Hey everyone, So you probably all know that my debut play was called Runaway. I'm going to talk about why I wrote the play and how this relates to Great Expectations Theatre's vision for exposing issues that young people experience that are simply swept under the rug by the wider society.
Runaway entered development back in April 2013 as part of the Studio Salford WriteForTheStageCourses in Greater Manchester. When I first started writing it was a big issue I wanted to address was identity because this is something a lot of people struggle with, but in particular young people. Identity is an issue for young people as throughout our teen years we are trying to find ourselves: referring to our personnel tastes and then of course what "society" tells us to like/dislike through the media. However the one thing that these things have in common is acceptance, we always want to be accepted either by others or ourselves.
There are times when we struggle to find either forms of this acceptance, which of course can then cause us to bow to peer pressure to gain this acceptance. This can have us doing anything and everything to have people say that they like you; or at least that's what you want people to say to you after they've pressured you into doing something for their benefit.
All of these things and more were explored as we discovered more about the characters and their world. Through this we discovered that their beliefs of their wants throughout is so strong that it causes some very dramatic, sometimes traumatising moments for the characters. Through these experiences we see the characters grow to discover their identities and who they are as people; in, what I've been told by audience members is, a gripping story. You see moments of loss, love, joy, protection and many others throughout the story line and I genuinely believe that whether your 16 or 80 that there is something in this play for you.
Runaway fits into Great Expectations vision for exposing young adults issues in society because the media portrays the transition into adulthood as simple as in: go to school, listen to pop/rap/rock music then leave with glowing GCSE's then go college learn to drive then go to university probably meet your partner, leave uni get a job then live happily ever after.
Unfortunately we can be locked out of this so called "happy cycle" at any moment because of our circumstances and then it can be very difficult to get a good job for instance and because you're feeling rejected that can cause you to turn to crime just to put food on the table or keep the roof over your head. What I want you to take away from Runaway is that it's okay to stray from this so called path of happiness but just know that there is a way out of your situation but you have to do something about it or you'll be trapped forever.
Runaway is now preparing for a 2017 Northwest tour.
Thanks for reading, Richard Stringer
Founder of Great Expectations Theatre
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