The Apple is a powerful indictment of inequality between the sexes and its economic consequences. It explores a family in which the grandfather has left his money to all his grandchildren, but it has been spent on the favoured son, Cyril, the ‘apple’ of his father’s eye, to establish his position in the world. Meanwhile his sister Ann acts as unpaid housekeeper and Helen works as a typist, about which Cyril is duly superior. When Helen is subjected to sexual advances at work from her father’s friend Nigel Dean, Helen determines to use her share of the money to go to Canada to make a better life. But Cyril has already made his claim for the money to buy the partnership which will allow him to marry. Where many of the AFL plays are propaganda pieces which use a comic mode to defeat anti-suffragist arguments, The Apple addresses larger grievances of women’s lives frustrated by lack of economic independence, the narrow options open to women in the workforce and the issue of sexual harassment. In its account of economic drudgery it has similarities to the work of Elizabeth Baker or Cicely Hamilton. It powerfully, and still unusually for its time, creates a heroine in Helen who gives unapologetic voice to her anger at the limitations imposed on her. The author juxtaposes her with her downtrodden, self-sacrificing sister, Ann, whose only access to money, is by pawning her possessions. It remains moving and resonant in its account of the frustration and oppressiveness of family structures in which Helen demands “a glimpse of life, a taste of the joy of living, a few pence in my pocket, my rights as an individual” but remains entrapped within a scenario, dictated by her boss, which alone seems to offer any chance of these. Inez Bensusan wrote three other plays, all unpublished: the duologue, Perfect Ladies (1909, now lost), Nobody’s Sweetheart, 1911 (produced at the Little Theatre) and The Prodigal Passes, 1914 (Cosmopolis).
The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is a drama created from the everyday realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The project began when the Caird Company sent the writer Robin Soans and directors Rima Brihi and Tim Roseman to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank in 2003. There they sampled a variety of dishes in homes, restaurants, shops and cafes and met dozens of people with different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Each person had a story to tell and a recipe to cook. Robin Soans has constructed a verbatim play from the words he collected. Arab and Israeli voices come together to bring insight and understanding to the melting pot of Middle Eastern affairs.
At the Gates dates from and is based on the events of the same year when the Women’s Freedom League picketed the House of Commons from July 5th to October 28th, 1909: “an example of patient endurance which should go far to silence the foolish cry of “hysteria” as applied to the Suffrage Movement”.
Chapin was actually in prison when the play was first scheduled to be performed at the Albert Hall in December 1909. However, it was cancelled due to the “lateness of the hour” following a long programme. Based on the experience of a young woman’s 540-hour picket, it presents a series of encounters between her and various passers by, including: a male sympathiser, an embarrassed waiter, two well-disposed policemen ardently interested in politics, cynical about most of their rulers and one of them a great theatre-goer who likes serious drama. Others include: small boys and grown men who jeer; a drunk (who boasts that he has the vote while she does not); a seamstress (who works in a sweatshop and is battered by her husband) and who supports the suffragists as a means to gain the power, it is implied, to change her circumstances; an elderly, self-described “womanly woman”, who attacks the male sympathiser with her umbrella. The line: “These Antis are so militant”, spoken by the heroine, was added to the play between the submission of the manuscript to the Lord Chamberlain’s office and the play’s publication. It is interesting dramaturgically in its attempt to give theatrical form to a durational experience and find a theatrical language to describe an experience of multiple brief encounters, rather than a defining dramatic collision of different viewpoints. The piece makes reference to the biblical Book of Esther comparing the arbitrary exercise of power by the tyrannical King Ahasuerus who ordered the slaughter of the Jews of Persia to that of the government of the day – but “Ahasuerus was a gentleman. He did hold out his sceptre . . . He didn’t keep her waiting either”. The published play is rare and has attracted little critical attention
A funny, heart-warming comedy in which four northern women meet for a family reunion that lurches from one crisis to another. A left-wing grandmother asks whether feminism still means anything to the younger generation. Faced with the recession, her daughters and grand-daughter have to reassess what matters most.
A play about overcoming fear, where the subconscious world is represented through imagery and movement. The play begins with a startling dream sequence and then segues into the drawing-room world of a Jane Austen novel, before moving to the wilds of Dartmoor. 'All the ingredients of the classic fairytale with the added dimension of rounded characters who are flawed human beings.’ Manchester Evening News
Set in Sydney, Los Angeles and Prague on New Year's Eve, the play shows snapshots from everyday life of young people who fled abroad to escape the Balkan war and the choices they face as they attempt to build a new life for themselves as exiles. Winner of the Slobodan Selenic Prize
Beyond the Big Bangs tracks a day in the life of three female characters both as they interact with each other and in their individual engagements of the day. The structure of dialogues and long monologues is quite unique and is testimony to the skills of a writer who can command the attention of his reader through diverse and interrelated anecdotes. Sandra is a domestic worker who has been asked by her employer to work on a Saturday because her culinary and domestic skills are required to make an impression on the guests who will be arriving during the weekend. Gita is a grandmother who lives with her family and chooses to go gambling whenever possible. Lindiwe is a teacher who has to report to a disciplinary hearing following assaulting a student who had frequently provoked her and had made a racist statement. Sandra and Lindiwe work in the area where Gita resides which provides the opportunity for their meeting but it is their individualism and integrity that results in them connecting emotionally. Each character is quite different from the other, possessing contradictions, insecurities and strengths. The value in reading a slice in the life of each of them is that it allows the reader to engage with the façade and then it explores the emotional drive and centredness of the women.
On an ancient fortress, two boys swear a pact of friendship. Eddie and Tim create their own den up on the Knoll, a secret place for heroes. The only problem is, winter is setting in and Eddie won't come down. As the snow falls, Tim must decide whether to take food to Eddie or betray him by telling the grown ups where he is. It is a play about transitions from childhood to adolescence, from loner to friend.
