Theatre News

James Graham to adapt Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Blackstuff for the stage

The show opens next autumn

James Graham
James Graham
© Dan Wooller

James Graham will adapt Alan Bleasdale's seminal TV series Boys From The Blackstuff for the stage, it has been announced.

Set in '80s Liverpool, the piece follows five men trying to make ends meet while job opportunities are scarce. Stockroom and Liverpool's Royal Court will produce the show (directed by Kate Wasserberg), which will run at the Royal Court from 15 September to 28 October 2023.

Graham recently received critical acclaim for his new thriller series Sherwood, exploring the legacy of mining communities in Nottinghamshire. He said today: "Alan Bleasdale is one of the reasons I became a writer. Watching his work as I was growing up, hearing those voices and seeing those worlds, meant a lot to someone from my background. I could never have dared dream that years later I would be working with him, and on his most famous, heartbreaking, hilarious masterpiece.

"But Alan is the most generous and supportive of collaborators and it's been one of the honours of my writing life thus far to work on this show."

Beasdale added: "Almost all of my stage plays are set in one location and using real time. The one attempt I made to use multiple characters and multiple sets and the passage of time was a disaster. So, when the idea of the stage version of the series was suggested with James Graham as the writer I just thought: I don't know how to do it. But James does.

"While I'm pleased that the work is still well regarded, the biggest sadness for me is that in the forty years since I wrote The Boys from the Blackstuff we might have hoped that things would get better. But they haven't. Have they?"

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