The world premiere of SparkPlug by award-winning playwright David Judge (Hollyoaks, Channel 4; Fatherland, Lyric Hammersmith; The Caretaker, Bristol Old Vic and UK Tour; Afterbirth, Arcola Theatre) which opens at HOME in Manchester next week (until 23rd Feb) as part of its UK tour, reveals new rehearsal images.

He’s got two Dads, my lad. One’s black. That makes him black. I suppose.

Manchester, 1983. Dave loves Rod Stewart, Joanne and his Ford Capri. He’s all set for a new start. Only Joanne’s about to have someone else’s baby. Is Dave ready to become a Dad even though he’s not the father?

A punchy and poetic exploration of family, race, identity and love, SparkPlug is the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child, David. This lyrical and energetic monologue from Manchester-based dual heritage writer David Judge examines what family means today.

Inspired by autobiographical events and exploring the playwright’s background as an actor and spoken word artist, SparkPlug is unflinching in its portrayal of real situations as it explores racism, violence and masculinity – some of the most pressing issues currently being discussed. Offering a non-judgmental space in which to start a conversation, SparkPlug seeks to give people the chance to talk openly about these themes.

Writer David Judge comments, As a 'man of colour' my voice as a writer has become a valued weapon, loaded and aimed at those without. As a 'man of colour' I sometimes feel pressured to speak for a community I know nothing of and feel I am being recruited to hate those without, the 'white man'. This fight both inside and outside of myself makes me question where my loyalties lie. Who am I loyal to? And who to me? The answers are straight forward; my biological Father, my 'Black' left me before I was born; my biological Mother, my 'Blood' left me when I was seven years old; the only person who stuck by me, from boy to man, who grew and shaped me into the man I am today was a white man. A white man with love and hate tattooed on his knuckles, with a ginger perm, with a Ford Capri, with Rod Stewart constantly on the stereo. So out of my loyalty to him, I have used my voice to write a play about the man who made me one. My Father. I hope it's enjoyed.

SparkPlug was a finalist for the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play 2017. It is produced by Box of Tricks, a Manchester-based theatre company that champions the next generation of playwrights, producing top quality new plays on local and national stages. Their previous two productions Narvik (Best New Play at UK Theatre Awards 2017) and Plastic Figurines enjoyed sell-out audiences and critical acclaim in 2016-17.

Cast David Judge

Playwright David Judge
Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder
Designer Katie Scott
Lighting Designer Richard Owen
Sound Designer Chris James
Associate Producer Max Emmerson
Assistant Director Hannah Calascione
Production Manager Liam M Whittaker
Technical Stage Manager Adam Steed

Tour Dates

Wed 13th – Sat 23rd Feb HOME, Manchester

Tues 26th Feb – 2nd Mar Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Thurs 7th – Fri 8th Mar Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Sat 9th Mar Cheltenham Everyman Studio

Mon 11th – Tues 12th Mar Harrogate Theatre Studio

Thurs 14th – Sat 16th Mar Live Theatre, Newcastle

Tues 19th – Wed 20th Mar York Theatre Royal

Thurs 21st – Fri 22nd Mar Hull Truck

Tues 26th – Wed 27th Mar Theatr Clwyd, Wales

Thurs 28th Mar Crewe Lyceum Studio

Fri 29th Mar Spring Arts Centre, Havant

Sat 30th Mar The Lighthouse, Poole

Mon 1st April Marlowe Studio, Canterbury

Thurs 2nd April Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead

Wed 3rd April The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford

Thurs 4th April Square Chapel, Halifax

Fri 5th & Sat 6th April The Met, Bury

Mon 8th – Tues 9th April Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Wed 10th – Sat 13th April The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham