Written by playwright Stephanie Dale, writer of the highly-acclaimed 2013 production of the Chester Mystery Plays, and directed by Kate McGregor – whose recent work includes Moira Buffini’s critically acclaimed Gabrielle, starring Paul McGann – The Lost Boy is a groundbreaking project that addresses the changing communities of Britain, and how our society is adapting.
It is a story of innocence, of fear of the unknown and ultimately a magical story of acceptance.
Kate directs a cast of four professional actors alongside a diverse community chorus recruited from across Chester.
The project has been in development for over a year and has involved consultation with young people across Chester and Manchester who have shared their varied views and opinions on asylum seekers and refugees.
Funded by the Arts Council, a major part of the educational offer for The Lost Boy is a series of educational workshops, led by practitioner Gav Cross; they are currently being run across Cheshire.
Theatre in the Quarter is also touring secondary schools, offering in-depth workshops to teenagers based around the subject, preparing them to see the piece.
The workshops include a film that highlights the difficulties that many refugees and asylum seekers face, and once again will incorporate footage from the two young asylum seekers that Theatre in the Quarter has been working with.
Business manager for Theatre in the Quarter, Erin Elston, said: “The response to our workshops has been overwhelming, resulting in almost immediate booking of schools groups to see a performance of The Lost Boy. This clearly demonstrates there is a real appetite for schools to want to open up discussions around British values and what living in Britain means to them.”
Megan Brocklehurst, also from Ellesmere Port, said: “The best thing about the workshop is that it brings light to the real truth of what is happening in the world, and it’s something we are not shown through the media.”
Composer Matt Baker said: “It has been a total thrill to develop the music for the play with the actors, chorus and musicians this week. Their voices are quite astonishing.”
The music has already been shared a part of an informal public reading of Stephanie Dale’s script this week.
Working in collaboration with a frontline charity has been vital in bringing this project to fruition. Theatre in the Quarter has partnered with City of Sanctuary, a national charity that supports people who are escaping persecution, torture or warfare in their own countries.
The theatre company has also worked alongside two young asylum seekers, hearing their first-hand accounts of fleeing their own countries and how they have coped with their new lives in the UK.
Excerpts from their personal accounts will be used in the stage show. Jeff Morgan, trustee from the City of Sanctuary, will be giving a pre-show talk about the experiences faced by asylum seekers and refugees at 6.30pm on April 25.
The play runs from April 21-May 7 at St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester.
Images by Neil Kendall