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‘The Interference’ brings important message to Smothers Theatre

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7:37 am PDT March 31, 2017

Theater students from Pepperdine University scooped up a pair of prestigious awards at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and earned a series of coveted four and five-star reviews. 

Their play, “The Interference,” a fast-paced drama about a campus rape survivor’s struggle for justice written by Scottish-based playwright Lynda Radley, returns for its U.S. premiere at Pepperdine University in April 2017.

The show will take the stage at Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5-Friday, April 7 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8.

Within days of its world premiere in the summer of 2016, the show earned acclaim from leading critics at prestigious publications, including The Scotsman, The Herald, British Theatre Guide, The List and Broadway Baby. The List called “The Interference” “a perceptive and compelling piece about a social system rotten with male privilege,” which the British Theatre Guide said “captured the essence of the moment in all its rage, its despair and hope.”

The production was awarded a Fringe First, an award designed to recognize outstanding new theater work and to celebrate the very best new writing. It has also received a Bobby — an award given by Broadway Baby in recognition of the best of five star shows. It was shortlisted for Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award for outstanding work addressing human rights issues. 

“‘The Edinburgh’ Fringe is the greatest festival of arts in the world, and also one of the toughest and most competitive environments you can imagine,” said Director Cathy Thomas-Grant, who also serves as the divisional dean of Pepperdine University’s Fine Arts Division. “To have won these awards and earned such outstanding reviews is a tremendous tribute to the dedication of our students and to the outstanding power of Lynda’s writing.”

It is the second time that Pepperdine Scotland, the university’s own Scottish-based production company, has won a Fringe First.

Pepperdine Scotland not only managed the project but also worked with a variety of campaigning organizations, such as the Rape Crisis charity, to highlight issues around sexual violence.

White Ribbon Scotland, which aims to change social attitudes toward rape and other forms of violence against women, believes it is vital to get the issues discussed.

“It’s terrific to have such a high-quality and effective play which will help change attitudes and stop victim blaming,” said Davy Thompson, the organization’s communications officer. “A lot of guys try to hide behind a pretense that somehow violence is a woman’s fault, and it’s not. ‘The Interference’ also looks at the legal hurdles victims face when they try to get justice and they just shouldn’t be there.”

While the play is set in an American university, it is inspired by events both in the USA and UK; the “grimly realistic take on rape culture” raises questions that go far beyond the campus environment (TV Bomb).

“It’s important to get these issues talked about and for men to make it absolutely clear that they think violence towards women is completely unacceptable,” said Thompson. “The campaign against drunk driving showed that we can make substantial changes to the attitudes of a generation and we really need to do the same with violence against women.”

“The Interference”

What: This award-winning drama, written by Scottish-based playwright Lynda Radley, portrays the tale of a campus rape survivor’s struggle for justice.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5-Friday, April 7; 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8

Where: Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

For tickets, which cost $15 for the public and $10 for Pepperdine students, call (310) 506-4522 or visit arts.pepperdine.edu.