A co-production between Most Wanted and Offstage Theatre in association with W14 Productions and Alastair Michael, co-commissioned by Soho Theatre.
3 – 26 August 2018 at 5.30pm, Paines Plough's Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival
4 – 22 September 2018, Soho Theatre in London https://sohotheatre.com/shows/the-political-history-of-smack-and-crack/
1 - 17 November 2018, The Mustard Tree refuge in Manchester
We are also working with Synergy Theatre Project who work towards rehabilitation with offenders and ex-offenders to bring performances to prisons in Manchester and London
Director Cressida Brown
Lighting Designer Richard Williamson
Sound Designer Jon McLeod
Movement Director Kate Sagovsky
Costume Consultant Esteniah Williams
“The history of England jumps off its axis. 2am, 8th July, 1981, every major city in England burn."
The night of the Manchester uprising. That night changed everything. That night two kids locked eyes. Mandy and Neil. Years later they meet again, but revolution is not in the air. All that was crushed by Thatcher. Or by a heroin epidemic. This is an epic love song to a lost generation.
Drawing from his own personal experience, Ed Edwards' script crackles with anger, humour and authenticity about the road to recovery.
In November, The Political History of Smack and Crack will transfer to a homeless refuge in Manchester. The city will be playing host to theinaugural International Arts and Homelessness Summit and Festival (curated by With One Voice), bringing together policy makers, artistic leaders and homeless delegates from around the world. As part of the Festival, this authentic and urgent play will open at the Mustard Tree in conjunction with outreach workshops, a local refuge for people trapped by homelessness, dependency and poverty.
★★★★★ The Stage ‘There's maybe nothing better at the whole festival– than Ed Edwards’ The Political History of Smack and Crack, a riotously entertaining and deeply moving drama-cum-documentary exploring the history of heroin use in Manchester.’
★★★★★ The 730 Review ‘The simplicity and passion of the story-telling left me inspired; it relied on nothing more than a well-written script, a good heart and beautiful performances.’
★★★★★ Backstage on the Fringe
★★★★★ Morning Star
★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ The Scotsman ‘As a love story it’s unexpectedly tender; as a social history its shockingly dark; as a piece of theatre it’s excellent’
"100 years ago the biggest killer of young men was war, now they kill themselves."
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
Every 31 hours someone takes their own life by jumping in front of a train.
They are ten times more likely to be a man.
'Man. Up. Man - Up.
Literally, what do you mean?
Is this how I walk as a man, or stand? Or do I do it like this?
Please fucking tell me what that instruction means!'
31 Hours is the story of four men who clean up the aftermath of rail suicides. Filled with humour and humanity, it takes us on a high-speed kaleidoscope journey through masculinity, mental health and messy aftermaths in modern Britain.
★★★★★ LondonTheatre1 "intriguing and informative"
★★★★★ ActDrop "Flawlessly performed"
★★★★★ LoveLondonCulture "immensely important play"
★★★★★ Pocket Size Theatre "explosive" "thrilling"
★★★★★ The Tung "quietly shattering"
★★★★★ Stage Reviews "darkly witty and haunting story" "outstanding performances"
★★★★ TheatreWeekly "incredibly powerful and urgent"
★★★★ Everything Theatre "a surprisingly thoughtful play"
Kieran Knowles Offie Nomination for Most Promising New Playwright
Kindly supported by the Carne Trust and Arco
In support of the Campaign Against Living Miserably CALM
Salvatore D'Aquilla, James Wallwork, Jack Sunderland and Abdul Salis
Salvatore D'Aquilla, Abdul Salis and Jack Sunderland
Jack Sunderland, Salvatore D'Aquilla and Abdul Salis
Abdul Salis, Jack Sunderland
James Wallwork and Abdul Salis
Jam by Matt Parvin 23 May - 17 June 2017 at the Finborough Theatre
Director Tommo Fowler
Designer Emma Bailey
Lighting Designer Peter Harrison
Sound Designer and Composer Alexandra Faye Braithwaite
Movement and Fight Director Ailin Conant
Second Fight Director Yarit Dor
Photography Mathew Foster
Ten years ago, Bella Soroush’s life was ruined by one of her pupils – Kane McCarthy. She has gradually rebuilt things – new school, new town, new friends – and finally feels at home in the depths of the countryside.
Now Kane is back in her classroom, armed with relics of the past and claiming to want forgiveness.
As the truths they've clung to begin to collapse, teacher and pupil are forced to confront their prejudices and the shared history that has bound them together.
Set over a single evening, Jam is a relentless, incendiary new drama that interrogates social fault-lines in Britain today, and the tension between truth and justice.
Harry Melling and Jasmine Hyde
Jasmine Hyde and Tommo Fowler
Harry Melling and Jasmine Hyde
Harry Melling and Jasmine Hyde
The Brink by Brad Birch 7-30 April 2016 at the Orange Tree
History teacher Nick is on the edge.
A hidden secret lies under the Brink. Nick can’t get it out of his mind. A series of visions force Nick to investigate what lies beneath. Nick’s girlfriend doesn’t understand. Neither do his fellow teachers. Frustrated, he confides in a Year 10 student but can she be expected to have all the answers.
