Reading Rep Theatre and A Girl Called Stephen today announce a double bill coproduction of Gary McNair’s Locker Room Talk and Alexis Gregory’s Safe. The productions will run 2 – 6 July at Reading Studio.
Gary McNair’s Locker Room Talk is a provocative exploration of how men speak about women behind their back. Can such sexually provocative conversation be accepted as ‘locker room talk’, or do such attitudes drive abusive behaviour? Does Trump speak to a silent majority or is he a loathsome individual?
McNair interviewed dozens of men from a vast array of backgrounds. Reading Rep Associate Director Christie O’Carroll directs, as four women perform a selection of these conversations.
A recent study found that 25% of UK homeless and at-risk young people identify as LGBT. Safe is a powerful verbatim theatre piece from Alexis Gregory, exploring these often untold stories. These are tales of sexuality, gender, childhood, identity, family, religion, race and addiction. Annie Kershaw directs this humour-filled exploration and celebration of what it means to feel truly safe in today’s world.
In an increasingly disparate society, these plays find the common threads in and of humanity. With the backdrop of Brexit and Trump, 2019 could not be a better time to tell these stories.
Paul Stacey, Reading Rep’s Artistic Director today said:
'These plays give a voice to very real issues of today. SAFE gives a voice to the unheard homeless LGBTQIA+ community. And Locker Room Talk explores the very real climate of toxic masculinity that society is struggling to address. Now, more than ever, it is essential to tell these stories. Reading Rep and A Girl Called Stephen Theatre are thrilled to be presenting these as a double bill. We share a mission to bring these diverse voices to the stage, and this will be an essential part of Reading Rep’s future as we move to our exciting new space.'
Annie Kershaw, AGCS’s Artistic Director says:
'I am so glad to have Reading Rep's support as we bring queer theatre to Reading. This co-production allows us to both embark on our aims of being inclusive, diverse and exciting theatre makers. This is especially important while we establish ourselves as a new company and as Reading Rep takes the next step by opening a new arts hub in Reading.'
Reading Rep are currently in the midst of a capital campaign to open a new 158 seat theatre and cultural hub in Reading. More info here.
LOCKER ROOM TALK
Following an overwhelming response from previous runs at the Traverse Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Latitude Festival and The Scottish Parliament, Locker Room Talk is now produced by Reading Rep with a new cast to continue a conversation about misogyny and masculinity.
To further discussions inspired from the play, there will be a post-show Q&A session following the performance of Locker Room Talk on Wednesday 3rd July. Leading academics and members of the creative team will speak on the subject of 'Where do we go from here?
Safe was created out of interviews with four Albert Kennedy Trust service users. The Albert Kennedy Trust supports homeless and at risk LGBTQ+ youth.
"An energetic, moving, and powerfully constructed portrayal of LGBT youth homelessness" - Attitude Magazine
To further discussions inspired from the play, there will be a post-show Q&A session following the performance of Safe on Tuesday 2ndJuly. Representatives from homeless charities and LGTBQIA+ associations will speak on the subject of ‘Safe Spaces: Combatting LGBTQIA+ homelessness’.'
Gary McNair - Playwright (Locker Room Talk)
Gary McNair is an award winning playwright and performer from Glasgow who makes work he hopes will challenge and entertain in equal measure. Since graduating with 1st class honours in Contemporary Theatre Practice from the RSAMD (now RCS) in 2007, he has produced work with and for most of Scotland’s major theatre companies. His plays have been translated into multiple languages and performed around the world, with productions in; London, New York, LA, Italy, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. His plays include, Locker Room Talk, Letters To Morrissey, After The Cuts and A Gambler’s Guide to Dying. His last 6 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe have completely sold out and he has received the coveted Scotsman Fringe First Award three times.
