Syndicated Interview with Playwright Anna Jordan about Pop Music at Hull Truck Theatre

19 Sep 2023 | Press Release

Discover the inspiration behind the writing and the music choices that sit at the centre of the show, and why audiences should expect to laugh, cry and dance like no one is watching in this uplifting play about love, loss and hope.

What first inspired you to write Pop Music?

Pop music has always been a massive part of my life. I love the idea of blending music and theatre and the idea of gig theatre has always excited me. I also want to make theatre which celebrates the everyday, something accessible and most importantly – fun! My favourite kind of theatre is interesting and moving but also puts joy in your soul, I hope that Pop Music does that.

In a nutshell, can you tell us what is Pop Music about?

I wrote the play inspired by the idea that pop music makes promises it can’t keep. It’s about what pop music says you can expect from life when you are young, versus the reality! It’s about nostalgia. It’s about all the things that happen to us in our lives and the role that music plays in them. It’s a story about two people who are living out their own pasts but very actively impacting each other’s present (and future?)

Who is Pop Music for?

EVERYONE. The show’s oldest song was released in 1982 and the most recent was released in 2022. It covers a really huge scope of experience, from the thrill of your first love to the pain of your first major grief. And I think (hope) there’s laughs in it for everyone.

Pop Music makes us think about what the soundtrack of our own lives might be! Is there a song that has a strong memory for you attached to it? Did this inspire you in your writing?

Oh gosh – there’s so many. But there is a song that I have slipped into this show that used to hold incredibly painful and emotional memories for me. It was to do with a very specific time in my life – someone I loved very much and a relationship that ended very suddenly. It used to be when I heard it, I would feel sick, it would make my heart ache. I decided I wanted to repurpose it for this show and exorcise some of my demons, as a reminder that hurt and pain don’t go to waste when you are creating things. I won’t reveal which one it is though! But I feel very different when I hear it now – it reminds me of the show and all the brilliant people who have been involved.

Pop Music is set at a wedding, why did you opt for this setting as the backdrop for the story?

Well I guess everyone has a good old think about their lives when they’re at a wedding. If they’ve never been married - Will I ever get married? Will anyone ever want to marry me? Or if they are married – am I happy? Is mine a “good” marriage? It’s just a point where everyone has a little reflect on their own lives (even though they’re meant to be focusing on someone else’s). Chuck in alcohol, a few people you haven’t seen for years and the results can be explosive (or implosive!)

The fast-paced playlist of Pop Music creates this joyful and emotional rollercoaster ride. How did you decide which songs to weave into the narrative when you were writing the play?

Well there were a few that I thought “They have to be in it.” Weirdly enough two of the big numbers in the show aren’t massively famous but I think encapsulate pop for me – like it says in the show they are “all jangly and sparkly and spangly and tingly – give you itchy feet – make your heart-beat that little bit faster.”

Although the play is for the most part fun and uplifting, there are some more challenging themes also explored. Do you think we are now living in a time where we can speak up more about feelings of past trauma, guilt, depression, grief, identity etc? Is theatre a good platform to open up these conversations wider?

Yes. It’s essential. I think people understand now more than ever that it’s important to talk about difficult stuff as a way of protecting ourselves against the worst of its effects. But sometimes just seeing your own experiences reflected back at you – on stage perhaps – is enough to make you feel less alone.

What is your best and worst song to play at a wedding disco when you are getting your groove on?

Best: hahaha. I’m gonna say something cringingly noughties like Sisqo’s THONG SONG.

Worst: Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. I just don’t like it. Sorry, Maroon 5!

If you could sum up the show in three words, what would they be?

Joyous, emotional, funny.


Tickets for Pop Music at Hull Truck Theatre are now on-sale, starting from just £10. Tickets are also available to buy as part of the Autumn/ Winter Drama Deal, which can save audience members up to £30 per person. Recommended age guidance is 14+, and group booking discounts are available for parties of 6+. For more information, please visit:


Anna Jordan

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