I don't want people to believe I’m Janis Joplin,” says Nicola Haydn, of her one-woman play about the 1960s American music icon. “I’m just someone telling a story and trying to do it as honestly and truthfully as possible and in a way I think she would have liked.”

Nicola was encouraged to write the play - first seen at the Fringe in 2006 – when someone told her she looked like Joplin (“I don’t”).

From knowing very little about her, she “fell in love” with Joplin’s music and her colourful story. “She was a misfit, she was bullied at school, she didn’t fit in. She was really quite a fearless woman in lots of ways but underneath it all, she just wanted approval and for some bloke to give her the white picket fence life.

“I identified with that idea of wanting to be seen as one thing, but underneath being someone quite different.”

Set in the Los Angeles motel room where, in 1970, Joplin spent her final hours, the play emphasises the disparity between the real Joplin and the singer’s various personas – particularly that of brash, confident, sexually predatory Pearl, with her feather boas, jangling bangles and exaggerated Southern drawl.

“The first 20 minutes of the play, I feel like a bad stand-up because every time something bad happens to her, she laughs it off. It’s not funny, of course, it’s really sad, but throughout the play you get hints about the truth underneath that persona.”

Joplin’s music also tells her story and the play includes songs such as Little Girl Blue, Mercedes Benz and Me And Bobby McGee.

“Her lyrics did a lot of the story writing for me,” Nicky admits. But she emphasises Janis is not a musical.

Nor does it claim to be a Joplin biography.

“As much as anything, it’s a play about being a performer – why performers perform and what they do when they’re not performing. It’s about Janis Joplin, but it could be about so many people – she could be Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse, even Jade Goody.

“It’s that thing about courting the media, wanting the attention and then not knowing what to do when they turn their backs on you.”

  • Starts 6pm, tickets cost £10/£8. Call 01273 709709