Harold Pinter Award-winning playwright Anders Lustgarten’s highly charged play about fear, friendship and the creeping polarisation of our society, opens in London at Theatre Peckham this November.
Why is it wrong to want to feel safe?
The police just took Jamal away. Because Miss Tomlinson called them.
Because she had to. Because of Prevent, and now all that’s left is a shell-shocked class.
Set in a classroom, the story unfolds after one of the pupils has been taken away by the government organisation ‘Prevent’ because the teacher believes them to be demonstrating signs of radicalisation. Left alone in the classroom, the rest of the class try to come to terms with what’s happened. The situation soon becomes a melting pot for explosive opinions and actions. Surprise turns to suspicion, suspicion turns to fear, fear turns to accusation and accusation turns to violence.
The revival of Lustgarten’s political piece, which was first staged as part of the NT Connections festival in 2017, aims to shine a light on the issues and stimulate debate around the radicalisation of young people. Directed by Theatre Peckham’s Artistic Director Suzann McLean (CATCHER PILOT THEATRE; REBELLION HACKNEY EMPIRE; EXTREMISM DORFMAN; DRIVING MISS DAISY THEATRE ROYAL YORK) and including a cast of 10 young emerging actors, the play also presents a milestone for the theatre in terms of the themes explored and its output as a producing theatre.
Conversation Stations will be set up after each performance and audiences will have the opportunity to talk to and seek advice from specialist organisations about the issues raised in the play.
Suzann McLean comments: “This is a vital play and I’m thrilled that we are reviving it for audiences in London and especially in Southwark. It deals with many challenges facing young people in today’s society; peer pressure, consent, friendship, racism, and not least a growing area of concern, radicalisation. My hope is that this play allows us to question stereotypes and the use of negative language surrounding identity based on race or religion. It will be a challenging watch, but I feel that seeing fictional portrayals of bullying at its most basic (sometimes referred to as ‘banter’) as well as at its worst we will see drama being utilised as a medium for social change.”
Theatre Peckham is a pioneering Learning Theatre for young people since 1986, home to world class creative learning and performance, providing a talent pool for the creative industries. At the heart of Theatre Peckham's success is its commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
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