GT Stage

Glenn Chandler on homo-religious play Sandel (Part 2)

Taggart creator and BAFTA winner Glenn Chandler brings major critical hit, Sandel, to London stage...

To read the first part of our interview, then check it out here

If you had the opportunity to work on TV, would you?
Glenn Chandler: Oh absolutely! I would just hope that television wouldn’t compromise it in anyway. Sandel has a very controversial ending and before I had the rights to do it, they wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to change it and make it into something contemporary or relevant with something that’s going on now.  I said no, I’m going to go back to the 60’s and do it as it first intended.
As an award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenplay writer… what advice do you have for any young, budding writer – gay or otherwise – hoping to make a career out of it? Would you recommend going into gay theater?
I was writing soul searching adolescent novels when I was in my teens and it wasn’t until I came to London in my late 20’s and started writing professionally that I started off writing four plays with only one of them being on a gay subject. I think you have to expand, if you just look at gay subjects all the time you’re just going to get yourself into an artistic ghetto. Somebody once said to me on Taggart, “Glenn! When you write a part for a woman she always sounds like a bit like a man to me” so for me that’s not knowing many women and I tend to write women in a manly way, so in that case I would tell anybody to just explore for writing you just have to! You have to look at gay life and heterosexual life.

Check out a taster of the play:

And what would you say has been the most rewarding or enriching experience within your career so far?
I would say that Taggart was the most rewarding experience but I would say the most enriching one would have to be the last six years of putting on shows. Personally I think that theatre is more enriching than television because once its on television its on every night. They could repeat Taggart now every 100years and it would look exactly the same when you sat down to watch it. With something like this show it will look different every night, it’s even different from the Fringe production.

Is there always such a direct personal attachment to your work?
Absolutely, I read Sandel when I was a teenager; it was one of the first gay novels I read and I read it hiding under the bed covers because it had a rather provocative cover of a half naked young man. I managed to get hold of a copy for around £70 and then read it again and just went back to that experience of that love story I read as a teenager, so I just knew I had to do it on stage but it wasn’t easy casting.
You always have your fingers in a lot of pies, is there anything you’re looking forward to tackling in the next chapter of your career and is there anything that is inspiring you to write at the moment?
I would love to do a gay ‘who done it’, that is what’s in my head next! I do have a plot but of course am not going to give it away. I want to continue to do challenging things but not safe. I want to do something that is a bit dangerous, something that will challenge me to do it when it comes to stage. I like the excitement of pushing boundaries.
Calum Fleming: I would say having known Glenn, I think the moment that someone says he can’t do that, that’s exactly when he wants to do it.
GC: The Assembly Rooms in the Edinburgh festival wouldn’t even look at Sandel. They said come back in three years. I took it up to Charles at the space and he said “yeah I remember that book, lets do it!” – that was fantastic.

Words Alex Mansfield

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