Plain Jane is a new play which has been developed in association with the Royal Exchange and Cheap Seats Theatre, and offers an unflinching and at times brutal portrait of bullying at a girl's boarding school. It opens next week, and here, writer Alistair McDowall gives us his five reasons why you should go along.


1. The Theme
The theme of victimisation at school might seem well-trodden ground, but the play pulls no punches and takes a very different approach to the subject matter. The pitch-black humour and rhythmic, staccato dialogue recall early Neil LaBute and David Mamet. But in a girl's boarding school.

2. The Director
Clive Judd has recently served as assistant director on Simon Stephens' Punk Rock and as a core part of the Cheap Seats company has directed two previous pieces by McDowall: the award-winning 5:30 and one of the four monologues that made up the intense and acclaimed Some Stories.

3. Past Success
Previous productions from Cheap Seats have been showered with praise and awards. 5:30 was nominated for Best New Play and Best Fringe Production at the Manchester Evening News Awards last year, and was given four stars by What's On Stage and 5 by the MEN’s City Life.

4. The Company
Cheap Seats are fast becoming one of England's most celebrated young companies, and the core team of McDowall, Judd, and producer Lucy Oliver-Harrison have built a reputation on staging carefully crafted, theatrically literate shows that consistently garner praise from audiences and critics alike. They're known for strong stories and characters, and for taking their responsibilities to audiences seriously, promising everyone an engaging and compelling night at the theatre.

5. The Theatre
The Royal Exchange has a great reputation and is a striking building. What's more you can grab a coffee or a drink from the bar before hand and relax before you take in the play.


Plain Jane runs at the Royal Exchange from 19 - 23 October.