London 1986 - London is in the midst of a housing crisis. Homes stand empty while homelessness soars. Close-knit communities are destroyed for profit. Tory councils are accused of 'social cleansing' as families are evicted and forced to move far away or into unsafe flats, whilst affordable homes are sold as investment properties. Fast-forward thirty years. Staged in newly opened The Playground Theatre, barely a stone's throw from Grenfell Tower, Shirleymander tells the story of the central London Council, which, thirty years ago, was at the centre of a major scandal. Westminster Council, under Porter's controlling bullying, autocratic style, her boundless energy and vast wealth, was led it into a mire of paranoia, fear and skullduggery as it pursued, secret, illegal policies that destroyed communities, reputations, lives, hopes... and finally Porter herself. Exploring the perennial themes of greed, ambition and the normalisation of corruption, Shirleymandering is a shocking, funny and often times moving reminder of how it is the weakest who bear the brunt when institutional wrong-doing takes control.
First presented as a radio play in 2009 and inspired by BBC journalist Andrew Hosken's book Nothing Like A Dame, Gregory Evans' comedy drama will receive it's stage premiere at The Playground Theatre from May 22 to June 16 2018. The production is timed to coincide with the first anniversary of The Grenfell Tower fire.