Some top East Anglian creative talent is set to star in a gripping play exploring the reality of life for those questioning and dealing with their sexual and gender identity.
Norwich Theatre Royal is producing a brand new production of Safe, which tells the real-life story of four young people who face different challenges and barriers in their lives and how they overcome them.
Following a casting-call, a number of performers drawn from the region are getting the chance to bring the characters to life at Stage Two on September 28 and 29.
Alicia, a young gay female who is eloquent, mature and finding herself, will be portrayed by the East Anglian-based Fizz Waller. She recently played Rosalind in As You Like It at Jimmy’s Farm in Suffolk and other previous roles include Sasha in the film #LovelyLegs , and stage productions The White Lady and The New World Order.
Meanwhile Samuel, young black Nigerian-born man who is intelligent, charming, funny and full of energy, is played by former UEA student Nelson Gombakomba. The law graduate is well-known in Norwich as the organiser of the comedy night at city venue Gonzo’s Tea Rooms and part of the production team for the BBC Radio Norfolk Comedy Programme as well as being the 2015 winner of UEA’s Got Talent.
The boyish-but-determined trans man Jack is played by Shaun McKay who is no stranger to the Norwich Theatre Royal. A former student of the venue’s arts course, he appeared in several productions there including Wind In The Willows and Peter Pan.
And the role of Tami, who is a tough and streetwise but vulnerable trans woman, will be played by Alistair Hall. The London-based performer’s previous credits include the play Contractions which is written by Mike Bartlett who created the stage hit King Charles III and the current must-see BBC One hit Dr Foster, and also appeared in popular ITV show The Royal.
The production will also feature Norwich-based Poppy Read as The Singer who will begin the production with a moving acoustic version of Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy.
Taking the creative helm is Alexis Gregory who wrote Safe and is directing it for the first time alongside assistant director Rebecca Andrews.
Alexis promises the play is very true to the stories of the real-life people who acted as inspiration and were all helped by the Albert Kennedy Trust, which helps and supports homeless and at-risk LGBT youth.
Alexis said the play is very wide-ranging touching on a number of issues and themes. He explained: “The play is about a lot more than gender and sexuality. There is a responsibility to tell the truth. There is a responsibility to make an entertaining piece of theatre. They don’t come on stage and tell a sob story. They just tell you the facts.
“There is also a lot of humour in it which people don’t expect. It is essential for so many reasons. It is going to be hard hitting but we are in there together and there are points where we will laugh. One responsibility that I had was to find out about their whole lives and not just the incident that led to them to the Albert Kennedy Trust. We talk about the future in this play as well.”
See Safe here from 28-29 September. Buy tickets now at Norwich Theatre Royal.