News: Cast announced for Charlotte Josephine’s Pops

Bringing Pops from critically acclaimed writer Charlotte Josephine (Bitch Boxer; Blush) to the stage this summer are Nigel Barrett (Mysteries, Royal Exchange; Party Skills for the End of the World, Manchester International Festival and Shoreditch Town Hall) and the multi-award winning Sophie Melville (Wolfie, Theatre 503; Iphigenia in Splott, National Theatre, Broadway transfer and international tour) as a father and daughter caught in a cycle of addiction.

They’re trying. Despite everything. They’re really trying. They almost work together, beautifully, and the almost is intoxicating. Asking challenging questions about mental health, Pops looks at what is inherited and who is responsible, particularly in this harsh political climate. There are stubborn stigmas around mental health, particularly for the working class, and Pops seeks to tell a story that rids people of self-inflicted shame.

Directed by Ali Pidsley of Barrel Organ, Pops is essentially a story about a father-daughter relationship which explores the need for these two people to connect with each other when they don’t have the language to do so, to love each other in the way they truly want to would involve forgiving the unforgiveable – it asks is that really possible? Exploring shame, addiction and relationships, Pops is about trying.

Charlotte Josephine commented: “The cruelness of austerity is, of course, that it damages those who need the most support. The tabloids enjoy spreading lies that addiction is a choice, an ignorance, a greedy self-indulgence. It’s hard to get well when the national narrative is repeatedly insisting you’re bad, not sick. Shame is a killer, and the antidote to shame is empathy. Story telling is empathy making, and there’s no better art form for story telling than live theatre. We need it, now more than ever.”

Director Ali Pidsley added: “We could not be more excited about making this beautiful new play with two such truthful, generous, playful actors. Pops centres around a knotty, but very honest dynamic between two people, and Sophie and Nigel are really going to make that dynamic sing.”

One of the headline shows in HighTide’s Disruption series, in partnership with Assembly Roxy, Pops is co-produced by Jake Orr Productions, HighTide and Live Theatre. Also headlining the Disruption programme will be Kenny Emson’s Rust which is the centrepiece of the programme, Collapsible by Irish writer Margaret Perry, and a double bill of shows presented with The Queer House from writers Teddy Lamb and Mika Johnson. Finally, demonstrating Assembly’s commitment to supporting Scottish new writing, Kevin P. Gilday’s Suffering From Scottishness completes the curated programme. The six pieces chosen demonstrate HighTide and Assembly Festival’s shared vision for new writing as a space of political, contemporary and provocative work, created by new, diverse artists.

The shows by Kenny Emson, Margaret Perry, Charlotte Josephine, Teddy Lamb and Mika Johnson will headline HighTide Festival Aldeburgh 2019 (10 – 15 September).

Pops will be playing Assembly Roxy from Wednesday 31 July – Monday 26 August 2019 (not 12).

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