The themes of every production produced by The Big House emerge from issues which the young cast care about and feel like they want a platform to address. County Lines, where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area, is becoming a big problem which is affecting our young people, and the cast will be working with writers Sonya Hale and Andy Day to develop the script of Bullet Tongue so that it is an authentic piece of theatre which truly reflects the reality of the current situation.
I just want to show you my ends. As man can see the sun creep over the brow of that tower block right now, like I think. I want grab myself a camera. I wanna use my voice. I am going to use man’s voice to speak. I see all the yout-dem run about, trapped, lost. I wanna show you all, lift the hood on my estate right back, let its little eyes sparkle. This girl don’t wanna run with no metal bullet, I want to take you by the ears and eyes and show you. And so as I look out across this city, on man’s own landing, man’s own estate, and that sunlight is blissing up man’s eyes I think… I am gonna unzip the silence on it, show you, show you. I wanna bring you to it. Carve a new thing, a new life. I am gonna use this bullet tongue voice of mine. Blasting out. Bullet tongue girl gonna show you now. Bullet tongue gonna tell you true.
Maggie Norris directs. She is Artistic Director and CEO of The Big House for which she has directed productions including Phoenix, Babylon, Politrix, The Realness, Electric, Knife Edge, Brixton Rock, Phoenix Rising. Her other directing credits include Bad Girls - The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Garrick Theatre), The Sunshine Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Bodies (Live Theatre, Newcastle) and Josephine (Battersea Arts Centre/The Coliseum Theatre/UK tour). She was previously Artistic Director of Only Connect where her credits include Any Which Way, Family Matters, Badman Christmas and His Teeth (Wormwood Scrubs). As an actress Norris appeared as series regular Claire Palmer in Coronation Street. For film she produced Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution, based on her own personal story.
Andrew Day is a Writer in Residence for The Big House. His previous writing credits for the company include Phoenix, Babylon, Electric and Phoenix Rising.
Sonya Hale has had plays performed at The Southbank Centre, Latitude Festival and in prisons and treatment centres. She has worked with Synergy Theatre Project, Clean Break Theatre Company and The Outside Edge. She runs writers’ workshops and is associate workshop facilitator at Outside Edge; and is currently under commission at Clean Break. Hale won the Synergy Theatre Project’s national prison scriptwriting competition and her most recent play Dean McBride won the Heretic Voices competition in and was performed at Arcola Theatre this year, directed by Roy Alexander Weise.
ABOUT THE BIG HOUSE
The Big House is a place where people who may have given up on themselves gain the skills and confidence to turn their lives around. It works with care leavers and marginalised young people who are at a high risk of social exclusion and provides a platform for them to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard.It uses theatre to inspire members and to facilitate personal growth. The Big House recognises the vulnerability of care leavers as well as their talents, hopes and dreams. Through the use of theatre, the development of life skills and therapeutic intervention, The Big House nurtures a relationship of trust with its membership to work on behavioural and emotional problems. By tackling these fundamental needs it unleashes our members’ creative potential and builds core skills to help them manage the stressful complexities of taking up a positive role in the community and to make better informed decisions.
Established in November 2012, The Big House has gone from start-up to award-winning charity in under three years, delivering nine productions: Phoenix, Babylon, Politrix,The Realness, Electric, Knife Edge, Brixton Rock, Phoenix Rising and Loose Lips. It is the only theatre company in the UK which works with at-risk care leavers, using theatre to transform lives combined with long term support, psychotherapy and the teaching of life and employment skills. In 2014 TBH was awarded the ‘Born to Be’ Award from the Centre for Social Justice in recognition of its impact. It is the youngest charity to ever win this prestigious award. The charity has received several Off West End nominations for its productions and won an award for Phoenix Rising performed in a car park underneath Smithfield Meat Market.
None of the casts at The Big House are auditioned to be part of this process but are assessed on the basis of need.
This project is supported by The Big Lottery Fund. The charity’s new building will be designed by Lipton Plant architects and built with the generous support of Mala Engineering and 8build. It is launching a capital appeal to run alongside the production to raise funds to complete the redevelopment after the production has finished.
The Big House Listing
151A Englefield Road, London N1 3LH
14 November – 8 December 2018
Press Night: Friday 16 November, 7.30pm
Tickets available from button above.