Out of Joint Stages Bradford Double at SohoDate: 26 October 2000
The acclaimed touring company, Out of Joint, will present a double bill of Bradford-based plays at the Soho Theatre this December. Max Stafford-Clark directs the revival of Andrea Dunbar's comic classic, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, along with a new work by Robin Soans, A State Affair, which takes a candid look at life on Britain's estates over the last 20 years. The double bill opens on 6 December 2000, following previews from 5 December, and continues until 13 January, with a break over the Christmas period from 17 through 26 December.
Written in 1982, Rita, Sue and Bob Too captured the mood of the early years of Thatcher Britain with its portrayal of two schoolgirls growing up on a Bradford council estate who start an affair with a married man for whom they babysit. The play reveals the grim yet frequently hilarious realities of life on an estate in the 1980s. The original production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too was commissioned and directed by Stafford-Clark at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982.
Dunbar wrote the play when she was only 18, basing it on her own experiences growing up on the Buttershaw council estate in Bradford. The play was later made into a film, released in 1987. Despite her successes, Dunbar continued to live on the estate and write about the working class people around her. In 1990, at the age of 29, Dunbar collapsed in her local pub and later died in hospital of a brain haemorrhage.
During July of this year, Stafford-Clark and members of the Out of Joint company went back to the estates around Bradford and Leeds where Dunbar grew up. They gathered stories not only from the people living there but also from the infantry of care workers including policemen, vicars, midwives, drugs rehabilitation officers, probation officers, health visitors and teachers dealing with the problems created by local poverty, crime and addiction. A State Affair, written by Robin Soans, represents a record of what the company found.
Rita, Sue and Bob Too and A State Affair is performed by Emily Aston, Ian Redford, Sally Rogers, Emma Rydal, Matthew Wait, Gary Whitaker and Jane Wood. Both are designed by Ed Devlin with lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Frank Bradley.
Stafford-Clark founded Out of Joint in 1993 in order to generate new writing for the stage and to tour this work nationally and internationally. Since then, Out of Joint's multi award-winning productions have included Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and F***ing, Sue Townsend's The Queen and I, Caryl Churchill's Blue Heart, Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good and Sebastian Barry's Our Lady of Sligo.