The Viaduct rooms have been filled with rhythm, percussion, and vocal muscle since last Monday – and it’s flippin’ exciting!!!


Every spirit in this company came through the doors with a huge helping of honesty, heart and generosity on day 1:  and spirit seems to be at the very core of our whole project.

Deb’s adaptation is full.  Not a breath nor a caesura is going amiss.  Conrad is always encouraging us to reach for the clarity in every line and quite literally the music of one thought to the next.  Why do these people need each other, is a question we are asking?  What is the pull of each relationship. What is their destiny, will they change, will they remain the same…?

There is a spirit that I’ve been feeling that reaches beyond our underground den and into the wider community.  I always, always love working in Midlands and Northern cities because there is so much heart among the people I am lucky enough to meet.

But over the last couple of weeks I have felt an unrest, particularly in the younger people.  An unrest that I’m sure is not confined to this area, alone.

Myself and several passengers had to discreetly whip ourselves off a late train last weekend, due to two young men – (with a very distraught young woman caught in the middle) – threatening to bottle each other.  Waiting for a taxi to take me the rest of my journey home, another 3 young men were darting in and out of the road, letting out shouts, then going quiet, then darting into the road again.  A person under the train last night.  A car crash on the way home tonight.

There is an energy.  An energy that is not being channelled or taken care of and most importantly, not being listened to.  Young people are full of life and need and hormones and dreams which can turn destructive, if not looked to, nurtured and channelled.

Dare I be audacious enough to suggest that the arts offer precisely this level of positive focus:  and yet, we are consistently having funding slashed, so we cannot reach as many of these young people who might benefit from the positive discipline that the arts or sports or hands on apprenticeships can offer.

Last Saturday, I spent 2.5 hours watching men and women climbing, dancing, playing, stage fighting, story-telling, singing on stage and dazzling an audience with their terrifically channelled skills and energy.

It broke my heart that on the way home, that evening, I witnessed young men and a young woman, with just as much life and promise, turn destructive.

We have an education project running alongside our production of Hard Times.  Never has it been more important for actors and facilitators to come together and reach out – beyond the auditorium and into the real world…

Suzanne Ahmet