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Finn Morrell - Home Interview

Temper Theatre are returning home to Cambridgeshire with their latest highly-acclaimed production, following a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. HOME was inspired by the marshlands of The Fens, looking at our relationships with lost lands, and drawing from the personal experiences of company Artistic Director and Ely born theatre maker Finn Morrell. 

This exhilarating show presents a heart-warming exploration of memory, parenthood and climate change using Temper Theatre’s signature combination of physical movement and innovative staging.

Founded in Cambridge ten years ago, Temper Theatre’s return mirrors the evocative journey of the central character Imogen who travels through memories and marshes back to her childhood home. HOME showcases a captivating exploration of the beauty and hope that lies beyond the tangled recollections of our pasts, confronting vivid visions of a haunted bygone wilderness. 

Ahead of the show running in London and Cambridgeshire I caught up with Finn to discuss the show in more detail.

HOME is quite a personal piece that you’ve developed but what first led you to wanting to tell this story?

A phone call from my parents during the pandemic asking me to come home and look through some old childhood boxes. They were moving out of the family home where me and my sisters grew up. I was surprised by the overwhelming emotions which resurfaced as I looked through boxes of notes, drawings homework, clothes and belongings that I hadn’t thrown away. I was able to look at my childhood from a new perspective and it was unsteadying. Who was I now? How have I changed? What was my relationship to the place I grew up? These series of questions manifested and I became fascinated by the area I grew up… The Fens, it’s magic and history and wondered why I spent so long trying to get away from this place.

How did you approach putting your own life in to this piece?

One of my mentors once told me when making something you care about you should take your life with a (metaphorical) sledgehammer and smash it open and see what comes out. Thats exactly what I did, I relived the moments in my life that had an impact on me. The positive and negatives that shaped who I am today. I wanted the show to reflect my own experience about returning to the place I grew up and seeing it in a new light. The central protagonist, Imogen (named after my mum) makes a journey from her busy and overwhelming city-life back to the Fens. In an Alice and Wonderland’esk journey she slips into a dream where East Anglian folklore overlaps with heightened moments of her childhood. Ultimately she is faced with a difficult choice whether or not to return home.

Did you have to do much research whilst you were writing the piece?

I knew barely anything about The Fens. I wasn’t taught about the area at school and it didn’t come up in much conversation at home. I was completely unaware of the rich and extraordinary history of The Fens and the very place I grew up, Ely… once an island of its own. I read a very comprehensive book about the history of The Fens and in particular the drainage works that changed the face of The Fens forever by James Boyce called ‘Imperial Mud’. I was lucky enough to meet him and discuss my project and it was a great opportunity to dive deeper into the history and the importance of land, ownership and water management. I also took part in some ZOOM discussions during the pandemic hosted by The Environment Agency and a local Cambridgeshire ACRE talking about The Fens in relation to Flooding. Discovering that 1 in 6 properties in England are at risk of flooding and that the current flood defences will not be enough to cope with rising sea levels in the next 30 years struck me immensely.

The show also tackles the issue of climate change and environmental issues. How important is it to get these kinds of issues talked about through the arts?

Having been making work inspired by nature, climate change and the environment since 2014, I know the impact art can have at translating data to stories. I wanted to humanise flooding by bringing audiences closer to how it might feel and the implications on families, friendship and communities. As we all have experienced, art and culture has the power to bring people together. I like to create work which both stimulates the imaginations of audiences but also invites us to discuss the world we live in closer to home.

I’m hoping HOME brings about positive dialogue within communities and gets us talking about environmental issues locally.

Photo by Temper Theatre

How fulfilling is it to bringing the show back ‘home’ to Cambridge especially with the shows setting?

We have been branding this tour as a ‘homecoming’ tour, seeing as we will be touring to my home in Ely (poignantly by the riverside at The Maltings) and to where we started the company 10 years ago The Robison Theatre connected to Hills Road Sixth Form (where most of us went to Sixth Form). The nostalgia couldn’t be more fervent and we are so excited to bringing it home!

What is the meaning of home to you?

I find that my answer keeps changing, and perhaps that's because, like the water, our home is transient—it moves. At times, I have felt more 'at home' on the other side of the world than walking the streets where I grew up. For me, home means more than a fixed location; it's a fluid concept shaped by the people, experiences, and emotions that make a place feel like a sanctuary. It's the warmth of connections, the familiarity of shared moments, and the sense of belonging that can be found in unexpected corners of the world. Home is where my heart finds resonance and Cambridgeshire is full of it!

What keeps you inspired as a creative?


What do you hope an audience member takes away from seeing HOME?

I hope that the audience are permitted to think about their own lives. There intentionally isn’t much dialogue in HOME, instead the piece relies on striking imagery, music and sound design to tell the story of a young woman’s life, her relationship with her family and a tragedy that changes her life forever. My hope is that audiences will contemplate what the concept of home signifies to them, and in doing so, find a resonance that speaks to their inner child.

HOME plays at Jacksons Lane in London on 17th and 18th January 2024. Tickets are available from The show plays at Babylon Arts in Ely on 23rd January 2024. Tickets from The show also plays at The Robinson Theatre in Cambridge on 25th January 2024 with tickets from

Photo by Temper Theatre.

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