Arts > Citizenship: see Exposure’s actors at the artsdepot

Posted on April 21, 2016

Bella Graham at the head of our ensemble. Photo by Cassiah Joski-Jethi

Bella Graham at the head of our ensemble. Photo by Cassiah Joski-Jethi

Eleanor Hardy on what might be your last chance to see this extraordinary production
Do you remember what you were doing at around 8:30pm on Saturday 2nd April? If you were anywhere near Highgate Tube Station, you’ll have a very good idea of what we were up to at that time. The applause that Exposure’s young actors were receiving in Jacksons Lane was so rapturous, it surely must have been heard from miles around!

Unless you were in the auditorium itself, though, you wouldn’t have seen the standing ovation so enthusiastically given by our audience. These were not only family and friends, but young, old and everywhere-in-between members of the general public – and even two professional theatre directors.

This was our ‘home’ performance of Exposure’s offering to the National Theatre Connections festival of plays for young actors, which we have been working on in association with Jacksons Lane this year. Earlier that week, the cast had also performed at Finchley Youth Centre to smaller, predominantly younger audiences, whom they invited to ask their characters questions after each show to further their experience and understanding from this important story about the expectations faced by young people today.

The play, ‘Citizenship’ by Mark Ravenhill, follows a 15-year-old’s path to discovering his sexuality – seeing him through friendship struggles, school fights, authority figures who refuse to help, and some decisions that have consequences he will carry for the rest of his life.

All of my friends were really impressed. They didn’t think they’d like seeing a play, but they really got it

Our aim when starting this production was to give young people a space to express their feelings about their place in society, and a platform on which they could share that with their peers and their elders alike. The response we received at Jacksons Lane showed us that, in the latter, we absolutely excelled.

“When I was 15, 15-year-olds were kids,” one cast member’s father said. “I had no idea what today’s teenagers have to go through at such a young age.”

“I nearly had to walk out at one stage,” said one member of the public, “not because I wasn’t enjoying it – just because I find it so sad that this is the state of things. I’m glad I didn’t, though. I think it’s important that people know about this.”

“All of my friends were really impressed. They didn’t think they’d like seeing a play, but they really got it,” one actor told us after the show.

And what about the cast? We’ll let them speak for themselves – have a look at the video below to find out what they’re saying about the experience.

If you weren’t at Jacksons Lane that night, don’t despair – you have one more chance to come and see this production that has created such a storm!

We are performing alongside Bishop Ramsey School at the artsdepot in North Finchley on MONDAY 25TH APRIL, 7pm. This will be the first night of their Connections festival week, which will see several young casts performing a host of other plays about the lives today’s young people lead.

Tickets are £5 each, and can be booked online or by calling 020 8369 5454.

Don’t miss out – you’ll only end up kicking yourself when you hear the applause echoing all over North London that evening!

Eleanor Hardy
Eleanor is Exposure’s Associate Artist. She is also an actor under the name Nell Hardy, and a singer-songwriter under the name Our Little Nell. She has decided not to take up painting because she can’t think of another name. Find her original music at ourlittlenell.bandcamp.com or her YouTube channel.

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