What happens when you steal 300 2nd class stamps from the local post office? You begin to write letters, to everyone from ex-boyfriends, to the marketing department of John Lewis, friends, parents and more. Will Jackson’s ‘Yours Sincerely’ is a queer coming-of-age comedy about the complications of 21st-century communication.
Based on real life correspondences, it’s a show that combines storytelling and lip-sync cabaret. First developed at Birmingham Rep as part of their Foundry Artists, Will has written the show and he performs in it too, this year he is bringing it to Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
“What it really does look at is millennial anxiety, especially for recent graduates,” he said. “Also looking at how a lot of us struggle with communication sometimes and how we keep in touch with people. In particular men, we are rubbish about talking about our feelings, so it was really fun writing it as I got to experience different things.”
Will first thought of the idea when he was doing a summer internship after university. He wasn’t really being paid very much and as soon as he stole the stamps he realised it would form a great narrative for a show. “I went straight to Pigeon Park in Birmingham and wrote a list of all the people I was going to write a letter to,” he explained.
After a successful run at Birmingham Rep and then The Vaults Festival, Will really believes it is a production that truly reflects his voice. “It’s fun, it’s silly and it’s quite heartwarming too,” he said. “It’s a really great way to showcase what I can do as an artist and it’s a fantastic representation of my style of work.” With dates already planned for a 2020 tour, Will is hoping the Fringe will secure more success for the show.
“What I really love about the show is the music,” Will said. “There is a lot of lip syncing and cabaret which I think is always fun. Plus it was so great to develop with Birmingham Rep because I remember they asked me what the one thing I’d really love for the show was, and in the script there is a pitch to John Lewis for their Christmas advert. So I said; ‘I really want a Christmas cover of Fight For This Love by Cheryl Cole to be the background music.’ So they got a composer in to make that.
“Music is so fun to work with, especially when you’re up there performing it on your own. It’s like this extra friend to work with – the music kind of holds your hand a little bit.”
Although it looks at the idea of communication and how that’s getting lost in this 21st century world, ultimately Will wanted to create a show where everyone has a good time. “It has to be worth the ticket price, the babysitter and the train there,” he explained. “I think the importance of talking to each other is a key thing people will really take away from this show, because we are losing that a bit. Especially with politics, as we are all on Twitter stuck in this bubble talking about politics, but actually you can have much more nuanced conversations off Twitter.”
I want people to leave wanting to re-connect and check in with their pals, but also it’s a show full of good tunes, lots of laughs and it’s going to be a really great start to their night at Edinburgh Fringe.”
Yours Sincerely is on at the Assembly Rooms at 8pm at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year, find out more on the website.