Joann Condon on Little Boxes at New Wimbledon Theatre

Little Boxes, an autobiographical comedy theatre show by Joann Condon, arrives at New Wimbledon Theatre later this month. It’s a show about defying the expectations put on us based on gender, social background and physical appearance.

Through personal anecdotes, ranging from funny to heartbreaking, Joann unpacks the boxes that she has found herself in and those she has broken out of through her lifetime, as a child, as an actor and as a mother.

We caught up with Condon ahead of the shows to find out more about the play and about Alphamum Productions, the company she has co-founded to help platform the voices and experiences of middle-aged women in the theatre industry

Q&A with Joann Condon

What can you tell us about Little Boxes?

The show looks at the way people are categorised by the way we look. the way we act, the way we speak….. and we are all a lot more complex than that. we can then end up being ‘boxed’ and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be restricted by other’s assumptions. That all sounds a bit heavy but it’s also a funny show that looks at my life so far and the ‘boxes’ I have found myself in and I try to navigate that. We also really wanted the show to move through emotions so one minute laughing and the next crying as we never stay in the same emotion state for very long.

What inspired you to write the show?

I had always wanted to do a one woman show, but I think it was when my daughter, told us when she was three that she wanted to be a boy and didn’t want to wear girl’s clothes anymore. I realised how much I didn’t want her to be put into ‘boxes’ and this then lead me to look at all the boxes I have been in over the years and some that I still am in!

Photo: Cat Humphries Photography

Was it daunting to write a show about your own experiences, and to explore them through the lens of comedy?

It was a very exposing experience. I can be caught by a different emotion at different points in the show, even now. There is such a thin line between comedy and tragedy, and we never stay in one emotional state for very long. We wanted the audience to watch the show and move between, crying, laughing and then crying again. Or both at the same time!

Is there anything you hope audiences take away from the show?

I hope they have a good evening where they have laughed, cried and questioned the boxes that they are in, and also the ones they put others in. I also hope the show stays with them and gives them food for thought.

You’ve also co-founded Alphamum Productions – what was the driver behind setting the company up?

Leonie Simmons and I met at a stand-up comedy course and wrote some sketches together which we performed at Camden Fringe. We wanted to produce, write and perform for middle aged women, as we both feel that their voices, our voices, are disappearing in the media, especially in TV and theatre. Little Boxes is our first production, but we have a few other projects that we are working on in the pipeline, including a sitcom called suffragette city.

Little Boxes is at New Wimbledon Theatre from 18 to 27 April 2024