UCL News


The Recruiter

27 February 2007

Final year Human Sciences student Daniel Grant is a force to be reckoned with.

Last summer, UCL online news reported the young student filmmaker's success with his debut feature film 'Dark Night', the award-winning supernatural horror that has recently been accepted into the National Student Film Festival in a category of its own.

Now, having turned his hand to the theatre, Dan will be staging his most recent project 'The Recruiter' at the Bloomsbury theatre from 1-3 March 2007.
In one of the most original plays to be featured at the Bloomsbury in recent times, 'The Recruiter' plunges it's audience into the world of espionage, a world energy crisis and in keeping with topical events, the war on terror. Similarly to Dark  Night, Dan both wrote and directed the play, this time turning his focus on the contentious issue of geopoltics.

The thriller is based around the events of a hostage crisis that takes place at the headquarters of a Texan oil company, SAMTEC, on New Year's Day 2008. Red Faction, the extremist organisation behind the siege, are cut short when the SWAT team sent in to save the hostages interfere with their plans. However, the night ends in tragedy for both sides, with injured civilians, two deaths, and the headquarters up in flames.

More mysteriously, John Truman (Dan Grant in a cameo), one of the SWAT negotiators, is believed to have committed suicide when his body is found in a deserted back alley the next day. It soon turns out that the incidents are really a cover-up, and it is up to detective Charles Kirkmoore (Alex Warren, King's College) and tenacious journalist Samantha Riley (Hannah Taylor Gordon, UCL Art History) to expose the truth. Kirkmoore soon finds out that only one person at the heart of the events, known as the 'Recruiter', has the answers. However, tracking him down appears almost impossible and could cost him his life…

Upon watching the play, the sheer scale and ambition of the production makes it hard to ignore, and its execution and ensemble cast of both amateur and professional actors is commendable. Dan's directorial skills also warrant recognition as he crosses genres, describing the production as "A revolutionary multimedia performance, fusing live action with pre-shot film sequences". The production is certainly one of the biggest and most innovative plays the Bloomsbury have put on, and Dan jumped at the opportunity to stage such cutting edge theatre "This play could really put UCL Drama back on the map!"  he enthuses.

The production is courtesy of both UCL's Drama Soc, of which Grant is a member, and UCL Stage Crew, which he credits for the play's many technical effects: "Every show that is put on at UCL is made possible by Stage Crew. They are the unsung heroes that work away behind the scenes and are rarely given recognition."

Dan is also grateful to the Friends' Trust, UCL's extra-curricular activities bursary organisation, which provided half of the finance required to stage the show. 

According to Dan, he was inspired to write the play in order to explore 'American sentiment post 9/11'. He believes the storyline is pertinent for today's audience as it deals with modern issues such as terrosism post 9/11, whilst playing on the susceptibility of the audience and their preconceptions.

The play also addresses the very important issue of global energy, which Dan was keen to focus on; "The play takes into account the world energy crisis and demonstrates how oil is the most powerful currency of them all. Oil companies dictate society and economy."

In keeping with its originality, the play ends with an unconventional closing not often used in theatre. It paves the way for Dan's next project, 'The Negotiator', the backstory to 'The Recruiter', which he hopes to stage on the back of its success.  

Preview: Saadeya Shamsuddin (UCL Greek & Latin) reviews Daniel Grant's dark new play 'The Recruiter' which runs at the UCL Bloomsbury 1-3 March