John Hopkins is best known for his television series Z Cars (in 60s) and co-scripting James Bond film, Thunderball (1965). Hopkins' writing was considered leading edge but his plays were more controversial. Containing taboo subjects, they were before their time and have not lost their power to provoke discussion even today.
Born in south-west London in 1931, writer John Hopkins graduated in English from St Catharine's College, Cambridge. During working in television production in 50s and 60s, opportunities for writing came in the form of adapting novels for the BBC. He wrote his own thriller series, A Chance of Thunder, in 1961. As he began writing more original screenplays for the BBC he discovered his interest in exploring human emotions and relationships. He wrote his first stage play, This Story of Yours in 1968. Hopkins second play FIND YOUR WAY HOME premiered at Open Space Theatre in 1970.
FIND YOUR WAY HOME went on to be produced in Broadway in the 70s to much critical acclaim. N.Y. Daily News called it "The most outspoken and honest play about homosexuality that has ever appeared on Broadway".
Now, Cordial Productions is mounting FIND YOUR WAY HOME at Etcetera theatre to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the writer’s death (1998). Producer, Stuart Clarke, first started producing plays in the late 1990. “I was already an actor and sort of fell into producing because I loved taking an idea with a group of talented actors and seeing it grow. I wanted to work with actors who were not able to access formal training for various reasons, some of which was cost. all my productions have been funded by myself which is why I am always skint!”
Clarke is no stranger to Hopkins’ plays. He co-produced and financed a Production of Hopkins' first play This Story of Yours in 2003 at the New End Theatre in Hampstead to critical acclaim. He believes FIND YOUR WAY HOME is in some ways closely linked to This Story of Yours. “It approaches complexed and disturbing subjects and does not compromise, giving the audience a sometimes brutal depiction of his subject matter. The questions raised within the subject matter are as relevant today as ever.”
Clarke has a deep admiration for the ‘genius’ of Hopkins’ work. “His work was groundbreaking for his time, and has set the benchmark for many writers that have followed. His subject matter is often quite simple, but his craft in the way he asks questions of an audience is quite unique, quite often dividing opinion."
FIND YOUR WAY HOME is an intense triangle of a secret affair between a middle-aged husband and father and his male lover. It becomes a scalding hot drama when the man's wife discovers and confronts both men in shock and outrage. The protogonists Alan and his wife lacerate each other in a brilliant and ruthless dissection of modern marriage and parenthood.
Clarke believes the play is even more important in the current more liberal and changing times. "It touches on so many issues, but surely the most disturbing for an audience will be a stark reality that they are witnessing something very real. It will always divide opinion, but it will never stop asking questions.”
TICKETS for FIND YOUR WAY HOME
Julia Faulkner (Assistant Director)
Editor’s Note: You can read the companion article on John Hopkins’ police drama THIS STORY OF YOURS which is currently showing at White Bear Theatre, here