Writer Rina Vergano explains how Horses! Horses!, a co-production between Theatre Orchard and Wassail Theatre, began life.

The title is a tribute to Patti Smith whose albumn Horses! is one of my favourites. I’m actually quite scared of horses, but I’m also fascinated by them. They’re so huge and strong and have a wild quality which is at odds with our sometimes quite ‘tame’ domestic lives.

I got the idea for this play a few years ago when I was working together with Fiona at Theatre Orchard, and we were starting to explore using non-theatre spaces in order to bring live theatre to rural and semi-rural communities with no theatre spaces of their own in North Somerset. As well as disused churches and community spaces, we started to think about pubs as being really important social hubs for rural and semi-rural communities – pubs have also been under threat nationwide, with a couple of dozen closing each week for a whole raft of reasons.

So I went out into North Somerset with a director and two younger playwrights to meet local people: publicans, postal workers, youth workers… and farmers. We met one very special farmer who breeds Appaloosa horses, who seemed to have a real spiritual connection to the land he farms and also to the native American tribe, the Nez Perce, who traditionally breed these same horses. I felt not only inspired by meeting him and seeing his farm and herd of horses, but also very moved by him and his story. That’s often how an idea for a new play starts with me: with an idea that gives me butterflies and goosebumps, so I just know there’s a story there that’s asking me to write it.  This play is about pubs, farmers and (and the ancient connection between humans and horses) – but mainly it’s about the mess we make of relationships and love.

It’s written in the “language” of the pub, with a pub quiz, a meat raffle, pints of beer, songs and lots of karaoke. I’m really hoping that pub audiences will love it and pack the pubs out, having an evening of good theatre, and also bringing extra custom into country pubs. It’s a theatrical experiment!

To book tickets for the performance at Cafe Lido – Portishead, please Click Here

All other Horses! Horses! performances are non-ticketed and by donation!

Wassail Theatres full Horses! Horses! timetable can be found Here