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The Birds and the Bees – Interview with James McDermott

We spoke to local writer James McDermott about Norwich Theatre’s first-ever co-production with The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and John Stalker Productions.


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The Birds and the Bees a Canadian comedy written by Mark Crawford is Norwich Theatre’s first-ever co-production with The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and John Stalker Productions.

It has been relocated to the Norfolk shores by James McDermott a local writer. We sat down with James to discuss the show and the importance of telling local stories.

Tell us about the play?

The Birds and the Bees is a hit Canadian comedy by Mark Crawford which I’ve relocated to East Anglia. The play follows a mother and daughter’s attempts to find physical and emotional love with a local farmer and local student respectively. It’s a comedy-drama about family, sex and relationships set against the backdrop of Norfolk turkey farms and bee hives.

What have you added to give a Norfolk Spin?

The Canadian dialect and Norfolk dialect are very different so I’ve changed the rhythm, sound and local & cultural references in Mark’s dialogue to hopefully give it the play that Norfolk spin.

Who should come to see this show?

I think everybody should come to see it! It’s a comedy-drama about family and relationships. We all have some sort of family and relationships in our lives so we’re all going to feel reflected in the play.

What will they expect to see?

People should expect a thoughtful exploration of intergenerational love and relationships told in a funny accessible way. The play has a massive heart and is full of massive laughs so it makes a perfect night out.

Can you sum the play up in three words?

Funny. Rich. Optimistic.

Tell us about how you got into scriptwriting and why?

As a kid, I grew up writing fan fiction episodes of my favourite sitcoms – Friends, Only Fools & Horses, Some Mothers Do Ave Em – which I’d binge-watch on video! As a teenager, I started writing and performing sketch comedy at school and my A-Level Media teacher encouraged me to study Scriptwriting at UEA which I did. At university, I fell in love with playwriting, wrote and staged several shows and have been fortunate enough to work as a scriptwriter since graduating in 2016.

Why is it important to tell stories about the local area?

Growing up in Norfolk, I felt like a ghost no one believed in as East Anglia was never represented onstage and screen and it often still isn’t really. It’s important to tell stories about the local area to assert, celebrate, interrogate and preserve our rich local heritage, so people from here don’t feel like ghosts and so people who aren’t from here better understand and reassess how they perceive Norfolk life.


What makes Norfolk so special?

Living by the sea as I do makes me feel like I’m always on holiday and that’s what makes Norfolk so special to me! Life here feels calmer and kinder than the rush and the push of the big cities. With it’s rolling landscapes, country houses and endless tearooms, Norfolk feels so twee, nostalgic and safe and yet with its many theatres, galleries and music venues, Norfolk feels so vibrant and current too.


The Birds and the Bees is at the Norwich Theatre Playhouse between 20 April – 30 April.

For more information, call the Norwich Theatre Box Office on 01603 630000 or visit

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