He is an Associate Artist at The Traverse Theatre, Writer In Residence at the National Theatre of Scotland and is under commission at Audible.com
Alexis Gregory – Playwright (Safe)
Alexis Gregory is a playwright and performer. His plays includes ‘Slap’ (Theatre Royal Stratford East / ‘pop-up’ performances at Channel 4’s London HQ - the channels first ever onsite theatrical presentation and at warehouse space Concrete in Shoreditch), ‘Safe’,(Soho Theatre - Pride in London Arts Festival and London Theatre Workshop and directed by Alexis for Norwich Theatre Royal), ‘Sex/Crime’ (The Glory; alternative East- End queer venue) and the critically acclaimed self-performed solo verbatim piece on queer activism through the ages; ‘Riot Act’ (Kings Head Theatre - Queer Season Summer 2018 / Duchess Theatre - West End). To commemorate the Stonewall 50th anniversary and Pride season, ‘Riot Act’ tours the UK this summer, visiting Arcola Theatre (London), Old Joint Stock (Birmingham), Crewe Lyceum, The Marlborough (Brighton), Norwich Theatre Royal, Oldham Coliseum, Number 70 Oxford Street (pop-up venue for Manchester Pride and Superbia Fest) and The Wardrobe Theatre (Bristol).
Christie O’Carroll – Director (Locker Room Talk)
Christie is the Associate Director of Reading Rep. Credits include Ben-Hur (Reading Rep), Penguin Love (Storms on Jupiter productions) Hidden (Lyceum Theatre Company) Words, Words, Words, (Traverse Theatre Company), Alby the Penguin Saves Christmas (Associate Director - Reading Rep and Oxford Playhouse co-production), A Taste of Honey, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Assistant Director, Lyceum Theatre Company) War and Peace (Assistant Director, Scottish Opera). Her production of James Graham’s Bassett was listed as one of the best pieces of theatre in Scotland in 2011.
Christie has an extensive history as a freelance director and practitioner and oversees all outreach and education work for Reading Rep. Previously she was the Drama Artist for the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.
She was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Travelling Trust Fellowship, won the Bruce Miller Award for Directing and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Christie trained at the RSAMD (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
Annie Kershaw – Director (Safe)
Annie is the Artistic Director and co-founder of AGCS. Credits include Henry II, Romeo and Juliet (Both as Assistant Director for Reading Between the Lines), Off the Block (RBL), A Girl Called Stephen (Preview - AGCS), Alby the Penguin Saves Christmas (Directing Intern - Reading Rep), 12 (3BUGS Theatre), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (GMTG), Black Comedy (Infinity Stage Company).
Annie is also a drama facilitator and teaches in outreach workshops and LAMDA classes in Reading schools. She read Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham.
Reading Rep - Producer
Reading’s resident professional theatre combines high-class productions with ground-breaking education and community engagement to help transform Reading and the surrounding area’s cultural landscape. Reading Rep:
Produces diverse new voices on the stage. Working with new directors, new playwrights and new practitioners, we present plays from classics to new writing, revivals to musicals; producing outstanding productions of world class plays for the widest possible audience.
Nurtures diverse new voices in the classroom. Through our Creative Learning programmes we train the next generation of theatre makers: transforming arts education in the UK by placing enterprise, experience and employability at its centre.
Reaches diverse new voices in the community. Through our ENGAGE! programme we work alongside the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Reading to promote inclusion and accessibility in the arts.
A Girl Called Stephen Theatre (AGCS) - Producer
A new theatre company, based in Reading, established to promote, present and produce work written by/for/with women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Co-founders Annie Kershaw and Katie Walsh met at The University of Birmingham and decided to form the company after taking a drag cabaret style production of Twelfth Night to Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 which was received with great success. After co-founding the company early this year, they produced and crowdfunded a research and development project, also named A Girl Called Stephen, which is an adaptation of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, the first queer novel of its kind. This will be A Girl Called Stephen’s inaugural production and first co-production with Reading Rep.
Venue: Reading Studio, Reading College, King’s Road, Reading, RG1 4HJ
Dates: 2nd- 6th July 2019
Show times: Safe 2nd, 4th and 6th July at 7:30pm and Locker Room Talk 3rd and 5th July at 7:30pm and 4th July at 9pm.
Post show talks on the 2nd July (Safe) and 3rd July (Locker Room Talk)
Running Time: Safe (60 minutes) & Locker Room Talk (45 minutes)
Age Suitability: 14 +
Notices: These productions contain swearing, sexual and violent language
Prices: All tickets £9