35 years ago John Lennon was shot. 44 years ago the FBI placed him under surveillance.
After a long legal battle, the US government published the FBI files on John Lennon through the Freedom of Information Act. Ears on a Beatle is based on those files. Two agents are assigned to the place the ‘subject’, John Lennon under surveillance. As they proceed with their job of watching, documenting, and reporting on the life of someone else, their own lives become affected as their assignment lasts nearly 10 years until John Lennon’s death in 1980. This true chapter in American history is not simply a docu-drama but poses further questions concerning celebrity and world leader assassinations. Where do you draw the line between coincidence and conspiracy?
We wanted to explore published works for the first time in our history but we still wanted it to be connected to cinema, literature and/or the arts. We also knew we wanted to work with new people, directors, emerging DSMs, Sound Designers, Lighting Designers etc. I remembered some years ago I had purchased a little known play about the FBI spying on John Lennon. I loved it and kept it to one side, thinking one day, when I am old enough to do the character I would revisit it. Funnily, in those intervening years I had completely forgotten about it, then it jumped back into my mind. I read it again and passed it on to Ben, he liked it too. So we sought a director, we found one who was a Beatle nut - Pete Meakin - and if he could direct it, we were to be offered a great deal with Derby LIVE. We shook hands on it there and then. We accrued a mix of emerging and established talent. The play enjoyed a run in Derby and then an encore run before going to sell out at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We didn't even flyer! Coming back from Edinburgh with a box office success, certainly opened new doors for us, and it felt like people saw us differently.
So our first foray into produced work, a UK premiere, with a unknown play about two FBI agents spying on John Lennon, based on redacted files really put us on another level and paved the way for more produced works over time. The diverse work we produced became even broader and new audiences saw The Lost Boys for the first time.