Stacey Gregg's Scorch is a play for a solo performer, telling the story of first love though the eyes of a gender-curious teen. It was first performed at the Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Belfast, in 2015, co-produced by Prime Cut, MAC and Outburst. It was later presented in Paines Plough’s pop-up venue, Roundabout, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, on 5 August 2016, before touring Ireland.
The play is narrated by a teenage character called Kes ('like the kid on the front of that Ken Loach film'), who, though female by birth, has a developing identification with male characters in videogames and movies. When Kes meets Jules online, and the latter believes that Kes is a boy, the two start a relationship. When Jules discovers the truth about Kes, it unleashes a whirlwind of confusion for Kes, and indeed everyone else.
An author's note in the published script states that 'Scorch was inspired by recent UK cases.' Stacey Gregg, in an interview published in The Guardian (27 September 2016), explains that 'These were [court] cases taken by women who had been deceived into thinking they were having a sexual relationship with a man, but discovered that their partner was a woman or, in one case, a trans man. The accusations were of "gender fraud", which for me is a contested term. I thought that the media coverage sensationalised these cases, and this drove me to try to communicate the questions they raised in a more complex way.'
The premiere production was directed by Emma Jordan and designed by Ciaran Bagnall. It was performed by Amy McAllister.
The play won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Play and the Writers Guild of Ireland ZeBBie Award for Best Theatre Script. It also won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.