Belper wordsmith’s Lennon play to tour

NBENBE120319c2, local writer George gunby launching a short play festival, Belper.
NBENBE120319c2, local writer George gunby launching a short play festival, Belper.

A play by a Belper writer about John Lennon meeting his killer, is set to tour the north west of England this autumn.

Almost two years after George Gunby wrote “John and Mark” the play has been picked up by Manchester based Elysion Productions.

Performances will take place in Buxton, Lowry Theatre Salford, Preston and Liverpool later this year. It is hoped to tour the play in the Midlands during 2014.

The play is set in the prison cell of Mark Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon in 1980.

“Every two years Mark Chapman comes up for parole,” said George Gunby. “On the last occasion I read the Parole Boards reasons for not releasing him and the idea for the play came along.”

“Chapman is a complicated and fascinating subject. He is a prime example of extreme good and evil sharing the same brain.

“Psychiatrists have struggled to diagnose him. His obsession with the book ‘Catcher In The Rye’ and its primary character was fundamental to his actions outside Lennon’s home in New York.”

Chapman has been interviewed extensively and the play uses his own words. He may apply for his eighth parole hearing in 2014.

“I felt that it was important to ensure that Chapman’s words were accurate, particularly when he’s talking about the shooting and what led up to it.

“Personally, I hope he’s never released. That’s not because he killed Lennon.

“Having read a great deal about Chapman the indications are that he’d kill again - or be killed,” said George.

George is also responsible for organising the Belper Arts Festival, which incorporates the Belper Short Plays Festival and attracts writers from across the UK to send in theri scripts in the hope they will be performed.

The festival featured more than 150 events in May including various theatrical performances and is due to return as a lrger event in 2014.

George performed a monlogue in BREL - A Cabaret during the festival, meanwhile two plays which he penned - “Jackie” and “Nothing Personal” were performed at No28 on the Market Place.

The dates for performances of “John and Mark” are:

September 12 : Pauper’s Pit, Buxton

September 13 : Pauper’s Pit, Buxton

October 18: The Lowry Theatre Studio, Salford

October 24: The Continental, Preston

November 1: The Lantern Theatre, Liverpool