Blackbirds is the play that emerged from the London Bubble Theatre's research and interviews of South Londoners who lived through the Blitz between 1940 and 1941. Using personal testimony, physical theatre and the combined skills of a cast of contemporary Londoners ranging in age from 7 to 78, the play explores the experiences and events that made London the city that we know today. For use in schools, colleges, community groups and youth theatres.
Two women meet in the aftermath of the Bosnian War. Both are struggling to find release from their inner battlefields.
Though critics and literary historians have always had to admit that Susanna Centlivre’s comedies were extremely popular, they have tended to devote themselves to a search for evidence in them of supposed deficiencies of ‘the female pen,’ and to pay as much attention to the playwright’s marriages and amorous liaisons than to the plays themselves. Only in recent years has Centlivre come to be recognized quite straightforwardly as one of the most brilliant playwrights of her time. A Bold Stroke for a Wife is perhaps the finest example of Centlivre’s masterful plotting of comic intrigue. The soldier Fainwell and Anne Lovely are in love, but their path to the altar is blocked by her guardians, each of whom has a different view of what sort of husband would make the right match. Fainwell resorts to disguises of social types. The play thus provides a wide range of opportunity for Centlivre to satirize Tory respectability, religious propriety and capitalist speculative greed—and to give voice to tolerance: ‘tis liberty of choice that sweetens life.’ Yet in the end it is Centlivre’s comic muse that gives enduring life to the play as one of the most entertaining of eighteenth-century comedies.
A topical play about terrorism and its aftermath. Inspired by Jo Berry, whose father was killed in the 1984 Brighton bomb and Patrick Magee who planted that bomb. In 2000, they met for the first time to promote understanding and conflict resolution. They have continued their dialogue ever since. At 16, she was shell-shocked and caught in the blast. Now the bomber's waiting on the other side of the door. The Bomb is a journey into the minds of two extraordinary people – one who destroys lives, the other who forgives the unforgivable.
Using a mixture of storytelling, theatre and song, Brothers in Arms draws on the true story of two brothers from a Yorkshire pit village – one of whom steadfastly refused to fight in World War I, while the other volunteered and served on the front line in France. Cast: eight minimum
A poetic exploration of the complexities of being black, male and British.
Set in the Indian Jewish community in Calcutta, how do young women educated in the West deal with family secrets back home? Sunday Times Pick of the Day
Ms Lawson, a new teacher at Newall South High School, believes Jamie Harrow is being bullied because he's gay. She wants to help but Mrs Rutter, the Deputy Head, thinks it will sort itself out. Is Mrs Rutter speaking from experience or is there something more unsavoury about her uncaring attitude? A battle royale occurs between youthful idealism and the system that evolves to choke it.
Most plays that deal with homophobia in schools look at the children in the playground, but what happens when the people in charge of our children are homophobic? Care Takers is an intense two-hander that follows a new teacher who tries to do something about one of her pupils who is being bullied for being gay.
Homophobia remains a fault-line in our society and especially in our multicultural, inner-city schools where original research undertaken by writer Billy Cowan showed these tensions are still very real. The play shows how complicated things have become for teachers in these schools when it comes to dealing with homophobic bullying, and how vulnerable young gay people still are in these environments – especially if the system gets in the way of their safety.
Includes Teachers' Resources to aid structured discussion and exploration of the themes raised in schools, colleges and beyond. Care Takers is part of an Edge Hill University (Birmingham, UK) research project on homophobia; and can be used as a source text for all those interested in the impact of creative practices in health, psychological well-being and enhancing social inclusion of people (hospitals, social and community centres, mental health centres, schools, and museums).
Revived to acclaim on London’s West End in 2008, this psychological chamber piece explores the secret world of childhood through the prism of a dyed-in-the-wool British dowager Mrs St Maugham and her precocious and equally eccentric granddaughter Laurel. When enigmatic Miss Madrigal is hired as household companion and manager, the two finally meet their match. 'A tantalizing, fascinating and stimulating piece of theatre.' New York Daily News; 'A very fresh and personal kind of play with wit, literacy, and an almost unearthly integrity.' New York Herald Tribune.
The play examines the reasons why Squire Brooks has decided to evict his long-standing tenant of 30 years, a widow, Mrs Basset, despite the fact that she is an industrious, reliable tenant who pays her rent on time and looks after his property well. The Squire reluctantly agrees to her visit to plead her case. He reveals that the insuperable problem is her sex. Not having a vote, she will not be able to support his son in winning a highly marginal election. In the meeting that follows with his prospective new tenant, John Smith, the Squire is forced to question the wisdom of the ‘Mrs Bassets’ being disenfranchised when the ‘John Smiths’ of the world have a say in government. John Smith is a drinker and a fool, in debt and ignorant, and when he has bothered to vote at all, he has spoiled his voting papers. The piece is weakened by the stereotypical portrayal of both John Smith and Mrs Basset. In choosing to make Basset unremarkable, merely the embodiment of reasonable ordinary civic virtue, the author bases her argument on justice: she is visibly no less worthy of a vote than a similar man in her circumstances, no less worthy than was her husband. She is a version of a virtuous, suffering (albeit middle-aged) heroine, victimised by the heartless squire. Her ordinary virtues: concern for her neighbours, maintaining and improving the property, are contrasted to Smith’s fecklessness and selfishness. However, she also reveals more dynamic virtues in her response to the situation – a determination to be given the reasons for her removal and an intelligence and adaptability. She understands the processes of political persuasion ‘talking to people, giving away papers’, in contrast to Smith, and is willing to earn more, take in washing rather than keep chickens, if required, but finally these cannot make up for her inability to vote. She is sent away for ‘a vote is a vote, and nothing else however good and necessary can make up for the lack of a vote’. It is only when faced with Smith’s record of rent arrears that the Squire relents in his decision.
Irina lives with her father, her daughter, her husband and his mistress in their decaying apartment, longing to change her life but with little hope of escape.
Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it is for everyone except the miserable Scrooge. He prefers to spend Christmas all alone in his large house, instead of celebrating with mistletoe and merriment. Bah, humbug! But one cold, dark Christmas Eve Scrooge is surprised by the ghost of Marley, his former business partner. Marley warns Scrooge that he will be called upon by three spirits - each will take him on a mysterious and magical journey to show him the error of his ways . . . Can Scrooge discover the true wonder and meaning of Christmas before it's too late? Adapted from Charles Dickens, by popular and acclaimed playwright Neil Duffield.
A minimum cast of 6 actors plus several children, the text contains traditional carols. Previous productions across the UK include Octagon Theatre, Bolton (2007); Dundee Rep (2009); Royal & Derngate, Northampton (2012); Edinburgh Lyceum (2013) and Derby Theatre (2014), plus numerous amateur and youth theatre productions.
Cinderella is a play about a journey from darkness to light, from sickness to health. Everyone in the play is under the influence of some kind of loss, and the play explores these feelings and the sometimes painful route one must take to accomodate them and move on in life. 'This adaptation of the world’s best-loved fairytale is not to be missed. A Christmas treat for all the family, whether one is five or 95.’ Morning Star
Jay's little sister is pregnant and he's livid – who's he going to punish?
Unable to age until she has cried, Sunderland-born Tanya Sealt instead collects tears across 400 years of radical history, names her bisexuality and at long-last cries – tears of joy the day Margaret Thatcher resigns.
A group of Special Police in Belgrade incite a riot at a peaceful protest, maliciously beating a student. A harsh indictment of the brutality and corruption of the Milosevic regime. Banned throughout Yugoslavia.
This play tells the stories of five individuals seeking asylum in the UK: Zakariya from Darfur; Destin from the Republic of Congo; Jalal from Iraq; Parvaneh from Iran and Marie-Elena from Colombia. Each has been forced to flee their homeland in the face of death, each is haunted in a different way by the past. Finding themselves in situations that veer between the comic and the tragic, they try to make sense of the British way of life. “Scars are like medals. They show we have taken part in the life.” Inspired by the real-life testimony of people who have sought refuge in the UK, Crocodile Seeking Refuge is an incisive look at the asylum stories behind the headlines.
In 1997 Sonja Linden set up the Write to Life Project at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, a creative and testimonial writing programme to enable survivors of torture and persecution to process their ‘heart of darkness’ experiences through the medium of writing. Real-life testimony therefore was the catalyst for Crocodile Seeking Refuge. Working with five individuals as part of the Write to Life project, the play was developed for three years. Pierre Junior N’Khiembet, a torture victim from the Republic of Congo, whose treatment in this country was a major, traumatising factor. Nasrin Parvaz from Iran, Doctor Qasim Albrisem from Iraq, Aziz Idris and later Sharif Barko from Sudan and Maritza Jubelly from Colombia. Many of the encounters in the final version of the play have been invented, but the back stories of what happened to each of the five characters and how they have been treated by the British asylum system are entirely accurate.
2016 marked the 400th anniversary of the deaths of two of the world's most famous authors, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. This comic romp through the lives of literary masters William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes charts their influence on the modern world. It contrasts the fortunes of two contemporaries whose native countries' – England and Spain – went from alliance to enmity in a short space of time. Productions of The Curious Lives of Shakespeare & Cervantes include Adam House Theatre (Edinburgh, 2010), Bloomsbury Theatre (London, 2010), the Thai premiere (Bangkok Theatre Festival, 2014); and a staged reading at Tara Theatre (London, 2016).
Set in a rich and vibrant Jamaican community, Norma and her half-sister fight, struggle to break free of their mother and escape the poverty of island life. A comic Caribbean Cinderella that explores class and racial divisions within the black community.
Vietnam’s Nguyen Đăng Chương's satirical play which looks at personal integrity in business and political leaders.
How far can jealousy take you? A rarely revived Othello-inspired tale of love, loss and obsessive passion. After fleeing in shame from a lost duel, De Monfort comes face to face with the man who spared his life. Overwhelmed by the lifelong grudge he holds, he tries in vain to follow the advice of his friends and beloved sister. Is his rival truly working against him or is he lashing out at shadows? As vengeance and envy take hold, friendship cracks and schemes push towards uncertainty and bloodshed. Much admired by Lord Byron, Joanna Baillie explores passions and their ability to take hold of the mind.
Do you believe in paradise? Do you believe in family? Do you believe in god? Do you believe in war? Commissioned and toured by the Theatre Centre, Leo Butler exposes war and its aftermath among a group of confused young people in this George Devine Award-winning piece of theatre.
You've heard of an Essex Girl or even a Chelsea Girl but what is a Hounslow Girl? The term has become a byword for confident, young Muslim women who are grappling with traditional values, city life and fashion. From the joys of Pakistani weddings to fights on the night bus, Ambreen Razia's The Diary of a Hounslow Girl is a funny, bold, provocative play highlighting the challenges of being a teenage girl in a traditional Muslim family, alongside the temptations and influences of growing up in and around London.
Some people are lucky: they get through life thinking the ground beneath them is solid . . .
London, 1970: experimental psychiatrist R. D. Laing is facing eviction from his pioneering asylum in the East End’s Kingsley Hall. Local residents are up in arms – and to make matters worse, Ronnie’s revolutionary colleague David Cooper is flipping out on the roof . . . With his personal life going down the pan and his mental state heading the same way, Ronnie takes an acid trip to the future. His mission is to save his therapeutic collective, The Philadelphia Association, and secure his professional legacy. Will it be a one-way ticket to madness – or can breakdown sometimes mean breakthrough?
In 1965 R. D. Laing and his associates turned London’s Kingsley Hall into a pioneering residential treatment centre. A safe haven for people with psychosis and schizophrenia, it was a controversial asylum with no locks on the doors, where treatment with antipsychotic drugs was considered taboo. Instead, Laing encouraged residents to embrace madness as an attempt at self-healing. Laing himself became a darling of the swinging Sixties with admirers including The Beatles, Jim Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Sean Connery. This manic farce explores the ideas of radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing on the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Association which he co-founded. Ideas which were way ahead of their time about the treatment of those with mental health issues, have now been incorporated into everyday practice.
