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Simon Vickery - Same Sky Interview

Same Sky is a tender, beautiful examination of time, language and living with (and without) each other. We follow a pair of friends from childhood to middle age (and back round again) as they grow up, grow apart, fall away - and try to rebuild...

A little bit lyrical, a little bit fantastical, Same Sky is the debut full-length play by writer Simon Vickery. Developed from a short piece originally performed at the Southwark Playhouse, London, in 2019, Chalk Roots Theatre now bring the full production to the stage.

Ahead of a run at London’s Bridge House Theatre from 26th until 30th September we caught up with Simon to discuss the show further.

What inspired you to write Same Sky?
The play came from an initial conversation with Hannah Benjamin, an actor who, along with Ellie (B) and Saul (director), played a central role in its development. We talked about wanting to make a piece of theatre that took friendship as its focus, and in particular we chatted about how certain friendships develop around and through a shared language. The idea grew from there.

From the start, I was interested in the intensity of the friendships we form as children, especially in our teenage years, and the vocabularies that they generate; the way that good friends create their own private ways of speaking and labelling the world around them. I was also interested in that hazy nostalgia that surrounds childhood memories and how those memories can be both pleasurable and painful, sometimes simultaneously. I wanted to write a friendship with the intensity of a romantic relationship and I wanted to think about what happens when a shared language breaks down, when communication is no longer possible.

How did you approach this first full length piece?
In its first incarnation, Same Sky was only three pages long and was called something else. I wrote it for Hannah and Ellie to perform at a showcase run by the theatre company Director’s Cut in November 2019. Saul came onboard to direct it. From that initial collaboration, we decided to expand the piece.

That three-page version consisted of a few very short, impressionistic scenes. They were snapshots of a friendship. In those early rehearsals for the showcase, we put flesh on those bones and found the story. So, when it came to writing the full-length version, I had already seen the characters up on their feet and talking to one another. It made the writing process one of discovery. The characters and their stories were there, because I’d been in the room with them. I just had to find them.

I wrote a lot of drafts. The core of the story always remained the same, but I messed about with details, with form, with the overall shape. Hannah, Ellie, Saul and I would meet, often online, due to the pandemic. We talked and I wrote, and eventually we got to the version that’s being staged.

How have you found the process of seeing your work come to life for the stage?
Due to the nature of this writing process, the characters have had some sort of life off of the page for a while. So I was surprised to find that seeing Ellie and Vee (A) perform the characters’ whole stories for the first time during rehearsals was an emotional experience for me. Having lived with these characters for so long, it felt like I was letting go of them. But I’m glad to let go of them. It’s about time!

What keeps you inspired as a creative?
I don’t come by sparks of inspiration very easily; ideas have never arrived in my head fully formed. I have to rely on habit. I write at the same time every day, hoping that the regular rhythm of it will make something interesting happen.
I’ve got a couple of other things I’m writing at the moment. Each one’s at a different stage in the process. They’ve each got their own soundtrack, the music that I often listen to when working on that bit of writing. In the case of Same Sky, the writing of it was often accompanied by Nick Cave albums, as well as reading some Ali Smith novels. I’m not sure you’d find much direct evidence of either in the play itself, but, somehow, they made it easier to write.

What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing Same Sky?
I hope that the play has an emotional, not just an intellectual, impact on an audience. I hope it feels truthful, that something of the texture of A and B’s friendship resonates with people, that they recognise something in it. I think I’d probably quite like people to cry a little bit. That’s not really what I thought I was setting out to do when I started writing the play, but I’ve come to care about the characters and I hope the audiences will too.

Same Sky plays at London’s Bridge House Theatre from Tuesday 26th until Saturday 30th September 2023. Tickets are available from

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