A co-production between the Orange Tree Theatre, W14 Productions and Theatre Bench, in association with the National Theatre Studio: The J.P. Morgan Award for Emerging Directors production
Director Mel Hillyard Designer Hyemi Shin Lighting Designer Lizzie Powell Sound Designer and Composer Tom Gibbons Movement Director Carolina Valdés
Photographer Helen Warner
Alice Haig Vince Leigh Shvorne Marks Ciarán Owens
★★★★ "Playwright Brad Birch has just been announced as the recipient of the Harold Pinter Commission to write a play for the Royal Court, and The Brink – given a wonderfully jittery, skittery production by Mel Hillyard to match the text – shows exactly why. It has a distinctive ping, like an alarm clock on the blink. It’s very funny, too... a short, sharp, shockingly entertaining play that dances along the tightrope between reality and unreality." Lyn Gardner, Guardian
★★★★ "a taut psychological thriller and a searingly astute parable about life in Generation Y... Birch’s script is howl-inducingly funny" Lucinda Everett, The Telegraph
★★★★ "Brad Birch remorselessly skewers the inertia of a man struggling with his role as a teacher while failing to grow up. But while the jokes come thick and fast, The Brink also dissects its protagonist with precision and refuses to provide easy answers... a knotty but entertaining mix of stylised staging and naturalistic writing." Lauren Mooney, The Stage
★★★★ "Mel Hillyard, the recipient of the 2015 JP Morgan Emerging Director Award, deftly translates Birch’s offbeat poeticism" Marianka Swain, The Arts Desk
★★★★"Mel Hillyard’s pacy and uncluttered in-the-round production catches the tone of Birch’s writing perfectly and snappy well-timed delivery of his sharp dialogue brings an abundance of laughs, The Brink is a little gem, the lightness of the comedy on its surface contrasting beautifully with the darkness of its underlying themes." Stephen Bates, Reviews Hub
★★★★"Birch’s script is unsettlingly authentic and is packed to the brim with humour, even in the darkest moments.." "a must-see" Lily Hayes, A Younger Theatre
Vince Leigh, Shvorne Marks, Ciarán Owens and Alice Haig
Alice Haig and Ciarán Owens
Ciarán Owens and Alice Haig
The Late Henry Moss
The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard 2-26 September 2015 at Southwark Playhouse
Two brothers, Earl and Ray, return to their home town in Bernalillo New Mexico upon the mysterious death of their estranged father, Henry. Over a bottle of bourbon and a box of old photographs, they try to reconcile their very different childhood memories. Earl's version of Henry's death doesn't add up; so Ray determines to find the truth. As Ray plays detective we encounter Henry's bizarre collection of friends as the story of his last days is uncovered. Family tensions are blown apart as Ray discovers more than he’d bargained for…
Director Mel Hillyard Designer Cecilia Carey Lighting Designer Christopher Nairne Composer and Sound Designer Keir Vine Movement Director Lucie Pankhurst Fight Director Terry King Dialect Coach Kara Tsiaperas Associate Designer Patti Porteous Rehearsal Photographer Jack Sain Production Photographer Mathew Foster
Joseph Arkley Harry Ditson Joe Evans Chris Jared Jack Sandle Carolina Valdés
★★★★★ "Mel Hillyard’s directing gets the tempo just right and Cecilia Carey’s simple design adds to the atmosphere of decay that slowly destroys the characters, creating an unbearable feeling of suffocation and a need for catharsis" The London Box Office
★★★★★ "Hillyard’s direction is wonderfully subtle" "a masterpiece in human behaviour, and a must see for any theatregoer" London Theatre 1
★★★★ "Uncertainty as to what to expect next gives it a natural tension that is harnessed beautifully in director Mel Hillyard’s powerful production." The Public Reviews
Off West End Award nomination for Cecilia Carey Best Design
Chris Jared and Jack Sandle
Joe Evans and Harry Ditson
Chris Jared and Joe Arkley
Carolina Valdés and Jack Sandle
Upper Cut by Juliet Gilkes Romero 14 January to 7 February 2015 at Southwark Playhouse
Shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Audience Award 2015
"Seventy percent of my constituents are white, Karen. I have to be a politician, who 'happens' to be black. Not a black man who 'happens' to be a politician."
Karen loves politics. Karen’s a rising star but on the eve of a general election she risks her career and reputation in a bitter and contentious fight over whether to allow short lists for black Parliamentary candidates.
Deselected by her Party, and betrayed by the men she loves, Karen must embark on a relentless road to power and political redemption.
Director Lotte Wakeham Designer Rachel Stone Lighting Designer Derek Anderson Composer and Sound Designer Andy Graham Rehearsal Photographer Jack Sain Production Photographer Robert Workman
Emma Dennis-Edwards Akemnji Ndifornyen Andrew Scarborough
★★★★"The dialogue is snappy, lucid and forceful throughout." Plays to See
"A resonant production" The Stage
"an entertaining and lively play" A Younger Theatre
"Don’t miss this incisive and intelligent new play, which gives a voice to the voiceless." Culture Whisper
Akemnji Ndifornyen, Andrew Scarborough and Emma Dennis-Edwards
Emma Dennis-Edwards and Andrew Scarborough
In development - The Yard
The Yard by Emma Dennis-Edwards Rehearsed reading on 2 June 2016 at The Arcola
Director Nicolette Kay
Cast for the rehearsed reading
Michelle Asante Doña Croll Shvorne Marks Peter Straker
Currently seeking venues and co-producers for a 2017 production.
W14 Productions would like to acknowledge the generous support of Arts Council England for its support of R&D and rehearsed reading as well as The Arcola and the So & So Club.