NOVAE Theatre Presents DON'T LOOK AWAY
Inspired by her family becoming involved in hosting asylum seekers in their homes and Rob Lawrie, the former soldier arrested at the Calais border trying to smuggle a child refugee in his van, writer Grace Chapman started developing Don't Look Away in 2017, the same year it was longlisted for the Papatango playwriting award. Through further development the play now makes its production debut in this small UK tour, culminating in a run as part of the Pleasance Islington's flagship new writing season.
2015. Bradford. Adnan, a young asylum seeker, enters a community center covered in flour & asking for help. He finds Cath, a middle-aged cleaner, who reluctantly lets him stay in her son's empty bedroom. A split-second decision which will change her life forever. Cath becomes increasingly entangled in Adnan's asylum claim and, as her frustrations rise, so does her desire to take action, until her estranged son Jamie returns home and wants his room back. Determined to give both Jamie and Adnan a home Cath's house becomes a microcosm of British society, where there isn't enough to go around, and blame is quickly passed.
Don't Look Away shifts focus away from the government's response to the international refugee crisis to our individual power to make a difference; a powerful, timely production exploring the impact of the UK's 'hostile environment' on those who witness it.
Playwright Grace Chapman said, "This play is incredibly pertinent to me both on a personal and political level. Having witnessed first-hand the vacuum of support created by the UK's 'hostile environment', I was inspired to tell the story of those individuals, including my family, striving to rectify this."
NOVAE theatre is the sister company of internationally successful Idle Motion, resident ensemble at the New Diorama Theatre and Artistic Associates at The Lowry and Oxford Playhouse. Previous shows under Idle Motion include Shooting With Light, Borges and I and Voyager. NOVAE theatre launched in 2018 with It's Not A Sprint at the Edinburgh Fringe (also appearing at Vault festival 2019). They produce female led new work inventive in its form and astonishing in its delivery.
Grace Chapman is Co-Artistic Director of NOVAE theatre and Idle Motion. Nominated for the Adopt A Playwright Award 2018, her short plays include Beneath The Weeds (The Lion & Unicorn Theatre, 2017) The Barricade (Theatre503 Rapid Write Response, 2017), It's Not A Sprint (The One Festival at the Space, 2018) and Fixture (VAULTS Theatre, 2018). Full length plays include The Acceptance Speech (Longlisted for the Bread & Roses Playwriting Award, 2016) and Don't Look Away. Grace is currently the Theatre Manager at the Space, supporting artists and engaging audiences, whilst carving her career as a professional playwright.
Nicholas Pitt is a director and theatre maker based in London. He works with writers, theatre makers and musicians to produce work that celebrates live performance, and probes the social and political moment we find ourselves in. Nicholas was a creative associate with Idle Motion and with them produced several shows performed at the New Diorama (The Vanishing Horizon, That is All You Need to Know, Borges & I, Shooting with Light and Voyager). In 2018 he directed Dario Fo's Mistero Buffo for Rhum and Clay at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (where it won a Stage award) and Arcola Theatre.
Dan Canham is a contemporary performance-maker and choreographer. Through his company, Still House, he makes socially engaged and visually poetic work that includes dance-theatre, film and installation. At the National Theatre Dan collaborated with Sally Cookson on Jane Eyre, as well as Peter Pan and A Matter of Life and Death. Dan has previously worked as a performer for Kneehigh Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre, Punchdrunk and is considered "One of the most original talents around." The Independent.
16 - 17 April 2019
Cornerstone Arts Centre, Oxfordshire
25 Station Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 7NE
7.30pm | £12.50, conc £10.50. under 26s £5
www.cornerstone-arts.org | 01235 515144
7 - 18 May
Carpenters Mews, North Rd, London N7 9EF
8pm Tues-Sat, 6pm Sunday, 3.30pm Sat matinee | £16 (£14 conc)
www.pleasance.co.uk | 020 7609 1800