Black Toffee’s Collaboration With Acclaimed Director James Baker
A thought-provoking and innovative new play which highlights the personal stories behind homelessness is to tour the North this autumn.
Anna is stranded. Beth came for a think. C just wants some kip. Three women meet by chance late at night. None of them really want to be there, yet none of them leave. It is a rare moment of stillness in a hectic modern world, bringing both solace and discomfort. With only loose change, some booze and a dodgy carrot at their disposal, will any of them find their way home?
Parallel is a darkly comic drama from Black Toffee, which sees writer and producer Laura Lindsay join forces again with director James Baker. The pair enjoyed recent success and critical acclaim with the musical, Parade, at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester. Their previous productions together also include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which won a Manchester Theatre Award earlier this year.
This creative collaboration will see Parallel tour five venues throughout November, playing Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester from 1 to 5 November. It will then head to ARC in Stockton (9 November); Derby Theatre (11 November); Lincoln Drill Hall (17-19 November); before concluding at Square Chapel in Halifax (24 November).
Parallel explores our understanding of home, purpose and charity. The play has been developed with Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, and Harrogate Homeless Project. It is co-produced by Harrogate Theatre, where the production enjoyed a successful run in March this year. Writer and producer Laura Lindsay has conducted weeks of research including interviewing charity staff and service users. She has attended participation sessions to gain a real insight and hear stories of those affected first hand by homelessness.
The play features an all-female cast who rotate roles within the production. One of the most innovative aspects of Parallel is the part each actor plays each night is determined by a dice roll by the audience. Laura added: “The dice roll explores the impact of chance on the outcome of our lives and illustrates that homelessness really can happen to anyone. But the point is, we should care that it happens to anyone, not just that it could be us, or someone like us.”
Laura was keen to write a piece of theatre which centred on women, but where the story and themes are not about them being female. Laura explains: “I am keen to address the gender imbalance in theatre and I think one way to do this is to tell stories which feature women but where their gender is not a central theme. The story is about the universality of the human experience. I think anyone who has felt lost in their life will be able to relate to the characters.”
Laura explains her vision behind writing Parallel: “I have always felt whole-heartedly moved, yet utterly powerless about the homeless situation in the UK. I wanted to tell the human stories behind the ubiquitous and anonymous presence on the streets, and the hidden homeless we don’t see.”
Black Toffee also made Hidden, which enjoyed a critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013, followed by a national tour and London run in 2014. Black Toffee was formed by Laura in 2013, with the aim of producing high quality theatre and film which reflects modern society, resonates with ordinary people and has a dark sense of humour.
Parallel is directed by James Baker, a prolific and well respected director in the Manchester independent theatre scene (Little Shop of Horrors, Spring Awakening and The Last Five Years). James has recently enjoyed sell out success with the Tony Award winning musical, Parade.
1-5 November 2016
Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
1 November – Previews
2 November – Press Night
9 November 2016
11 November 2016
17-19 November 2016
Lincoln Drill Hall
24 November 2016
Square Chapel, Halifax
For more information, images, interview or review requests, please contact:
Bill Elms at Bill Elms Associates on 0151 245 0136 | firstname.lastname@example.org