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Kath Walton

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The Paper Birds announces the UK tour of Ask Me Anything, a new immersive show in which members of the multi-award-winning theatre company become agony aunts for young people. Featuring real-life verbatim stories, the show is set to the original live music from the singer-songwriter Rosie Doonan.

Opening in Newcastle on 30 January 2020, the show will be then presented in London as part of VAULT Festival before touring to Guildford, York, Birmingham, Brighton, Canterbury and Plymouth.

Known as UK’s leaders of verbatim theatre with political and social slant, The Paper Birds devised Ask Me Anything inspired by magazine’s ‘problem pages’ they read growing up in the 90s and 00s. The Company has asked young people living today in the era of mobile phones and Google to write and ask them anything. Nothing was off limits. The show, filled with The Paper Birds’ trademark mischief and mayhem, is its response.

So welcome to the 90s, era of dial-up Internet, pen pals and house phones where the Company explores the themes of cyber addition, self-expression, peer pressure, sisterhood and youth suicide, among others, using real-life verbatim stories of young people from across the UK.

Set in a teenage bedroom, Ask Me Anything features live video streaming and original live music from the celebrated singer-songwriter Rosie Doonan, BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards-nominee who performed with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Birdy and Chris Martin of Coldplay.

Ask Me Anything is for teenagers, grandparents and everyone in between who is also still figuring it all out. It’s about what we can teach the next generation and what they can teach us.

Jemma McDonnell, Co-Director of The Paper Birds said: “When we reached out and asked young people to write to us, we had no idea if any teenagers actually would! We were in equal measure thrilled and petrified when the letters began to come back in the post. What really struck us was the absolute honesty and vulnerability within the letters.

“Ask Me Anything is a celebration of this honestly and vulnerability; as well as messiness, imperfection, growth, mistakes, trials, experiments and risking it all. It is, and we are, a work-in-progress. We, like the young people who wrote to us, have not figured it all out and we are ok with that.”

“A rollercoaster of a show…If I could go back in time and bring my younger self to see one piece of theatre it would be Ask Me Anything. Brilliant.” Audience feedback from previews

The Paper Birds is a multi-award-winning devising theatre company with a vision to provoke change, one encounter at a time. It prides itself on taking complex, multi-faceted subjects and making them accessible. As story collectors, they spend time in communities, listening to personal experiences. In 2008, The Paper Birds began utilising the method of interviewing people and placing verbatim material within the script.

The company has devised and produced 12 shows to date with Ask Me Anything being the 13th, opening in Newcastle in January 2020 and then touring the UK.

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