Paul's father, Rick, was a professional climber who fell to his death climbing a cliff in Wales. Paul wants two things – to climb the same cliff and to find out whether his father's death was an accident or suicide. He is helped by friends Stevie and Martin, from the same town. On the climb, Paul discovers what happened to his father, and a great deal about himself.
Duped is a satire which is set on an airship designed to carry out covert operations for the South African government to safeguard the security of the country and international delegates visiting our shores. The cleverness of the work is the multi-faceted themes of ‘Big Brother is watching’ as South Africa enters the realms of international politics; the threats of internal security and challenges of maintaining a productive workforce; gender politics; and the jostling for power along race and class divides. The standout genius in the play is when the ship’s American designer, Mr. Johnson, takes out his latest invention, a reconciliatory chip, and extols: ‘It’s time to forgive me.’ Images of our Truth and Reconciliation Commission come flooding to mind and the path of the healing of our nation following the atrocities of Apartheid are juxtaposed against the positioning of our democracy in present day South Africa. Have we been naïve in claiming a Rainbow Nation? Have the politics of the country aligned with international party politics to provide a monetary value to freedom? It is particularly noteworthy how theft and greed needle through the story, from the ranks of the officials to the fabric of society until it knits a blanket of deception and covers their foibles.
A group of troublesome actors arrive in a modern city. They tell the story of Ke Xin, princess of the Isle of Joy, who is always obedient until the day the sea brings to her island home a strange sailor, a raving fool without a memory, a man who will challenge everything she believes in. A timeless tale of love, power and transformation that explores many of the key issues faced by young people today. The print edition of the play contains the text of the play in both English and Mandarin.
In ancient China, the young emperor Wu is kept a virtual prisoner in his palace by his scheming guardian, Li Si. For Wu, the world outside the Forbidden City is a dangerous place. But when he hears Xiao, a young peasant girl, talk of the most beautiful sound on earth – the song of the nightingale – it's too much to resist. The two embark on an adventure that will take them across mountaintops and waterfalls, past chattering monkeys and fire-belching dragons to the far reaches of his kingdom. But Wu has an ulterior motive that could threaten the peace of the kingdom. Neil Duffield's reworking of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale, The Nightingale (1844), like his earlier adaptation of Andersen's The Snow Queen, brings a timeless classic into the 21st century. With appeal to family audiences and more, Duffield's plays are performed regularly by schools and other amateur groups, as well receiving regular professional productions nationwide. Productions of this play include Theatre by the Lake, Keswick (2017); The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster (2002); The Watermill Theatre, Newbury (2003) and Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham (2003).
Floy Quintos considers the misrule that has held many Asian countries back. An Evening At the Opera is a behind-the-scenes portrayal of elite and sinister power, echoing a Philippines that is hopefully gone.
Produced by companies in Britain and Ireland, the play offers a contemporary version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, exploring father/daughter relationships and the need for independence. For 12 years and over.
Sometimes friendship comes with a heavy price tag. Part of a series of short, single-voice plays, developed through consultation with young people by writers based in the north west of England. Powerful, contemporary monologues which share the struggles, courage, conflicts and joys of different characters facing difficult decisions in their lives. They offer a range of authentic, memorable voices to stimulate discussion and participatory drama work.
A short comic tour de force about two flatmates and the lengths one will go to remain ‘best’ friends.
The powerless are given voice in this play by Chhon Sina (Cambodia), reminding us that poverty can easily lead to abuse and exploitation.
Created from dozens of personal testimonies, this is the story of the changing face of work today. Surrey Docks in South-East London was once a thriving commercial hub, hosting some of the UK's leading commercial brands, including Crosse & Blackwell, Sarson's, Peek Freans and Lipton's. These huge organisations created a myriad of jobs for local people, and the community prospered. But, with the decline of the docks in the 1970s, factories closed down or relocated, work patterns changed and redevelopment began. 'From Docks to Desktops' explores the fascinating story of how one community has survived the 21st-century challenges of urban change and renewal.
A powerful and distressing drama created from the real-life testimonies of seven mothers who have had to come to terms with the devastating reality of their children having been sexually abused. The women tell the often-harrowing stories of how they struggled to access social services for their families as well as justice from the courts
Recreating London's East End in 1936 with historical accuracy, the play contrasts personal and political choices for a group of young Jewish people at the time of the Battle of Cable Street with those of young people today.
Luke can't choose between his shirts, let alone his parents.
Rhiannon looks like a small town girl and single mother; but her nightlife as a graffiti artist means her tag (ghost) has become admired around the world. One fateful night she saves a copper's life while out tagging and wildstyling and realises she must now move on.
Do you choose everything you are or does it choose you?
A young girl falls through a hole in her jumper into a fantastical world where nothing is quite what it seems. By confronting tyrants, solving riddles and befriending the downtrodden, she finally gets back home.
Nick Wood's poignant political drama A Girl with a Book is based on the true story of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafza. In 2012, gunmen stopped a bus in Pakistan and shot three young girls. Their crime? Wanting to go to school. Knowing nothing about the situation, able to offer little more than outrage, the writer is forced out from behind his desk and in the search for answers to help him tell the story of a brave young woman's fight for girls' education, but when his research uncovers attitudes at odds with his liberal convictions he has to face what he learns about himself.
Achieving international acclaim after its opening in Hamburg, A Girl with a Book e0xamines Malala's story through a series of questions, for instance, whether a middle-aged, middle-class white man could ever understand the world of a young Pakistani girl. Using quotes from Malala, the two other girls involved in the shooting and Malala's father, the writer's journey attempts to piece together the story and come to an understanding of the issues surrounding it. He speaks to members of different communities, his own wife and even imagines speaking to Malala herself. During the process Wood remains grounded in his stance as an outsider looking in, picking at the hypocrisy of how we can criticise the oppression of women in one culture but not another as he struggles with his own prejudice and privilege. He asks how a girl who wanted to go to school could become such a target.
