Live Theatre’s two-week Different Stages Festival is a series of events and workshops celebrating the best of British new writing.

 

Presented as part of the Festival, Facts on the Ground is a work-in-progress by Steve Gilroy.

 

The subject is a powerful one – the repercussions of the Wall built in 2003 between Israel and the Palestine Territories. Cutting deep in to the West Bank lands, this ‘security fence’ has had a devastating impact on the Palestinian agricultural economy – the backbone of which is olive oil. Farmers have been left cut off from their lands, unable to harvest their groves.

 

As with Gilroy’s last play, Motherland, this is verbatim theatre – it is based on interviews with those who live with the Wall on their doorstep.

 

I knew very little about the play’s subject matter as I took my seat, but the stories and characters are immediately humanised when you know you are hearing the real words of real people.

 

It is difficult to say too much as this is an ongoing work-in-progress, but the ensemble of eight all give good performances. The subject is a interesting and compelling one, and based on this showcase Facts on the Ground has strong potential.