ARC Stockton Arts Centre

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Has society lost its humanity? ARC Cultural Shift production Another England is set for the stage next week

Cultural Shift, playwright and director Vici Wreford-Sinnott has produced a new topical and powerful show which will be performed next Thursday. 

Set in 2022, the ARC Stockton production, which has been created through the Cultural Shift programme, will look at a rarely seen portrayal of England through the eyes of two disabled characters, and Vici plans to take her audience on an adventure into a whole other dimension of lived experience in austerity Britain.

Murphy and Rat are unlikely companions. Murphy is a 55 year old veteran of the welfare state: a cantankerous grouch, filled with the pessimism of humanity. Rat is a young woman driven by a passionate belief in people, in their capacity for empathy. Both are disabled people with a rich sense of their own belonging, although on opposite sides of the same coin.

In this dark lively piece, Rat and Murphy find themselves being erased, scratched out, invalid, told they don’t actually exist, and their worth as citizens is questioned. Forced together, the pair must find common ground to survive but the clock is very much against them.

Vici, who has carved a successful career creating and touring internationally renowned ground-breaking theatre said: “In a rapidly changing England, which appears to be having a bit of an identity crisis, I have responded with a play from the perspective of disabled people trying to navigate their way through a stressful and obstacle laden maze.

“Murphy and Rat, two people who might normally go to the ends of the earth to avoid each other, find themselves thrown together by circumstance, but once we scratch the surface, we realise they may have more in common than they first think.”

Vici is interested in the power of the arts to bring about change, believing they are a bridge to understanding. She has always championed disability equality and challenged discrimination and prejudice in her work. Her new play is supported by ARC’s Cultural Shift programme funded by the Spirit of 2012, which is creating increased and improved opportunities for disabled people to get involved in the arts.

The programme aims to challenge commonly held perceptions of disability and disabled people and also to increase opportunities for disabled people to take part in the arts.

Another England will take place on Thursday 18 May at 7pm. Tickets are Pay What You Decide and can be booked in advance here, in person or by calling our Box Office on 01642 525199.