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The Brenda Line - Cast Announcement

THE BRENDA LINE

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is set to stage the world première of The Brenda Line by Edinburgh playwright Harry Mould. Their debut play is about women, compassion and what it means to be listened to, and is loosely inspired by the real-life events in Mould’s mother’s life whilst volunteering with the Samaritans in North Wales.

It is late evening in a middle–of–nowhere town when Karen walks into a call centre to begin her first night shift as the youngest Samaritan in the country. She is decided she needs to help people, and maybe write a best-selling novel in the process, but what she hadn’t expected was Anne – her elderly shift partner, and the evening’s resident ‘Brenda’…

In 1958 in response to a question left by volunteers in the logbooks: “What to do with obscene calls”, the Samaritans established the “Brendas”, the code name for volunteers who were trained to answer indecent calls. After much controversy, the Brendas were finally disbanded in 1987.

The Samaritans was one of the first phone helplines dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection. It was built on the principle of providing a non-judgmental ear simply there to listen. But what happens when a caller is looking for more than just a conversation?

Founded by Anglican Priest Chad Varahin 1953 in London, The Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through its telephone helpline. During 2023, around 23,000 people volunteered their time for Samaritans.

Harry Mould is a queer, mixed-heritage writer, artist, wellbeing facilitator, and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion consultant. The Houdini Detectives, their first script for television, was recently a finalist for the Studio 21 Drama Series competition and has since been optioned. Their debut novel is currently shortlisted for the #Merky Books New Writers Prize, an initiative created by Stormzy and Penguin Random House capital H. Harry has worked in theatre for over a decade, most recently as the Federation of Scottish Theatre’s first Policy and Public Affairs Lead.

Playwright Harry Mould said:

“I wrote The Brenda Line because when my mam first told me about these amazing volunteers; women who were quietly, and without judgement, doing this complex, empathetic task – I could not stop thinking about them. I couldn’t stop thinking about what an impact it must’ve had on them, and what this impossibly difficult service provided – to those who called, those who answered, and even those who knew nothing about the Brendas at all.

The role didn’t last that long, in the grand scheme of things. There were only about fifteen years during which you could call the Samaritans and ask for Brenda, and while I have no idea if what they were doing was ‘right,’ I do believe that these women should be remembered. I think they were strong and fuelled by compassion and humanity, and this is my funny, happy, sad, hopeful little love letter to them all.”

Directed by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Associate Director Ben OcchipintiThe Brenda Line’s cast will feature Fiona Bruce (Once, West End and Scrooge, Pitlochry Festival Theatreas Anne and Charlotte Grayson (Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and The Lord of the Rings, The Watermill Theatre) as Karen. The new play is designed by Natalie Fern (The Wind in the Willows, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) with sound by Niroshini Thambar (Cyprus Avenue, Tron Theatre) and lighting by Adam Bowers.

Director Ben Occhipinti said:

“I am so excited to be working on this brilliant, funny, and important play. I cannot wait to bring the world première to the Pitlochry stage, and I know that audiences are in for a special night at the theatre.” 

The Brenda Line premières at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 15 August until 18 September.

Tickets are now on sale and are available from the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Box Office on 01796 484626 or online at pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com.

 

CREATIVES & CAST

Pitlochry Festival Theatre presents the world première of

THE BRENDA LINE

A new play by Harry Mould

Directed by Ben Occhipinti 

Designed by Natalie Fern 

Lighting design by Adam Bowers 

Sound design by Niroshini Thambar

Production Manager: Dino Melia 

Stage Manager: Katy Nicolson 

Cast: Fiona Bruce and Charlotte Grayson 

Cast

  • Fiona Bruce

  • A woman with long brown curly hair.

    Charlotte Grayson