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Julie Hesmondhalgh to read Lemn Sissay's The Report at the Royal Court

The Report documents a five-hour psychological assessment that Sissay underwent as part of legal proceedings

Lemn Sissay and Julie Hesmondhalgh
© Hamish Brown /Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Playwright, poet and novelist Lemn Sissay' The Report will be staged in a one-off performance at the Royal Court.

The Report will be directed by John E McGrath and documents a five-hour psychological assessment that Sissay underwent as part of legal proceedings when he claimed abuse by the care system.

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh will read the piece which is a result of Sissay taking social services to court after he was brought up in care. Every time a person claims abuse by the social services system, a report of this nature is written.

Ahead of Sissay turning 50 he will listen to the report, which was created after he spoke to a lawyer for five hours in Leeds, for the first time live on stage. It begins at 6pm on Sunday 30 April.

On his blog in March, Sissay said: "A few weeks ago I sat down in a beige interview room in the legal district of Leeds City Centre. I thought it was going to be easy. The man sat behind the table opposite me had been appointed by my lawyer. He was neither friendly ‘we're going to be five hours at least' or unfriendly ‘There's a lot to get through.'

"He clicked his ballpoint pen and the psychological interrogation of my life began. Mid way through the interview I broke down. This week I received the report via my lawyer. He said it brought him to tears. I've decided to listen to it for the first time on stage, supported by an audience."

Sissay's work includes the Landmark poems, which can be seen throughout Manchester and London. He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics and his installation poem "what if" was exhibited at the Royal Academy alongside work by Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley.

Proceeds from the performance will go towards the set up of the Lemn Sissay Foundation.

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