It strikes me there has been a shift in recent years when it comes to drama for young people.
We have brilliant companies across the North making great work for children, and theatres who are committed to making great work with young adults. Hull Truck this week, for example.
The Dickens novel Our Mutual Friend being adapted by one of Britain’s leading playwrights, Bryony Lavery, is a classy sounding project. The fact that it is being performed by young people between 11 and 18 years old might, in the past, have suggested a lowering of the bar. Not so these days. Not only is this a full production on the theatre’s main stage – it’s a world premiere.
Lavery says she’s surprised it hasn’t been adapted previously.
“It is such a good story with attractive, memorable characters. It’s really relevant today because it’s about the Haves and Have-nots, money, love, how to behave towards one’s fellow human beings if you want to ﬁnd true happiness,” she says. “I feel very excited and blessed that I get to do it first with a cast of over fifty brilliant young actors.” Far from having to compromise when writing for young people, Lavery finds the process if anything more freeing. “Plays for young people are the area of theatre where a playwright can write for a very large cast. And, writing speciﬁcally for young people encourages us all to think about their sensibilities, their moral dilemmas, the very particular emotions and anxieties that shape their lives.”
To August 26.