New Play Will Put Issue Of Homelessness In The Spotlight


PARALLEL image credit: Anthony Robling

An all-female cast has been announced for a thought-provoking and innovative new play, which tours the North of England this Autumn, co-produced by Black Toffee and Harrogate Theatres.

Parallel is a darkly comic drama, which highlights the personal stories behind homelessness. The play is hugely pertinent, as the national housing crisis worsens and rough-sleeping has doubled since 2010. As well as highlighting this important social issue, Parallel also explores our broader understanding of home, purpose and charity, through the lives of three strangers, who desperately need to connect.

Anna is stranded. Beth came for a think. C just wants some kip. Three women meet by chance late at night. None of them really want to be there, yet none of them leave. It is a rare moment of stillness in a hectic modern world, bringing both solace and discomfort. With only loose change, some booze and a dodgy carrot at their disposal, will any of them find their way home?

The three women will be played by actors who will learn all three parts. A dice roll by an audience member decides which parts the actors will play at every performance. There are in effect, six different versions of the play.

Writer, Laura Lindsay, explains her reasoning behind this exciting theatrical device: “The dice roll explores the impact of chance on the outcome of our lives. It illustrates that homelessness can happen to anyone. Ultimately I wanted to emphasise that we’re all very much alike with the same needs and wants, and it is largely fortune and circumstance which determine the quality of our living situation. I also think it is really interesting for the audience to imagine the show in different combinations and reflect on why they think an actor is most suited to a certain part. We’ve had some audience members come to see the show more than once to see another combination.”

The cast are confirmed as Janet Kumah, Arabella Gibbins, and the writer herself, Laura Lindsay.

Janet Kumah has a wealth of experience across stage, TV and film, as well a strong musical background including performing in West End smash-hit, The Bodyguard.

Arabella Gibbins played the lead in the musical Poppies earlier this year, which premiered at The Space Theatre in London to wide critical acclaim. She has recently returned from performing in  a five star sell out show at the Edinburgh Fringe, with her comedy group Laughing Stock.

A graduate of Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre, writer and producer of Parallel Laura Lindsays’ acting credits include the national tour of Hidden, The Rise and Fall of Little and Emmerdale.

The production sees Laura, Black Toffee’s founder, join forces again with Director James Baker. The pair enjoyed recent success and critical acclaim with the musical Parade at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester. 

Parallel is touring five venues throughout November, playing Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester from 1 to 5 November.

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