Local theatre company Monkeywood return to the region with Flesh, a new play by Sarah McDonald Hughes based on the real experiences of young parents in Manchester. The play, opening in November, is Monkeywood's first collaboration with the Royal Exchange Theatre.
Shannon and Dylan are 16. They're in love. And they're having a baby. Flesh is a love story about growing up set in Wythenshawe, Manchester, following two young people as they become parents for the first time.
In summer 2012, Monkeywood spent hundreds of hours with young parents from across Manchester, Trafford and Salford, gathering their true stories, opinions and insights. The stories they told were surprising, moving and heart-stoppingly honest. McDonald Hughes has previously written for BBC Radio and received two Best New Play nominations at the Manchester Theatre Awards.
Monkeywood are a Manchester-based theatre company that make new plays rooted in their Mancunian community. Much of their work focuses on the experiences of young people, particularly those whose voices are unheard or misrepresented. Increasingly, they make plays with artists and their community, as with Flesh where they met with various groups of young parents. During the development of the script many of the groups attended a script in hand performance of the play at the Royal Exchange Theatre in October 2012.
Tom Cole, from Salford Young Dad's Project, spoke of their involvement, "We all thought the production was amazing and the content of the play was really true to our experience of young parents and their lives. I thought the production was really powerful and kept on thinking about it over the following few days".
Monkeywood's most recent production Once in a House on Fire, developed with The Lowry, was nominated for Best New Play in the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards and for Best Studio Performance for Sarah McDonald Hughes.
The development and tour of Flesh has been funded by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts. The tour of Flesh has also been funded by The Granada Foundation and continually supported by The Royal Exchange Theatre.
The production will open at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester from 6 - 9 November, prior to a northern tour which includes CAST, Doncaster; The Dukes, Lancaster; Action Transport Theatre at Whitby Hall, Ellesmere Port and Hull Truck Theatre; alongside schools and sixth form colleges.