A teenage girl becomes a boxing champion and learns to face the loss of her mother.
A comedy for all the family that blends the Brothers Grimm folk tale with elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Once upon a time there was a boy called Dummling and everyone believed he was stupid just because of his name. He lived in a poor cottage in the woods with his mother and brother. One day he meets an old man in the woods and shares his humble supper with him. The man, is in fact the King of the fairies and a direct descendant of Oberon. He and his Queen, Titania need to get a worthy and humane king on the throne of the blighted land in which they live, a king who will save the forest in which the fairies live from destruction. The Fairy King gives Dummling good luck in the form of a magical golden goose. When he takes it home his mother and brother try to take it from him but once they touch the goose they find they cannot let go and what’s more they find that they cannot stop running. Run they must and run they do all the way to the palace where, as it chances, there resides the very mirror of their own family – but posh. The King Conrad has two daughters, Dajona who won’t laugh and Birgit who won’t stop. The King has sent out a proclamation that whoever makes his daughter laugh can have her hand in marriage, and thus be in line for the throne. When Dajona sees the Golden Goose and the people stuck to it, running for all they are worth she bursts out laughing. The King is thrilled until he discovers that the boy who made her laugh is called Dummling and is a peasant. He sends Dummling on two ridiculous quests but Dummling, with the help of the fairy kingdom succeeds in fulfilling both and thus – eventually becomes King thus completing a bloodless revolution and saving the Fairy Kingdom.
Considers Victorian values and how they affect young women today.
Digging under the skin of contemporary South Africa, Green Man Flashing explores themes of sexual harassment, political loyalty and finally, accountability to truth, which has made it one of the most talked about plays in recent years to be staged in South Africa.
Remember me . . . Denmark, a Black Empire of modern England, where an intelligent young student discovers the world he once knew has crumbled. Implored to defend what is left of his father's decaying legacy, Hamlet now faces the greatest moral challenge: to kill or not to kill. Adapted with Shakespeare's text by award-winning playwright Mark Norfolk, this fast-moving version gets straight to the heart of a young man's dilemma.
Contains interviews with adaptor, Mark Norfolk, and director Jeffery Kissoon, and a Preface, 'Performing Dialogues of Race and Culture', by Dr David Linton. An Education Resource Pack gives teachers and students information about the play, this production, and practical classroom games and exercises linked to the National Curriculum; presentation, discussing, role play and performance, improvisation, and writing (download on BTL website).
This fast-paced, all-Black, contemporary version of Hamlet has appeal across audiences young and old, those studying English and Drama at school, those recently introduced to Hamlet through popular TV adaptations and classic drama audiences. In particular, lovers of traditional drama and Shakespeare, schools and Black African & Caribbean audiences (including previous Black Theatre Live tours), as well as students studying Shakespeare and/or drama studies.
Dominated by Gradgrind and Bounderby, Coketown's prosperity is built on the cotton mills where thousands of men and women slave away for long hours and little pay. Gradgrind's obsession with material progress damages his children Louisa and Tom, leading to scandal and disaster. Hard Times celebrates the importance of the human heart in an age obsessed with materialism. Circus, music and dark comedy all go into the rich mix of this truly Dickensian theatrical tale.
A futuristic satire on the west's exploitation of third world countries – a society in which the trade of body organs to rich westerners is seen as the only route out of poverty. Winner of the Onassis Award for Playwriting.
Om, a young man is driven by unemployment to sell his body parts for cash. Guards arrive to make his home into a germ-free zone. When Jeetu, his brother returns unexpectedly, he is taken away as the donor. Om can't accept this. Java, his wife is left alone. Will she too be seduced into selling her body for use by the rich westerners?
A tale of misplaced loyalty, longing for escape and early love.
'Mother's place is safe and sound'. Yes thought little Red, 'but sometimes very boring too!' Granny's house deep in the middle of the woods seemed far more enticing – but what about the dangers that lurked there? The darkness? The creatures of the night? And the famous wolf? Did he really exist?
Adapted from Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is 'remarkably faithful to the author's original intention: a faultless production.' (The Morning Star). Cast: eight minimum
A burnt-out English poet, on a Creative Writing residency in London, meets and becomes attached to a young woman who is trying to write a book about her experience of surviving the massacre in Rwanda. Initially, their differences of culture and language act as a barrier, but eventually they manage to find a way to trust and communicate the changing nature of their lives and to come to terms with their experiences.
Follow Inigo (Ignatius of Loyola) from ambitious, hot-headed, street-fighting sensualist to his co-founding (with a radical group of young friends) of the Society of Jesus in the 16th century. In Jonathan Moore's bold, visceral, funny and poetic play, he asserts Loyola's position as counter-cultural radical. But it is not only for those interested in Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits. It is also a political allegory about those who fight for change against an implacable Establishment. With the current Pope (Francis) a Jesuit, this is a timely exploration of one of history's major spiritual leaders and reformers: a story of a spiritual journey from sinner to saint. Published in conjunction with the play's run at the Pleasance Theatre, London (2015), it explores the life and times of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Of special interest to Catholic schools, colleges and seminaries. The play has been translated into Spanish.
