News of the World Scandal Inspires London Playwrights to Hack Phones For Art

News of the World Scandal Inspires London Playwrights to Hack Phones For Art
The recent News of the World hacking scandal has inspired a new production at Theatre503 where six people volunteered their phones to "hackers."
(Courtesy johngarghan via Flickr)

ALondon theater company is taking the term "art imitating life" literally, taking the recent News of the World hacking scandal as inspiration for a newproduction in which six people volunteer their phones to "hackers," all in the name of art. The data harvested from the hackedphones will serve as the basis of six short plays by Theatre503.

The "victims" have granted Theatre503 unlimited access to their voicemails, which they will forward to six playwrights, who include BenEllis, Marcelo Dos Santos, and Telegraph theater critic Dominic Cavendish. The results of the project will premiere at the end ofSeptember.

It was Theatre503's artistic directors Tim Roseman and Paul Robinson who first felt inspired to create theater out of the Newsof the World controversy which broke in July, contactingdirectors Lisa Cagnacci and Derek Bond about his idea later that month. (Bond first received the news via voicemail.)


"An eveningof short plays directly about the hacking scandal didn't seem right," Bond told the Guardian. "A verbatim,courtroom approach might be something a different theatre can take in thefuture, but that didn't seem like us. We wanted toexplore what was actually at the root of people's outrage," Bond continued. "It wasn't just celebrities — it was grieving parents, missingteenagers, everybody. What if it was you?"

There are limits to how for the company will go, however. The sixvolunteers' identities will not be revealed, and names in the messages will bescrambled before the playwrights even listen in.