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New play explores life on the streets for Norwich’s homeless

PUBLISHED: 17:17 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 04 September 2018

Heather Kelly, playwright, and Sophie Ings, director, of new play, 'When We Were Reliant on the State', which will be performed at The Garage, Norwich, on Wednesday (September 5)

Heather Kelly, playwright, and Sophie Ings, director, of new play, 'When We Were Reliant on the State', which will be performed at The Garage, Norwich, on Wednesday (September 5)

Archant

A local playwright was so moved by the level of homelessness in Norwich she felt compelled to pen a drama about life on the streets in the city.

Preparation for performance of the play continues at The Garage, Norwich.Preparation for performance of the play continues at The Garage, Norwich.

Noticing a group of homeless people outside the former BHS building motivated Heather Kelly, 20, to bring their stories to the stage.

It is an “issue that needs to be talked about,” Heather said.

She decided that an important part of her research would be to interview homeless people in Norwich, and spoke in particular with one woman, whose story was “very touching”.

The show, ‘When We Were Reliant on the State’, explores the life of a young girl, Becca, played by Amelia Stephanides, and the decision she has to make when living at home becomes increasingly difficult. Becca meets several influential characters who represent the various demographics that exist within the homeless community.

'When We Were Reliant on the State' will be performed at 7:30pm at The Garage, Norwich, on Wednesday (September 5)'When We Were Reliant on the State' will be performed at 7:30pm at The Garage, Norwich, on Wednesday (September 5)

The interviews were not the first time Heather had spoken with members of the homeless community. She said that you can’t always give money but it is “important people don’t ignore them”.

“Starting conversations sometimes means more than giving money,” she added.

She described an occasion when she talked with a homeless girl about the same age as her outside the train station.

The play also features the character Dave, played by Alistair Hunt. Dave, a member of the LGBT community, is a sofa-surfer who wrestles with his identity.

“It’s important that’s recognized because a lot of people from that community struggle with homelessness,” Heather said. “It is hard for them to come to terms with their identity,”

The play will be performed by Six Toes Theatre, a company based in the city, which brings together creative people in the 18-22 age group.

The company has brought in London-based director Sophie Ings to direct the play.

“Sophie has done an amazing job as director,” Heather said. It is the first time that Six Toes has worked with a director and the cast have been in rehearsals since June.

The play will be performed on Wednesday (September 5) at 7:30pm at The Garage Norwich and is for an audience of over 16 years old.

To book tickets, log onto http://www.thegarage.org.uk/whats-on or call the Theatre Royal box office on 01603 630000.

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