Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks will be launching their new production SparkPlug, written by and starring David Judge, and directed by the company’s Joint Artistic Director and co-founder Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder, at HOME in Manchester between Wednesday 13 – Saturday 23 February 2019, before going out on an extensive 18-venue tour, ending in Birmingham in April.

Manchester, 1983. Dave loves Rod Stewart, Joanne and his Ford Capri. He’s all set for a new start. Only Joanne’s about to have someone else’s baby. Is Dave ready to become a dad, even though he’s not the father?

A punchy and poetic exploration of family, race, identity and love, SparkPlug, a finalist for the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play 2017, is the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child, David. This lyrical and energetic monologue from Manchester-based dual heritage writer David Judge examines what family means today.

Inspired by autobiographical events and exploring the playwright’s background as an actor and spoken word artist, SparkPlug is unflinching in its portrayal of real situations as it explores racism, violence and masculinity – some of the most pressing issues of the day. Offering a non-judgmental space in which to start a conversation, SparkPlug seeks to give people the chance to talk openly about these themes.

“As a ‘man of colour’,” says David Judge, “my voice as a writer has become a valued weapon, loaded and aimed at those without. As a ‘man of colour’ I sometimes feel pressured to speak for a community I know nothing of and feel I am being recruited to hate those without, the ‘white man’. This fight both inside and outside of myself makes me question where my loyalties lie. Who am I loyal to? And who is loyal to me?

“The answers are straightforward; my biological Father, my ‘Black’ left me before I was born; my biological Mother, my ‘Blood’ left me when I was seven years old; the only person who stuck by me, from boy to man, who grew and shaped me into the man I am today was a white man. A white man with love and hate tattooed on his knuckles, with a ginger perm, with a Ford Capri, with Rod Stewart constantly on the stereo. So out of my loyalty to him, I have used my voice to write a play about the man who made me one. My Father. I hope it’s enjoyed.”

SparkPlug contains strong language and use of racially offensive terms, and is not suitable for people under 14.

Performance calendar – HOME

Wed 13 Feb 2019, 19:45

Thu 14 Feb 2019, 19:45 (press night performance)

Fri 15 Feb 2019, 19:45

Sat 16 Feb 2019, 19:45

Mon 18 Feb 2019, 19:45

Tue 19 Feb 2019, 11:00 (parent and baby performance), 19:45

Wed 20 Feb 2019, 19:45

Thu 21 Feb 2019, 19:45

Fri 22 Feb 2019, 19:45 (relaxed performance)

Sat 23 Feb 2019, 19:45

Tickets £12.50 (concessions £10).

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