Spring & Other Things: Meet Chloe Yates


A brand new play by writer Chloe Yates, supported by NAC. Spring & Other Things is a semi-autobiographical show filled to the brim with comedy, queerness, and climate anxiety. Chloe takes us through her journey from rock bottom in an adolescent psychiatric unit to falling head over heels in love with life again.

It’s October 2016.
The first six months of the year successively broke records for the warmest months ever seen, the UK has voted to leave the EU, politics in America is terrifying, and Chloe quite literally wants to die.  How are young people expected to be happy in a world hell-bent on destruction? Maybe a breakdown is the only reasonable response.

We had a catch up with Chloe to find out a little bit more…

Hi Chloe! Can you give us a little bit of background to yourself and your work?

My name is Chloe and I am a 25-year-old writer living and working in Norfolk. I grew up in London and always knew I wanted to be a writer. I moved to Norwich during the pandemic to study creative writing at UEA. I didn’t know anything about Norwich, or anyone living here, but I fell in love with the place and the people almost as soon as I got here. It’s 4 years later and I’m still loving it here, and still stubbornly writing away.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming play Spring & Other Things. What is the concept behind it? Who are you collaborating with?

This play started as a 10-minute story told at True Stories Live, a regular event held here at NAC.  I was so terrified to tell the story, I very nearly didn’t do it, but the audience reaction to this story was so overwhelmingly positive, that I went home and immediately started developing it into a full-length play. We’ve collated a brilliant team, with Georgia Harris directing, Lucy Farrant producing, Lucinda Bray doing the lighting design and George Payne as the print designer. James McDermott helped develop the script and Harrison Knights acted as script consultant. I’m also working with the support of a dramatherapist, Kathleen Blades.

Why did you choose to write about this subject?

This is a subject that is close to my heart. After my own experiences within the mental health system, I feel very strongly that there needs to be massive, structural change in the way we understand, treat, and even talk about mental illness. We need to move away from this idea that the problem is within the individual, and start looking at wider systems of oppression, and how this is affecting people mentally. After my experience of repeatedly having my autonomy taken away from me, writing and performing this play was a way of reclaiming the narrative. It’s a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to my psychiatrist.

How did you get the project up and running / what support did you have?

Lucy Farrant, the creative producer here at NAC was immediately supportive of the project, and agreed to produce it. She helped massively with funding applications (it took three attempts!) and without her I couldn’t have done it. Once we secured the funding from the Arts Council, I had some dramaturgy sessions and I redrafted the play, and after some consultation we started rehearsals. Because this play is semi-autobiographical, and covers some difficult topics, I also worked with Kathleen, the dramatherapist, who has been a massive support in helping me navigate the emotional side of performing this play.

What do you most enjoy about writing and performing a new piece of work?

I love the opportunity to finally genuinely see how it lands with audiences. A play isn’t finished until it’s put in front of an audience, and after such a long process of getting the funding, and getting it up on its feet, I’m so excited to finally hand it over to an audience, and let them tell me which bits work and which bits don’t.

How are rehearsals going?

I am loving rehearsals. I was nervous about only having two weeks, but actually, it’s been smooth, and efficient, and fun. Georgia (the director) and I have a brilliant working relationship, we have a shared vision which makes it very easy to just get in the room each morning and crack on.

What’s next for the play / for yourself?

We are hoping to take this show on tour across the UK over the autumn and winter.  I really want to share this story with as many people as possible, and the idea of being able to travel and see new cities as I do that sounds very exciting.

Work aside, what do you like to do in Norfolk on a day off?

On a day off, you will find me swimming in a river, or the sea, or sat in a forest somewhere looking at some moss. Or at home desperately trying to salvage my plants from the slugs.

What’s the best thing about living in Norwich / Norfolk?

For me, it’s the people. There’s a fierce sense of independence out here in Norfolk, and everyone sticks close to each-other. I love that. And the sea. I love being so close to the sea. I do sometimes miss hills, though.

Thanks Chloe!

Spring & Other Things premieres at Norwich Arts Centre on Sunday 16 June at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Book tickets HERE