Two productions are coming to HOME Manchester, The Jumper Factory, presented by The Young Vic (Tue 10 – Sat 14 Sept), and Red Dust Road presented by HOME and National Theatre Scotland (Wed 11 – Sat 21 Sept).
Following a run at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival and short tour of Scotland, the world premiere stage adaptation of National Poet of Scotland Jackie Kay’s acclaimed memoir Red Dust Road, a co-production between HOME Manchester and National Theatre Scotland, plays at HOME, Wednesday 11 – Saturday 21 September 2019.
Adapted for the stage by writer Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, founder and outgoing Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre, Red Dust Road is a personal and moving account of Jackie’s search for her birth parents, which took her from the quiet seaside town of Nairn in Scotland to bustling Lagos in Nigeria.
From the moment when, as a little girl growing up in 1960s and 1970s Scotland, Jackie realises that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents – her Highland mother and Nigerian father – the journey in Red Dust Road is one of unexpected twists, turns, and deep emotions, and comes complete with specially composed music from Tayo Akinbode.
Red Dust Road was first published in 2010, and was immediately hailed for its warmth and candour, winning the Scottish Book of the Year Award in the following year. Navigating the challenges of growing up as a mixed-race adopted Scot brought up by communist parents, Jackie discovers that inheritance is about much more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells, and that what triumphs, ultimately, is love.
The role of Jackie Kay will be played by acclaimed stage and screen actor Sasha Frost, who trained at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts; legendary Scottish actress and comedian Elaine C Smith, known to millions as Mary Doll, the long-suffering wife of Rab C Nesbitt in the cult BBC comedy, and Lewis Howden play Jackie’s adoptive parents, Helen and John; Stefan Adegbola plays Jonathan, Jackie’s birth-father, and Irene Allan takes the role of Elizabeth, her birth-mother.
The nine-strong cast, who altogether play almost 30 different characters, is completed by Simone Cornelius, Elicia Daly, Seroca Davis, and Declan Spaine.
The creative team is completed by Simon Kenny (design), Tayo Akinbode (composer), Richard Hammarton (sound design), Vicki Igbowe (movement director), and Lizzie Powell (lighting design).
In 2017, Young Vic Taking Part took the Young Vic’s production of The Brothers Size, by Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, into HMP Wandsworth. The workshops led by Liverpool-born playwright Luke Barnes and director Justin Audibert which followed resulted in a brand-new piece of theatre – The Jumper Factory – developed with eight Wandsworth prisoners.
Exploring universal themes such as family, masculinity and redemption, the show told the prisoners’ stories of their experience behind bars, and the resilience they needed to face a world that moves on without them. Following the run at HMP
Wandsworth, the show went on to a UK tour, including a sell-out run at the Young Vic in London. Two years on, a new production is coming to HOME in Manchester with two new cast members joining four of the original company.
Joe Haddad and Rasaq Kukoyi join original members Ayomide Adegun, Jake Mills, Pierre Moullier and Raphael Gwilliams-Akuwudike – all of whom have experience of the criminal justice system, and all of whom have little or no professional acting experience – in a production which will be staged for prisoners in HMP Brixton and HMP Wandsworth in early September, before playing at HOME Manchester between Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 September.
Two of the original cast, Rushand Chambers and Tej Obano, have gone on to further professional work – Rushand Chambers is in the UK touring cast of Disney’s The Lion King, whilst Tej Obano was cast in David Hare’s The Permanent Way at the Vaults in London.
The Jumper Factory was conceived by Young Vic Taking Part and Justin Audibert, written by Luke Barnes and directed by Josh Parr, with sound design by Mike Winship, lighting design by Jess Glaisher, and costume design by Catherine Kodicek.