In the Workhouse was one of the most controversial plays produced by Edy Craig’s Pioneer Players as part of a triple bill with Chris St John’s The First Actress and Cicely Hamilton’s Jack and Jill and a Friend (King’s Hall, 1911). It is an exposé of the iniquities of the Coverture Act, which decreed that a married woman had no separate legal existence from her husband and therefore meant that if her husband entered – or left – the workhouse, she and her children were obliged to go with him. Set in a workhouse ward, where a group of mothers, married and unmarried, look after their children, it exposes the contradictions of a system where Penelope, a respectable, secure, mother of five and unmarried is freer than respectable Mrs Cleaver who returns from her appeal to the Board of Guardians to announce that legally she has no right to leave the workhouse, even though she has work to go to and a home available for herself and her children. The play, with its refusal to condemn vice and the unmarried mother, was either condemned for offensiveness or acclaimed for its importance. The Pall Mall Gazette compared it to the work of Eugene Brieux “which plead for reform by painting a terrible, and perhaps overcharged, picture of things as they are . . . Such is the power of the dramatic pamphlet, sincerely written and sincerely acted. There is nothing to approach it in directness and force. It sweeps all mere prettiness into oblivion”. Two years after the play was produced, the law was changed, in large measure due to Nevinson’s and other suffragists’ campaigns. The play was revived in 1979 by Mrs Worthington’s Daughters, a feminist theatre company, directed by Julie Holledge in a double-bill with Susannah Cibber’s The Oracle (1752).
In modern-day Tehran, you can never predict how life will turn out. Part thriller, part cookery lesson, this is the story of a family struggling to deal with the challenges of a regime where secrecy and surveillance are an everyday part of life. Abbas calls together his wife and daughter and their friends and neighbours for an impromptu feast. Going in the pot are fresh herbs, spices, sweet vegetables and Eliâ’s mother’s secret ingredient . . .
The play explores the reasons behind migration, how people make compromises to survive in societies where freedom is limited.
Produced for the first time on November 9, 1890, at the National Theatre in Prague, the play fuelled a fierce controversy between the advocates of realism and their opponents. It was slated by the critics, who wrote: 'Everything in it is covered by the frost of baseness, vulgarity, foolishness and contemptibility. . . ' but it was defended by the director of the theatre, who wrote to the newspaper: ' . . . it would be a fatal error, if the National Theatre were to close its doors to new movements . . . ' which ensured the debate went on and paved the way for the style of realism in Czech drama to become established. Unfortunately, the controversy led Gabriela Preissova, the 28-year-old author to give up playwriting altogether.
Based on two real but separate crimes, Preissova set out to portray 'a barren woman haunted by the longing for a child'. The Kostelnicka character provides a fascinating female role, a woman full of pride in her achievements as a widowed working parent, who has devotedly brought up her step-daughter. She is also a highly respected member of the church, who is entrusted to lead processions, cure the sick and oversee burials. Jenufa, her step-daughter who has an illegitimate child and is abandoned by the father, Steva, tests the Kostelnicka's strict moral principles in the play. The Kostelnicka's efforts to avoid the ensuing scandal lead her into deceit, humiliation and ultimately, murder. Janacek saw the play as a tragic love story and was attracted to the Slovak setting and folkloric elements. His adaptation of the play into an opera libretto, involved editing out details of characterisation and plot. Preissova's play offers us a more psychologically complex Kostelnicka as the central character in a community whose moral attitudes are implicitly questioned.
Originally published in Votes for Women, 29 Jan 1911, Jim’s Leg is a comedy of reversed sex roles. This device is a familiar one, most often enacted in the political realm in fantasy pieces where women are in control of the machinery of government and men struggle for respect and representation, such as Mary Cholmondeley’s Votes for Men or Alison Garland’s The Better Half. In Jim’s Leg the role reversal is anchored in believable social reality as the speaker recounts how her husband’s losing his leg in an accident with a motor bus has been the best thing to happen to her. Whereas before he used to belittle her work in the home, go out drinking and come home and hit her, now, having had to stay home and look after the children while she did his job as a bottle washer, he has gained an immediate appreciation of what’s involved and even converts to the belief that women should have the vote. While somewhat stereotypical in its representation of East End life, as an account of domestic grind it is vivid and believable. It also acknowledges the devaluation of women’s work outside the home – when the speaker takes over Jim’s bottle washing job, she is paid less than him for it – an issue on which the AFL was particularly active. This was largely due to their own experience as women in the acting profession, where pay was based on an individual’s standing as a performer rather than on gender bias, a situation that was highly unusual in the Edwardian workplace (though unemployment was high throughout the profession). The monologue recognizes the draining nature and thanklessness of domestic labour and childcare in a way which remains immediate and contemporary. A short radio version was aired on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour in November 1999 as part of an item on the 90th anniversary of the AFL.
A timeless story brought to life for the stage in this vibrant version by the award-winning children’s playwright Neil Duffield. The play has been performed in the UK, USA and Canada. Mowgli, the lost boy and his loyal friends Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther transport us to the jungle in a story that has touched the hearts of generations. Can Mowgli discover the secret of man’s red flower? Can he fight off the terrifying tiger, Shere Khan? Will he be able to overcome the many dangers of the jungle and live there happily? Or will he leave his wild friends and join the humans in the village? Faithful to Kipling’s original beloved story, this adaptation has proven popular with theatres worldwide.
Four women share the house of a ballet dancer, whose contact with the supernatural lays the ghosts of the past to rest.
Gives us a teenager's view of domestic violence through poetry and football. Winner of the Commission of Racial Equality Race in the Media Award.
One morning, Jean-Jacques leaves his door ajar – and a total stranger slips into his life. Is she deranged, a squatter, or a woman from his past? As a lawyer, he should know how to get rid of her, but as a man, he has no idea. His orderly world is turned upside-down when what started as a comic encounter changes his life forever.
Uses theatricality to explore behaviour in and out of school.
The world's leading feminist raconteur, polemicist and wit plunders the archetypal story of female resistance . . . Lysistrata, the play's heroine persuades the women to barricade themselves inside a building, refusing to give their husbands sex until they negotiate an end to the Peloponnesian War and secure peace. She also persuades the women of Sparta, the enemy, to join her cause and refuse sex to their husbands until they agree to stop the war. The men eventually give in, peace is agreed and the women go home to their husbands.
A young musician is faced with the dilemma of denying his cultural identity for success or remaining in obscurity. Time Out Critic's Choice.
