WITH Margaret Thatcher very much back in the public eye with this week’s release of Meryl Streep movie The Iron Lady, a new play which will start touring the region next month is being played out under the former Prime Minister’s shadow.
Swags & Tails, presented by Open Clasp Theatre Company, is set on the imagined date of Thatcher’s death and against the backdrop of austerity and cuts.
The play is the result of Generation XX, a project run by the community theatre company, which, since last April, has involved 155 older women from the region who either live or work in care homes, are carers for loved ones, use day centres or are housebound.
In a series of drama workshops, each group of women created a character to tell a story of her experience and Swags & Tails highlights the care, or lack of it, of older people and carers in society.
Characters include Ellen and Marlene who are faced with the closure of their day centre; Gloria, who lives in a dementia unit; Mary, a care worker; and housebound Lillian who has nothing but eight bottles of gin in her room for company.
Swags & Tails, which is suitable for ages 11-plus, has a series of dates for February and March lined up across the region, some with accompanying drama workshops.
Next month’s dates include Brandling Hall Community Centre, Gateshead, on February 6 at 6.30pm and February 7 at 1pm (call 0191 421 4515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets); Arts Centre Washington on February 9 at 7.30pm (call 0191 219 3455 or visit www.artscentrewashington.co.uk); Blackfriars Hall, Newcastle, on February 14 at 1.30pm (call 0191 233 0200); Brittan Hall, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, on February 16 at 6.30pm (call 01642 738 233 or email email@example.com); Daisy Hill Youth Centre, Newcastle, on February 17 at 6pm (call 07855 827 921); and The Customs House, South Shields, on February 24 at 8pm (call 0191 454 1234).
For more details and for March’s dates which will be for Hartlepool, Chester-le-Street, Newcastle, Longbenton, Whitley Bay, Seahouses, Alnwick, Darlington, and Cumbria, visit the theatre company’s website at www.openclasp.org.uk