Last Updated on 27th April 2015
The UK, 2014, The Civil Partnership Act is ten years old, same-sex marriage passes into law, it is a criminal offence to stir up hatred against people on grounds of their sexual orientation. After years of struggle, the final stigmas are being removed. It is okay to be gay, being out isn’t an issue. And yet, homosexuality remains a taboo subject in English football. Not one of Britain’s 5,000 professional performers is openly gay. The national sport is leagues behind.
To this day, not a single Premier League footballer has come out while in the game. In this climate, and in the wake of the World Cup, Hartshorn – Hook Productions and Working Progress Theatre Company have toured a visceral new play, tackling the issue of homophobia in the beautiful game. The show has been performed everywhere from London’s Jermyn Street Theatre to the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, visiting The Lowry, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the Brighton Fringe, the York Theatre Royal, Derby Theatre and Megalomania, Frankfurt on the way. It comes now to new studio Upstairs at the Arts in the West End’s Arts Theatre, before embarking on an international tour at the Auckland Fringe.
Kyle is comfortable with his life as a male escort until the day he is hired by a premiership footballer and finds himself falling in love. But can Kyle maintain a relationship with a closeted footballer in a country where not one pro player is out? Can he cope with love when, for him, sex has only ever been a transaction? Can he ever tell his friends – and his family – the truth?
Away From Home is an edgy, moving and subversive one man show laced with sharp humour, going in for a hard tackle on football’s last taboo.
The show premiered in 2013 when it was granted the great honour of opening the 24:7 Theatre Festival, Manchester’s annual new-writing extravaganza. It is co-written by Rob Ward and Martin Jameson, who, with three decades experience in theatre, TV and radio (Casualty, Emmerdale, Holby City and numerous radio dramas for BBC Radio 4), also directs. Ward, taking the part of Kyle, is a founder of Working Progress Theatre Company.
Playing to packed houses, garnering rave reviews and receiving standing ovations, Ward won the Audience Award for Best Actor at 24:7 and the work took the North West Equity Vicky Allen Memorial Award for Best Production. It has also been awarded Best Play at 24:7 and Best New Play at the Manchester Theatre Awards 2014, and for his performances at Jermyn Street Theatre, Ward has been nominated for a 2015 Off-West End Award for Best Actor.
Away from Home play Upstairs At The Arts Theatre on February 6 & 7 at 7.30pm and February 8 at 6pm. Bookings 020 78368463 or www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk