Teenage playwright makes debut for autism awareness

Bula Loop by former Eastbourne College student SUS-160414-120522001
Bula Loop by former Eastbourne College student SUS-160414-120522001

A 19-year-old from Eastbourne has attracted nationwide attention for his play, The Bula Loop.

Tom Page has been on the BBC Breakfast sofa with Charlie Stayt and Sally Nugent, as well as a string of interviews on BBC radio. He is set to perform the darkly comic Bula Loop at the Brighton Fringe, after a run at Eastbourne’s Printers Playhouse.

A former drama scholar of Eastbourne College, Tom’s original script was inspired by his personal experience of a family living with autism. He has an older brother, Ben, who is autistic.

The play is a poignant comedy where the central character, Adam, dreams of travelling the world on a Bula Loop round-the-world ticket, but all goes pear-shaped when his brother gets there first and announces his gap-year plans over dinner.

Tom is keen to point out that this is a play for everyone, not just those with an interest in autism

He said, “It can truly stand on its own as an enjoyable and often humorous piece of theatre for everyone to enjoy.

“The play began life in March 2015 when I devised a 20-minute A level performance.

“The feedback was incredible and I was encouraged to develop the script into an hour-long play.

“It has since been performed locally and the audience’s reaction has been overwhelming.

“It is a very exciting time for me, my family and all the cast, as we now bring the play to a wider audience.”

Tom takes the central role of Adam and is accompanied by professional performers as well as other fellow drama students.

It is directed and produced by Tim Marriott, Eastbourne College’s director of drama and former stage and television actor best known for seven series of the hit BBC sit-com, The Brittas Empire.

Tom Purser, campaigns manager at the National Autistic Society (NAS), said “Art and culture play a central role in increasing public understanding about autism, so we’re delighted to see dramas like Tom’s Bula Loop is getting the attention it deserves. “

The Bula Loop plays at The Printers Playhouse, Eastbourne from April 27 to 29 from 7.45pm. Visit www.printersplayhouse.co.uk.

They will then go on to Brighton Fringe, St Andrews Church in Hove, May 5 to 8.

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