, though it isn’t necessarily ‘set’ in the future.

It sounds like there might be a moral… is there a moral?

Its moral is what makes it so popular, because it’s not twee, but real. That’s unique, and makes for great drama, which helps!

Have you ever seen the devil?

Yeah, but it’s a really long story. Come and find us in the bar after and we’ll tell you.

The 1996 film directed by Nicholas Hytner included Wynona Rider and Daniel Day Lewis. Have you cast any actors that (1) are shoplifters (2) use the method approach?

Not that we’re aware…

When will you know?

When there are lots of girls dancing naked in Hyde Park with stolen pick and mix!

The Crucible is on at Stage@Leeds October 28th-31st 7.30pm (with a 2.30 matinee on Saturday 31st)

Tickets are available from the Stage@Leeds Box Office and online at