By Alex Wheatle
The key thing about this production is the exciting co-production model through which it is being developed: During lockdown, Plus One (our programme with young people in care) ran an online book club looking at the book Home Girl by Alex Wheatle. The award-winning author himself joined the group each week,which led to some fantastically rich conversation about the experience of growing up in care. Home Girl is now being made into an adaptation for the main stage at Derby Theatre in July ’21.
The Plus One group were able to present their ideas to prospective writers and then help select them based on the writers’ responses to their ideas. Two black playwrights have been recruited by the group to adapt the novel into a script; one of these writers is also care experienced. In addition to this, the two adults are working with a young writer of colour. She is 17 years old. In 2021, an additional group of young people who face socio economic barriers will be recruited, some to deliver the production elements and others as performers. They will be mentored by professional designers and creatives to enable them to lead on all aspects of the production. Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre’s CEO and Artistic Director will direct the show with an acting company of young and professional performers.
The story explores the experience of living in care and when Naomi, a fourteen-year-old white girl, is placed with a black foster care family, her life takes some dramatic twists and turns. It is a story which sheds a much-needed light on the care system and what can be an unsettling life — and the consequences that follow when children are treated like pawns on a family chessboard. Our Plus One group will continue as creative consultants on the piece throughout.
Premiere: 21 July 2021
The cast will be a mixture of professionals and young people