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Jamie Sheasby - Guilty of Love Interview

Everyone knows about the code-breaking genius of Alan Turing, but behind the mathematical genius lay a man of great passion. Through his work, he gave himself to his nation and was hailed a hero. But privately, his life was a torment of desire and shame because of the cruel and draconian anti-homosexuality laws of that very same nation. With sublime melodies, this incredibly moving, uplifting and thought-provoking new musical delves into Turing's youthful love of Christopher Morcom and how this shaped his life and work.

Photo by Peter Langdown

Jane Bramwell and Michael Brand have created the musical, which sees Jamie Sheasby return as Alan Turing after originating the role in the first public workshop performances. Ahead of the show playing at the Edinburgh. Fringe I spoke with Jamie about the show.

You’re returning to the show after originating the role in the workshop, but what first attracted you to the role?
I think when I first learned about Alan, I was struck by the fact that his story wasn’t better known. He had a fascinating life, but it had all been kept under wraps. What happened to him was terrible and yet, unbeknownst to many he had such a direct influence on all our lives. So, when I was given the chance to play him I jumped at it!

Have you had to do any research for playing the role of Alan Turing?
I’ve done quite a bit of reading and just trying to gather any little nuggets of information I can. Jane and Michael, the writers of the show have also done extensive work researching his life. Having chats with them about Alan is always very interesting. 

How important to you is it to get to tell this story?
It’s a huge honour and privilege. Alan did amazing things and he lived through and had a major part to play in a very significant moment in our history. He was also treated appallingly. As a gay man he was subjected to enormous discrimination and ultimately the ruination of his life. LGBTQIA+ rights are a lot better than they were in 1952, but still, we see human beings debating the legality or morality of our existence. I think it’s hugely important to keep history alive and learn from the mistakes of the past.   It's also a big responsibility. I want to do a good job! Alan deserves that.  

Photo by Peter Langdown

Having done the workshops, how much are you looking forward to taking the role to Edinburgh?
I’m super excited! We had such a lovely reaction to the show before and we’re all very hopeful that we continue to strike that same chord with people at the festival. It’s an incredible place and the atmosphere is something that’s very special. I feel very lucky!

What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing Guilty Of Love?
Forgive me for sounding extremely corny but I hope they would come away feeling hopeful in the power of love. It’s a sad story and nothing anyone can do can change that, but there’s something beautiful about the underlying theme of the show which is of course love! Love is very powerful. It does (and I hope will) evoke a very strong reaction within everyone. 

What shows/performances have inspired you?
I remember being 14 and going on a school trip to see Les Mis which I just fell in love with instantaneously. Over time there have been so many others it’s hard to list them all! Henry V at The Globe gave me goosebumps. Othello by Frantic Assembly was incredible. Sweeney Todd with Imelda Staunton as Mrs Lovett was pure electricity. I think the thing I look for and find most inspiring is the energy a performer/performance gives off. If you can make someone catch their breath or make the hairs stand up on the back of their neck, then you’re doing theatre right.  

What does theatre mean to you?
Theatre is honestly a magical place. It was always a place that I feel at home. It was the place I felt immediately accepted and I think that resonates with a lot of performers. I love telling stories or losing myself in one which theatre provides. To me theatre is thought provoking, daring, exciting, hilarious, heart-breaking, and inspiring all melted into one big colourful pot. 

Can you describe Guilty of Love in 3 words?
Not really, no. It’s a special show and there’s too many words to choose from! But if a gun were put to my head then I would probably say; beautiful, witty and heart-breaking.  

Guilty of Love will run at Venue 41, Hill Street Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe from 4 – 27 August 2023. Tickets are available from

Photo by Peter Langdown

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