So why had I never seen a play before? Well for one it was never encouraged at school or in the home, but also we were in Hull so opportunities were scarce. When I moved to London a few years later to work with the National Youth Theatre I was buzzing about the amount of Theatre on offer, saw play after play, extensively read all the greats and even began writing myself. But their was always that feeling of playing catch up, a feeling that I'd missed out or been short changed coming from the North.
I went up to Salford recently to do a play based on the writer's life growing up there, as I sat outside the Theatre having a fag I saw three young lads who asked what the building was behind me. ''It's a Theatre'' I said, the oldest lad piped up ''They put on like plays and shit don't they? Like fucking dancing about and that.'' I knew exactly what they were getting at, they thought that it was a building not for people like them, no idea what use it had, telling stories that were so far removed from their lives. Funny enough we were doing a play about hopelessness and lack of opportunity in Salford, if they came in I reckon they'd have been pleasantly surprised, like I was with Equus. But not everybody will get to see something that opens their eyes and the sort of work we were showing is few and far between.
Brilliant things are been done for working class people down south but that's not really solving the issue that we have. Been down South you already have the mindset, you're already miles ahead of the game, compared to someone on an estate in Bradford anyway. We need to be casting the net further a field and getting these programmes and opportunities everywhere. More focus on under privileged areas, their are a few but not enough, considering the majority of the country is working class. The Theatre's too important to have a large section of society thinking that they're excluded from it. But I guess it represents the 'us and them' mentality that many working class communities feel, I know me and my mates did, on the side lines, scared to participate, no meaningful purpose, just getting by, props and stand ins for those who deserve it.
'Starved' is set in a scruffy bedsit on a council estate in Hull, it's a fast paced and gritty two hander which examines the extremes people can go to when in desperate poverty & the effects a toxic relationship can have on mental health. The play is all based in truth and things that I've heard, seen and been through. I wanted to really turn the heat up on these characters and look at what people can be driven to when they feel isolated. When they feel like they have no meaningful purpose or place in society. How far can we be pushed until we bite back?
Catch 'Starved' 30th April to 11th May 2019, Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm