Social Media

Emily Jupp - Wormholes Interview

Coming to the Omnibus Theatre this July is an incredibly poignant and powerful new play from Bruntwood-longlisted writer Emily Jupp. Drawing from her own experiences, as well as the stories from those around her, Wormholes aims to highlight and spark conversations surrounding the authentic reality behind women’s experiences in abusive and coercive relationships.

Performing in this incredibly thought-provoking show is Victoria Yeates (Fantastic Beasts Saga, Warner Brothers; Call The Midwife, BBC), whose own experiences were also drawn upon in the creation of this empowering show.
Alongside these performances, the show is working in partnership with Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic violence charity, therefore there will be sessions with survivors of abuse and Q&As for anyone who may relate to the experiences within the show.

Ahead of the production, we sat down with writer Emily Jupp to learn more.

Where did your arts career begin?
I've been an arts journalist for national newspapers, websites and magazines for 15 years, including as a theatre reviewer - but began writing more creatively in 2016.

When did you know this was what you wanted to do?
If ‘this’ means playwriting, I didn't really, until I started doing it and found I really loved it. If ‘this’ means writing – ever since I could write, I've written stories.

I'm not from a family that is in the arts or that has the faintest idea about how the arts work, but I knew if I couldn't write for a living in some way then a part of me would die, so I found a writing job quickly after graduating and slowly built up from there.

Emily Jupp. Photo by Rob Greig.

What can you tell me about Wormholes?
I don't want to give everything away but I'm happy to divulge quite a lot without completely ruining it for audiences.

Wormholes is a one-woman show, it stars Victoria Yeates, one of the most gifted and versatile actors of her generation. It's directed by very talented Scott Le Crass, who directed Maureen Lipman in Rose at the Ambassador’s Theatre –- and if you saw that you'll recognise Scott's nuanced, subtle style in Wormholes.

It's about domestic abuse, coercive control, financial abuse, wormholes, worms and strong, resilient women. It's not an easy watch but there is humour in it and Victoria is beautiful in the role.

As an audience member, you go on a bit of a detective journey to piece together what has happened to Victoria’s character. I think there are also several levels of storytelling happening at once – so you and your mate will watch the same thing, but in the bar afterwards, you’ll discover you have different interpretations of what really happened – that’s what I’m aiming for – that it gives people lots to discuss.

How did you approach the writing process for the show?
I wrote 10 minutes for a writing competition, which is a great way of getting in the habit of writing short plays to tight deadlines. Then I wrote another ten minutes of it, read it to some carefully-selected writing friends who encouraged me to keep going. It didn't take long to write, maybe because some of it is inspired by my own experiences.

How would you describe your writing style to anyone unfamiliar with your work?
It's still developing. I've been told I’m great at writing dialogue that feels real and my imagery is strong. After years of writing concisely as a journalist, I can't shake this habit, so you'll get a lot of different ideas coming across in a short space of time. Also - there are jokes! I can write humour too! My previous (and first-ever full-length) play, Doing Well, was a finalist for the Liverpool Hope prize, which is for comedy playwrighting. Humour is important to Wormholes too.

How did you go about discussing and including the stories of those around you?
I didn't include friends’ stories although once I said I was writing about domestic abuse, many people felt comfortable to share their experiences with me. I did a lot of research and read fiction on the topic that fed into the script.

Refuge, the domestic abuse charity, is our partner on Wormholes. Once the play was written and fully developed, Victoria and I shared it in workshops with domestic abuse survivors, organised with Refuge. I was nervous about this process before it began – but it couldn't have gone any better – we met some inspiring women who connected with Victoria’s reading of the play. They said things like: ‘Its like you were in my mind’ and ‘I’ll remember this day forever’. Most importantly for me, it was a way to check that what I had written resonated closely with the experience of other women. The survivors gave me a lot of confidence about Wormholes - and assurance that it needs to be seen.

How has it been working with Victoria Yeates on the show?
Wonderful. She's a very skillful actor and I think anyone who has seen her in Call the Midwife or Fantastic Beasts will be quite surprised by her performance, because it showcases a whole other dimension to her talents. She recently played Imogen Holst in Mark Ravenhill’s Ben and Imo at the RSC – if you caught that you'll have an idea of how mesmerising she is on stage and the energy she brings to her performance – the air crackles around her.

How has writing the show helped your own journey?
I'm producing it, so my focus is on that at the moment.

I find it hard to watch some days because some of the moments are very close to my own experiences. I do have a feeling that it's out, it's done, and I have started writing lighter stories again. It is cathartic to know it's been processed through the writing. I just hope audiences like it and connect with it! That will be the healing part.

The show has partnered with Refuge, what can you tell me about this partnership and how important has that been for you?
Domestic abuse doesn't discriminate on grounds of race, background, finances, class or anything else, so it was incredibly important to me to know that the play didn't only represent my personal lens, but other women from different walks of life could see themselves in it. The workshops confirmed that for me and gave me confidence that this shows people what an abusive relationship looks like, in a compelling and entertaining way.

I can't express how grateful I am to Idu and Becks at Refuge for working with me on Wormholes, it’s been a great experience.

What keeps you inspired?
Ooh nice question! Having a full life.

Why should anyone book tickets for Wormholes?
A friend of mine saw an early rehearsed reading. A few weeks later, he noticed one of his work colleagues wasn't her usual self. It turned out she was in a coercive relationship. He told me he wouldn't have noticed the signs if he hadn't seen Wormholes. That's the reason. You might think you understand how coercive control and domestic abuse works but Wormholes shows you the experience from the inside. One in four women experience domestic abuse. It could be a friend, family member or co-worker of yours. It might help you to recognise it and help them.

Also - it's a bloody good show!

Wormholes plays at Omnibus Theatre in London from 23rd July until 10th August 2024. Tickets are available from

Post a Comment


Theme by STS