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 Inez Bensusan wrote three other plays, all unpublished: the duologue, Perfect Ladies (1909, now lost), Nobody’s Sweetheart, 1911 (produced at the Little Theatre) and The Prodigal Passes, 1914 (Cosmopolis).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.
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.