Finalist in the Helen Hayes Awards, USA. The King is dead and the Green Kingdom is in turmoil. Only Merlin knows that the future lies in the hands of young Arthur. Taken away from the only home he's known, Arthur slumbers in Merlin's Cave of Dreams. Here, his past and future are revealed in a glorious vision that will lead him on the adventure of a lifetime. Can Arthur slay the giants and dragons that stand in his way? Will he pull the sword from the stone and claim his rightful kingdom?
Of Roma background, Mia is a refugee who has lost her home, and most of her family. She has odd bits and pieces in her bag, which have stories attached to them. Mia has received a postcard of this town from her sister, Sofia, who has disappeared. She tells them about Sofia, shows them a photograph and reveals her fears.
Written for two theatres located in German and Welsh mining towns, Missing is distantly inspired by the Grimm’s fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel but more immediately by the question, “What does it mean nowadays to grow up poor in an economically depressed town?”
Way tells the story from the viewpoints of all four characters – the Dad, the Stepmother, Hansel, a withdrawn and alienated teenager, and Grethel, his much younger sister who has a mental disability that leaves her vulnerable to bullies and evil-doers.
When Hansel – like a detective – traces his sister’s disappearance to the horrible truth, he is still hampered by cops who have him pegged as a juvenile delinquent and a father who is rarely sober enough to act. A tragic outcome seems all but certain until Hansel’s daring plan to lure the kidnapper with a suitcase full of money pays off.
As risky in form as it is in content, this piece leaves the assignment of specific lines to the discretion of each producing company and demands a creative use of movement to support and, in places, replace the text. Evocative and eloquent on the page, Missing has proven its effectiveness in production and in 2010 was honored with the highly prestigious German Children’s Theatre Prize.
Imagine swapping places with a monster for the day . . .
Alfian Sa’at’s Nadirah is highly topical as it addresses the theme of mixed marriages; in asking if mother and daughter can worship different gods, Sa’at welcomes the new developments in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-faithed society.
Set in a Maternity ward on the eve of the revolution, patients and staff reflect the divided nature of Romanian society.
In Tew Bunnag's The Night of the Minotaur (Thailand), power is confined to a cave and treated like a beast.
Written for Belfast based Cahoots, NI, Nivelli’s War is set in Germany in the aftermath of World War II where displaced people are desperately trying to return home to find their loved ones. Six-year-old Ernst is an evacuee who finds himself alone on his aunt’s farm two hundred kilometers from Frankfurt am Main with only a mysterious chicken thief to turn to for help. The story of the unlikely bond between Mr H (the thief) and Ernst, and their difficult journey home is literally conjured up before our eyes by a world famous, yet strangely weary, magician – the Mr. Nivelli of the play’s title. As he prepares on stage for the night’s performance, he blows up a balloon that transports us back through time to key moments in the past that still tug at his mind: the parting with his mother after a devastating bombing of the city; his aunt Sophie wandering off insane with grief; the cart Mr H makes from his uncle’s bicycle in order to carry the boy along the road; the Russian soldiers Mr H distracts with sleight-of-hand tricks; and an aristocrat and her butler hiding out in a boarded-up mansion who offer the travelers a rare evening of respite – a warm fire and a decent meal. The acclaimed magician has devoted his life to the art that his friend and saviour taught him, a friend who he learns was a Jew and whose survival in Nazi Germany seems to have been for the sole purpose of delivering little Ernst back into his mother’s arms. How to repay such a debt? Can Ernst or any of us, trapped in the inhumanity of war, ever become whole again?
Explodes the myths surrounding drugs and the club scene by depicting the betrayal and friendship of three young people who take a trip beyond anything they ever expected.
The powerless are given voice in this play by Joned Suryatmoko (Indonesia), reminding us that poverty can easily lead to abuse and exploitation.
Pirates! is a bi-national co-commission which Way wrote for theatres in the London and the Washington, DC, suburbs. The protagonist Jim is an eight year old who is fascinated by 18th-century pirate lore. He is also on the brink of being reunited with the mother who left him and his father four years earlier for a life on the road with a new partner. As he struggles to come to terms with whether or not he wants to renew this relationship, Jim dreams that he is caught in an adventure on the high seas in which he must choose between allegiance to the charismatic female pirate Captain Freely or to her arch nemesis – the strict disciplinarian, Captain McGovern. Like most children touched by divorce, Jim’s deepest wish is to force a stop to the fight between his parents. In a moment of striking theatrical imagery, Way has Jim interrupt the duel between the two warring captains and demand that they throw down their swords forever. Instead they pause just long enough to tell him, “This is our fight lad – ours. And you are not the cause of it. ‘Tis time for you to go.” The fantastical journey into history allows Jim to process his fears about his very present dilemma. He gains the courage to speak directly to his father about the past and realizes that he can choose to what degree he wants to allow his mother back into his life. Pirates! was much praised by critics on both sides of the Atlantic for its premiere productions and was nominated for Washington’s Helen Hayes Outstanding New Play Award in 2011 and given the Distinguished New Play Award by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education in 2012.
Based on a short story Out of Bounds, The Playground tells the story of Rosa, a young girl, who is sent by her mother to be the first black child in an all-white school where many parents remained hostile to Nelson Mandela's new integration laws. As Rosa's world collides with that of Hennie (the white boy whom Rosa's mother has looked after since he was a baby) both are forced to overcome their fears and show the courage to face each other.
Commissioned by Polka Theatre and nominated for TMA's Best Children's Play award, this is a poetic yet gritty piece exploring the trials of the young Evelyn Glennie to become a percussionist despite her profound deafness. It provides an opportunity for movement, music and text to be combined in performance. For eight years and over.
In Plunge, ex-economist Jean Tay shines satirical light on the Asian Economic Crisis, and with considerable boldness and innovation reveals Singapore’s sophistication on the global market.
How do you stop being a graffiti artist and become a real one?
