1:06 AM 9th September 2023

ADHD The Musical

Photos Shakespeare North
Photos Shakespeare North
Dora Colqhoun whot wrote ADHD The Musical tells us about what she hoped to achieve with the play.

Photos Shakespeare North
Photos Shakespeare North
How would you describe ADHD The Musical in 5 words?

Entertaining, moving, hilarious, heartfelt theatre

Can you tell us how the musical first came about?

I was diagnosed with ADHD at 30, I initially didn’t want to accept the diagnosis and didn’t want to read what was in the brown envelope, it just sat on a shelf collecting dust. When lockdown hit all my work dried up as a performer. I suddenly had a lot of time and couldn’t ignore the diagnosis. I had the idea to put on a theatre show about my experiences of having ADHD and find a way to share what I had felt challenging. I had so many stories and so much material! I wanted to find a way to tell my embarrassing difficult stories I also wanted the show to have a neuroscience underpinning I googled neuroscientist and came across Doctor Joydeep Bhattacharya from Goldsmiths University. We had fascinating conversations over zoom about ADHD and how the brain works. It was really important for me that the show had an informative element. ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder worldwide and impacts so many people therefore it's important to me I had extensively researched the subject, even though I am telling the story from my lived experience.

What can audiences expect from the production?

ADHD The Musical is not your typical musical. It is a combination of storytelling, catchy show tunes and a mad Ted Talk. People will be entertained moved and see something original they haven’t seen before.

How does the influence of icons such as Dolly Parton and Cher play a part in ADHD The Musical?

The show has embarrassing and challenging stories that are hard to tell as myself. I thought about people I had admired who had strength. I call upon strong female icons such as Dolly Parton, Julie Andrews and Cher to help me in the show. Dolly Parton is amazing as she is clearly an incredibly intelligent creative genius and not fazed by people thinking she isn’t those things. Julie Andrews is my childhood icon and always managed to create characters with such, humanity, humour and grace. And Cher well that woman is an absolute powerhouse who can do anything and doesn’t give a fig! Cher said ‘If it doesn’t matter in 5 year’s time, it doesn’t matter now’ and that is a great way think about things. Also Cher has ADHD.

Photos Shakespeare North
Photos Shakespeare North
What was the biggest challenge in translating your personal experiences into a production for strangers to watch?

The biggest challenge is finding the line between what I want to share and what I keep for myself. I was lucky to work with the director Izzie Major who has been my childhood friend since primary school. We have a very good creative relationship and she was able to help me find the line of what the material should be. When you perform a story or a certain song over again it can take on a different feeling. I am still impacted and connected to the material as it is my story, but after hearing audience feedback I know it is other people’s story as well. My experiences of failure in relationships, jobs, and how I can view myself isn’t unique and we can all have these feelings. That’s why it’s so important to talk about them.

What has been your favourite thing about the entire experience?

It is a huge joy to see how the show has developed from an idea during lockdown. I was afraid to look at my diagnosis in the brown envelope to now taking it on tour across the UK with a wonderful cast. I honestly love performing and being on stage and engaging with an audience. Being able to share the work is what it is all about. I am also very lucky to work with fantastic people. It is a collective effort of hard work from a huge team of people who have made ADHD The Musical possible.

What most excites you about touring the UK with this show?

The audience reaction is what it is about. I am excited to see how audiences respond from venue to venue. We are going from Wakefield to Bristol, to London in very different venues. We are very lucky to be performing at Camden Peoples Theatre for 10 shows. This will be a big undertaking! 9pm every night I usually drink a bottle of Lucozade half an hour before the show, so that’s a lot of Lucozade!

Photos Shakespeare North
Photos Shakespeare North
Is there one particular thought or sentiment that you would like your audiences to take away from the show?

I want the audience to come away with the sentiment ‘I am enough’ People are starting to become aware of ADHD and other neurodiversity’s which is brilliant but the reality is we live in world designed for neurotypical brains. This can lead to people feeling they aren’t good enough or don’t measure up to societies impossible standards. I want people to come away wanting to be kinder to themselves and thankful they spent the evening watching the show!

Northern Tour Dates
Wed, 20th September 2023 Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Fri, 22nd September 2023 Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Mon, 25th September 2023 Theatre Royal Wakefield, Wakefield»

Fri, 13th October 2023 Parr Hall, Warrington»

For more information click here