Reflections on To Kill a Mockingbird

Director and tutor Dominic Grant, shares his personal memories of the Deep South and reflects on the deeper meaning of the novel. 

The world through a child’s eyes. As Dickens once observed, everything is so much larger, more vivid; intense.

In 1968, my father took me, his 11 year old son, to the spot (The Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee) where Martin Luther King had been assassinated just four months earlier, he took me to John F Kennedy’s grave, he took me to listen to incredible jazz in the back streets of New Orleans; we explored the ‘Deep South’ – Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi – even then I began not so much to ‘understand’ but to ‘feel’ that there were extraordinary injustices in the world. I began to make connections.

Only four years previously 3 young civil rights activists had been murdered in Mississippi, in a plot involving both the Ku Klux Klan and the local law enforcement agencies. It took all the assembled might of the FBI to bring the case to trial and unravel the iniquitous cover ups and lies.

When I hear the voice of young Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird I am reminded of how confusing the world is to young eyes, but also of the potential in humans. The theatrical device of having the grown-up Scout (Jean-Louise Finch) reflecting back to her childhood and then ‘watching’ herself as she recalls this history, is very powerful. Hindsight, eh?

The cast we have assembled for this production have made the intensive process of rehearsals full of joy, discovery and real connection to the human spirit so cleverly revealed in this story. It is a story for today. It is a story for all of us.

See Morley’s Acting: The Company perform To Kill a Mockingbird on the 7 & 8 July in the Studio Theatre.

Director and tutor Dominic Grant, shares his personal memories of the Deep South and reflects on the deeper meaning of the novel.


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