A new play by writer Jonathan Harvey inspired by the murder of Liverpool teenager Michael Causer will be coming to the Liverpool stage.
It has been twenty years since Harvey’s modern classic play Beautiful Thing brought issues of identity, self and sexuality to mainstream audiences – and the show will return to the Playhouse stage later this year in celebration.
He returns to those themes his new work Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy, that forms part of the National Theatre Connections programme; an initiative to partner young actors with exciting new plays, with hundreds of youth theatre groups up and down the country getting involved – “one of the largest youth theatre festivals on the planet”, as they describe it.
Of the ten new plays available, by established writers such as Jim Cartwright and famous faces including Lenny Henry, Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy was the one that immediately struck a chord with Altru Youth Theatre, who will perform the play at the Bluecoat in March before transferring to the Lowry.
“It has been a real privilege so far to work on Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy” says director Kate Gorst. “The play is a real challenge for the young actors and deals with themes that are going to be relevant for audiences of all ages – anyone that has ever loved, and lost, someone will relate to this play.”
The play is loosely based upon two real-life events, the murder of Michael Causer in Liverpool in 2008, and the high-profile Ruby Thomas case, who was still a teenager when she was was found guilty of beating 62 year-old gay man Ian Baynham to death in 2010.
Harvey, who is also a well-known writer on Coronation Street, felt there was a story to be told about the level of anger and hatred still directed at gay men and women in the UK and the fear still affecting young people as they grapple with their sexuality – despite the huge cultural and political shift since Beautiful Thing premiered in 1993.
Tom Martin, who plays central character Scott, says: “The play is hopeful and tragic, in a deeply moving and relatable way.”
Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy will be performed at the Bluecoat from March 7 to 9. Tickets are £4 and can be purchased via the Bluecoat’s website or by phone on 0151 703 5324.
The show will transfer to The Lowry Studio in Manchester for a one-off performance on May 11. Watch Jonathan Harvey talk about the play here:
Bluecoat picture by Paul Ashton