Safe

Soho Theatre / London Theatre Workshop / Norwich Theatre Royal / Reading Rep / Digital (in partnership with Hackney Empire).

 

‘I was born female. I was four years old and convinced there had been a mistake and I was going to grow up to become and a boy and everything would become right’.

 

‘We woke up early to pray and there was conversation about sending me back to Africa. They asked a friend to take me there and do it; to cure me’.

 

‘I’m an alcoholic and when I drink I can’t stop. I’ve been going to AA for a year. I’m twenty years old. I’ll be twenty one in November’.

 

‘I was thirteen years old. My mum said ‘are you gay?’. I said ‘yeah’ and she punched me in the face. I cried my eyes out, left the house, ran away and didn't come back for a week’

 

A verbatim theatre piece exploring the untold stories of the UK’s homeless and at risk LGBT youth. 25% of homeless and at risk young people identify as LGBT.

 

Via the Albert Kennedy Trust, I interviewed four young service users. The result is a cross-platform theatre piece combining the young people's interweaving verbatim testimonies with live music, video projections and spoken-word written especially for ‘Safe’ by Yrsa Daley Ward (Beyoncé’s ‘Black Is King’, ‘Bone’, ‘The Terrible’).

 

These are untold stories of sexuality, gender, identity, childhood, family, religion, class,  race, addiction and the ‘system’. ‘Safe’ is also a celebration of queer survival; a hard-hitting, but humour-filled, exploration of what it means to feel truly safe in todays world.

 

The ‘Safe’ play text is published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

 

For further information on The Albert Kennedy Trust please go to www.akt.org.uk

 

2015

Soho Theatre.

A sell out performance as part of the Pride in London Arts Festival.

Directed by Robert Chevara.

Cast:

Nelsey Casallas.

Jennifer Daley.

Urbain Hayo.

Emma White.

Live music by Kamali Franklin.

2016

London Theatre Workshop in Leadenhall Market.

A sell-out run, directed by Robert Chevara with the cast led by ‘Eastender’s Riley Carter-Millington, the first trans man to play a regular trans character in a UK soap.

Cast:

Laura Jayne Ayres.

Riley Carter Millington.

Michael Fatogun.

Kit Redstone.

Live music by Rudi Douglas / Tori Martin Allen.

 

Each evening, I curated a series of post show talks and Q&A’s, exploring topics and issues raised by the play. Themes included the AKT’s work, LGBTQ+ on-stage representation, and the reconciliation of ones faith and their queerness. Alongside the cast and creative team and representatives from the AKT, post-show guests included Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE, Peter Darney, Cliff Joannou, Rubyyy Jones, Cynthia Kahill, Shaan Knan, Matthew Todd.

 

Funded by Arts Council England.

Media partnered with Attitude Magazine.

 

2017

Norwich Theatre Royal

I directed ‘Safe’ as part of the theatres inaugural ‘Creative Matters’ season on gender and sexuality.The production was cast with local professional actors.

Cast:

Nelson T Gombakomba Jr.

Alistair Hall.

Shaun McKay.

Fizz Waller.

Live music: Poppy Read.

Produced by Norwich Theatre Royal.

 

2019

Reading Rep.

Directed by Annie Kershaw

Cast:

Joshua Asare.

Sasha Clarke.

Elijah Ferreira.

Emily Joh Miller.

Produced by Reading Rep / A Girl Called Stephen Theatre

 

Funded by Arts Council England.

 

2021

‘Safe’ online.

Directed by Alexis Gregory.

 

A digital version of ‘Safe’.
In partnership with and filmed at Hackney Empire.
Available to watch free of charge.
Performed by an out-LGBTQ+ cast.
For the ‘Virtual Launch’ of this digital ‘reimagining’ of the piece, I hosted an online post-show launch event with the ‘Safe’ cast, Rikki Beadle-Blair, Ben Hunte (BBC LGBT correspondent) and Tim Sigsworth MBE (AKT Chief Executive).
The trailer, full piece, and production photos are available to view here.

 

Cast:

Elijah Ferreira.

Taofique Folarin.

May Kelly.

Mary Malone.

Live music: LaMont.

 

Directors of photography and post-production: Mann Bros. Media
Lighting design: Mike Robertson
Production sound: James de Taranto
Production electrician: Adam Mottley
Make-up: Victoria Winfield
PR: Kevin Wilson Public Realtions
Poster photography and design: Steve Kraitt
Production photography: Jane Hobson
Production / digital associate: Reuben Cook
Produced by Alexis Gregory


In partnership with Hackney Empire.
Supported by Park Theatre.
Funded by Arts Council England.
Presented in association with HE Creative Futures.

Additional 'Safe' London Theater Workshop Credits:

Lighting design: Nao Nagai

Stage Management: Marie Costa

Make-up: Victoria Winfield

LTW poster photography and design / cast portrait: Yanny Tokyo

Production photography: Jane Hobson

Rehearsal photography: Sarah Hickson

PR: Kevin Wilson PR / Jack Cullen

Co-produced with: Skye Crawford for London Theater Workshop

 

‘Safe’ Soho Theatre / London Theatre Workshop / Digital produced by Alexis Gregory.

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Reviews for the London Theatre Workshop of ‘Safe’ include:

 

‘Energetic, moving, powerfully constructed…written by renowned playwright Alexis Gregory; a talented, deft and compassionate writer….Chevara nurtured an exceptional cast into making Gregory’s text sizzle with electricity…an important and unflinching exploration of an issue that should shame our society to its core….highly recommended’.

Attitude

 

‘Gregory's artful editing splices together each tale with a showman's eye for dramatic structure….Chevara tempers the brutal stories with deeply sympathetic direction, reflected in the honesty and integrity of the performances…entertaining and enlightening…deftly demonstrates the power and versatility of verbatim theatre…a compelling testament of abuse, resilience and ultimately hope’.

The Stage

 

‘The cast give good solid performances…thoughtful, believable and holds your attention…drawing attention to the complicated difficulties of LGBT youth driven into homelessness’.

British Theatre Guide

 

‘Each story grabs the audience…Chevara brings out the honesty in each performance, no frills or fancy artistic devices, but four chairs and four highly emotive stories….as ‘Safe’ progresses it becomes a catharsis….an honest, open piece’.

The Reviews Hub

 

‘The actors speak directly to the audience with beautifully understated appreciation for the story they have each been given…the intimate, conversational setting allows us to connect wholeheartedly with their journeys….Gregory’s script is fantastically pieced together…a fantastic piece of political theatre which challenges the notion of Britain as a progressive country’

West End Wilma

 

‘Safe’s theatrical style is barely seen other than on a much larger scale….Alexis Gregory has provided an insightful documentary with entertainment.…it most certainly evokes a response…a strong piece that speaks about the vulnerable youth in towns around the UK’.

livetheatre.co.uk

 

‘A powerful, thought-provoking insight into untold lives…Alexis Gregory brings us four starkly honest stories, woven together to form their own unifying narrative…a sobering reflection of how far there is still to go…it’s refreshing to see a narrative that acknowledges that complex problems don’t have simple solutions’.

Cairns Theatre Passion

 

‘The stories are a mix of pathos, humour and horror. ..a strong cast are gifted a beautiful script…troubling and painful as the stories can be there’s ultimately something redemptive about them too….a performance worth catching….pitch perfect’.

The Gay UK

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