Plays by Anna Jordan

Chicken Shop

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's play Chicken Shop is a dark coming-of-age story centring around a sixteen-year-old boy and his attempts to prove his masculinity. The play was first performed at Park Theatre, London, on 2 September 2014. Jordan had already won the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting with her play Yen, although that play was yet to receive its premiere (it was premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, in 2015).

In Chicken Shop, sixteen-year-old Hendrix has a growing resentment for his mother, Hilary (43), and her constant preaching on the virtues of an organic lifestyle. He also has a troubled relationship with his mother's 27-year-old girlfriend Katie (Australian, 'sparky, stunning, hyper-sexual'), who winds him up relentlessly. But most of all he's sick of the bullies at school, who think if his mum is gay then he must be too. In a desperate attempt to prove his masculinity, Hendrix visits the brothel above the local fried-chicken shop, where he meets Luminita (24, Moldovan), who Hendrix naively believes is trying to earn money to go to university, when in reality she has been trafficked and is in thrall to the thuggish Leko (38, Albanian). As the secret friendship between Hendrix and Luminita grows in snatched moments, his eyes are gradually opened to the reality of Luminita's world.

The Park Theatre premiere was directed by Jemma Gross and designed by Florence Hazard, with Angela Bull as Hilary, Jesse Rutherford as Hendrix, Millie Reeves as Katie, John Last as Leko and Lucy Roslyn as Luminita.

Closer to God  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's short play Closer to God explores the private worlds of strangers, living side by side in a tower block, but generations apart. It was first performed at the Old Red Lion Theatre, London, in 2009 as part of the inaugural OffCut Festival, winning the Overall Winner and Audience Choice Award.

The play is set on the nineteenth floor of a council-owned tower block, with the playing space divided into two areas by an imaginary partition wall. 'She' is a young single mother, while 'He' is a seventy-nine-year-old man in the flat next door. Their interweaving monologues lay bare the differences and connections that can exist between people, living in the sky, just the other side of the thin wall.

The Old Red Lion production was directed by Anna Jordan and performed by Peter Gordon and Ursula Early.

Freak

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's play Freak is a two-hander that explores female sexuality, self-image and sexual exploitation. It was first produced by Theatre503 and Polly Ingham Productions at Assembly George Square during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2014 and at Theatre503, London, in September 2014.

The play's action unfolds, for most of the play's duration, in two parallel monologues delivered direct to the audience. A double bed centre stage represents separate beds belonging to the two characters, Georgie (age 30) and Leah (age 15). Georgie's boyfriend recently left her and, fed up of temping, she has retreated to her bedroom, where she drinks to excess and masturbates compulsively to daytime television. Meanwhile Leah dreams of losing her virginity and obsesses about her body image. The two characters gravitate towards each other until, in the play's final scene, their connection is more fully revealed.

The premiere production was directed by Anna Jordan and designed by Petra Hjortsberg, with Lia Burge as Georgie and April Hughes as Leah.

Pop Music  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's play Pop Music is a celebration of coming of age to a backdrop of classic pop songs. It was first performed at Latitude Festival on 12 July 2018, in a production by Paines Plough and Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Latitude Festival. The production then toured the UK.

The play's action unfolds over the course of one evening at a wedding reception, where two singletons, Kayla and G (short for Gurvinder Singh), meet and strike up a friendship as the songs take them back to their pasts. As the evening wears on, they begin to open up and discover that they were at school together – and have radically different perceptions of their shared past.

The original production was directed by James Grieve and performed by Katherine Kotz and Rakesh Boury. A third performer, Ciaran Alexander Stewart, played a character called Remix, providing BSL interpretation as well as being an additional dancer.

The Unreturning  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's play The Unreturning is a drama exploring the profound effect that war has on young people's lives, particularly in the aftermath of conflict. It was first performed on 20 September 2018 at Theatre Royal Plymouth, before touring the UK in a co-production between Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The play revolves around three young men from Scarborough, a coastal town in the north of England, each of them coming home from war. Their stories, set at different times over more than a hundred years, are interwoven throughout: George is an army private, taking leave after the loss of his section in the trenches in 1918; Frankie is a squaddie who is sent back home to face justice for attacking an Iraqi civilian in 2013; and Nat, in 2026, is an exile from civil war in the UK, fleeing a squalid Norwegian refugee camp in the hope of finding his brother.

The original production was directed by Neil Bettles, with set and video design by Andrzej Goulding. It was performed by Jared Garfield (as Frankie), Joe Layton (as George), Jonnie Riordan (as Nat) and Kieton Saunders-Browne (as Finn).

Yen

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's play Yen explores a childhood lived without boundaries and the consequences of being forced to grow up on your own. It was the winner of the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 18 February 2015. The production transferred to the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Sloane Square, on 22 January 2016.

The play is set in the present day, in the living room of a flat on an estate in Feltham, south west London. 16-year-old Hench and his 13-year-old brother Bobby live alone with their dog Taliban, playing video games and watching violent porn. There’s no adult supervision, though their mother Maggie occasionally visits from her latest boyfriend’s place and passes out in a diabetic coma. But then Jennifer, a practical, animal-loving Welsh girl, shows a concern for the neglected Taliban, and succeeds in taming both the dog and his semi-feral owners.

The premiere production was directed by Ned Bennett and designed by Georgia Lowe. The cast was Alex Austin as Hench, Sian Breckin as Maggie, Jake Davies as Bobbie and Annes Elwy as Jennifer.

Anna Jordan's play Yen won the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Her other plays include: The Unreturning (Frantic Assembly & Theatre Royal Plymouth, 2018); Pop Music (Paines Plough & Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 2018); Chicken Shop (Park Theatre, 2014); Freak (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 2014); Closer To God (Best Play and Audience Award at the Offcut Festival, 2009) and Just For Fun – Totally Random (Best New Writing at the Lost One Act Festival, 2009).
As a director her work has included Crystal Springs (Eureka, San Francisco, 2014) and Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy by Jonathan Harvey at the National Theatre Shed as part of the 2013 Connections Festival.
She is Artistic Director of Without a Paddle Theatre, Associate Director at Theatre503, London, and teaches acting and playwriting.