Project XXX is a dark, romantic comedy. The story follows a feminist teenage blogger who decides it is time to prove that sex on the web is not just for men. During a rainy summer in a northern seaside town, Amy resolves to show that sexual choice is firmly in the hands of women by persuading new love interest Callum to film her first time. Meanwhile, Callum has his own issues to deal with, including a mother on the edge of a nervous breakdown and an obsession with faded porn star Jaze.
Commissioned by Unicorn Theatre for Children and The Place, this play is based on Hans Christian Andersen's well-known tale The Red Shoes. It uses dance, music and drama to explore the inner world of a traumatised child fleeing war in Eastern Europe, powerfully dramatising a life and death conflict. For nine years and over.
A powerful and humane drama which brings the issue of AIDS to the foreground as a universal theme, and one relevant to contemporary South Africa. In a subtle juxtaposition of black and white – the old world and the new converge around the tragic circumstances that face each of the characters. One is left with the question – who is to blame? – when prevention would have been so easy.
Reoca Light is a tribute to the art of traditional storytelling. It traces the history of a family who had first arrived in South Africa as indentured labourers having relocated from India. The great, great grandfather had dreamed of having a convenience store, a dream which is finally realized by the fourth generation of the original settlers. It is a moving story of unsung heroes and community values and has at its core a sensual nature and spiritual depth. Sunil, a teacher, has been approached by the local newspaper to comment on his father closing the convenience store following a spate of burglaries and assaults, the last of which has resulted in his being hospitalized. What transpires is that the reporter discovers that Sunil had penned several unpublished stories about the people closely associated with the store and particularly the hut, which is behind the store. Sunil agrees to reveal these stories and through the process celebrates the people who have most influenced his life. It is a refreshing tribute to the survival of oppressed and marginalised people and interrogates the development of a small-town community by acknowledging the heroes and exposing the insular nature of some community members who demonstrated racism and secularism. The writing has a lyricism to it and serves as a reminder of the beauty of sharing stories across generations.
Karly's mum thinks she's an angel, but what if she flaps her wings?
The Rover, alternatively known as 'The Banish't Cavaliers', is the most frequently read and performed of Aphra Behn's plays (Burke, 118). First performed by the Duke's Company at the Dorset Garden Theatre in 1677, the play was initially published anonymously. Only in the prologue of the third edition did Behn finally take credit for the play. It is believed that it took her this long to claim authorship because she was afraid of potential plagiarism charges, as the play closely resembles Thomas Killigrew's 'Thomaso.'
The Rover follows the escapades of a band of banished English cavaliers as they enjoy themselves at a carnival in Naples. The story strings together multiple plotlines revolving around the amorous adventures of these Englishmen, who pursue a pair of noble Spanish sisters, as well as a mistress and common prostitute. The titular character is a raffish naval captain, Willmore. He falls in love with a wealthy noble Spanish woman named Hellena, who is determined to experience love before her brother, Pedro, sends her to a convent. Hellena falls in love with Willmore, but difficulties arise when a famous courtesan, Angellica Bianca, also falls in love with Willmore. As this plot unravels, Hellena's older sister, Florinda, attempts to avoid an unappealing arranged marriage to her brother's best friend, and devises a plan to marry her true love, Colonel Belvile. Finally, the third major plot of the play concerns English countryman Blunt, a naive and vengeful man who becomes convinced that a girl, Lucetta, has fallen in love with him. When she turns out to be a prostitute and thief, he is humiliated and attempts to rape Florinda as revenge against all women for the pain and damage that Lucetta has caused him. In the end, Florinda and Belvile are married, and Hellena and Willmore commit to marry one another.
Running Dream tells the story of three generations of West Indian women with warmth and humour.
Written in 1912 during the upsurge of the British feminist movement, this powerful play deals with the oppressive patriarchal system of the industrial North at that time. Rutherford is the hard, tyrannical master of both his glassworks and his family, who attacks, degrades and rejects each of his children in turn. To his daughter Janet, her banishment is a release, and she forcefully condemns her father and his values.
An imaginative retelling of a classical myth with enormous contemporary relevance. Telemachus is an angry and awkward adolescent searching west and west again to the edge of the world for his absent father.
A spectacular play for everyone above the age of six which will entertain adults and children alike. This is a seasonal play with a difference – being set in medieval Baghdad there is no mention of Xmas. There is however plenty of traditional adventure, swordplay and intrigue. It was billed as ‘A lost adventure from the Arabian nights’.
The story begins in a busy Baghdad, a city full of life, colour and danger. Sinbad the porter, a young man who survives on his wits and not much else, is given a box to carry to the house of the famous Sinbad the sailor, who is now an old man. On arrival the porter meets Ittifaq, Sinbad’s quarrelsome daughter and their differences soon become apparent. Just as the porter is about to leave, the house is visited by the ancient Sorceress Jan Shah. Jan Shah places a deadly cloud over the city that threatens to kill all its inhabitants. The antidote is in a flower, in a cave deep beneath the sea and Jan Shah challenges the old sailor Sinbad to go one last adventure and save the city he loves. Sinbad the sailor knows he cannot do this and thus the task falls to the two youngsters. Their journey is daring and hazardous and involves a magic boat, a silent but deadly genie and, most dangerous of all, a confrontation with Jan Shah who wants nothing less than the blood of Ittifaq in order to become young again – and perhaps live forever.
Aurora Metro Books is an independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction, YA fiction and drama which was established by Cheryl Robson over 25 years ago. Based in Richmond-upon-Thames, near London, the company initiated the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2009, in honour of Virginia Woolf, who lived for ten years in the same area that the office is based. With a growing list of high quality adult fiction, featuring both new and established novelists, the company has published select international authors and work in translation from around 20 languages.
With over 120 drama plays in print, including works from Robin Soans, Manjula Padmanabhan and Germaine Greer, as well as a formidable list of non-fiction books on theatre, Aurora Metro Books has built a wide-ranging and highly contemporary list of new drama, with collections of women’s drama, international drama and drama by black and Asian writers, proving to be popular with colleges and universities. Aurora Metro Books’ list of plays for Young People is the finest in the UK.