Q&A with Andrea Ling, Writer + Director of Dirty Paradise

We spoke to Andrea Ling, writer and director of Dirty Paradise which appears at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre on July 28 as part of the Springboard Festival

Q. What is Dirty Paradise about?

A. Dirty Paradise is set in Tottenham. It starts under the backdrop of a crappy coalition just after the riots within an industrial warehouse. It centres around four characters from various walks of life who all find themselves living in Tottenham. Some of the characters, such as Rabbit, are eccentric and funny beings. Hamish is a cynical retired punk. Coco, a Spanish character who is obsessed with Coco Pops, and Koe who is trying to find meaning and a place in the world.

It’s a coming of age story, one of survival and liberation within a harsh political and economic landscape. It questions the meaning of community and alternative ways of living especially within the housing crisis in the UK.

The debate is complex and the show welcomes feedback from audiences.


Q. Why should people come and see Dirty Paradise?

A. To be entertained, provoked, have a laugh whilst hopefully gathering fuel to debate about how politics, the cuts, have affected our lives and chances for homes.


Q. Where did the idea for the show come from?

A. I’m based in Tottenham. As redevelopment comes in you have to ask about what will happen to the communities. Will we be priced out? Will Tottenham lose its identity as a melting pot of diverse culture?


Q. Apart from writing and directing this show, what have you been up to recently?

A. I’m a director as well as a writer. I have recently finished as Assistant Director on ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ at Shakespeare’s Globe. At the same time as that project, I was on the Young Vic Writer’s programme lead by playwright Leo Butler.


Q. Are there any future plans for the show?

A. Fingers crossed yes! I would like to see a full production after this work in progress.


Q. What have you learnt whilst making the show?

A. To be confident with your artistic ability and don’t be afraid to ask what might seem impossible.


Q. If Dirty Paradise had a slogan what would it be?

A. It’s a mad fucking world, but the best place is this Dirty Paradise.


Read more about the Springboard Festival, coming up July 28!