Flesh at The Royal Exchange

FLESH by Sarah McDonald Hughes

Based on the true stories of young parents in Manchester
A Script in Hand performance of the first draft of the play
The Royal Exchange Studio
, Wednesday 10 October 2012 at 1pm


This sharing is the culmination of a year-long research and development project undertaken by Monkeywood working with over 50 young parents from across Manchester, Salford and Trafford. We wanted to make a play that tells the true stories of young parents in their own words, and over a number of months we spent time with young parents conducting interviews, running workshops, chatting over cups of tea. We met some extraordinary young people with extraordinary stories to tell – stories we had never heard before. In June 2012 the creative team spent a week at the Royal Exchange creating one new story out of all the true stories we had heard. Following this, Sarah, our associate writer, produced the first draft of the play. After today’s sharing, the script will undergo further development before a full production in 2013. We hope very much that you’ll let us know what you think – either by telling us today in the talk back session or after the show, or via email, facebook or twitter.

We are extremely grateful to have received funding for this project from Arts Council England
through Grants for the Arts.


Marie Critchley (Cathy)
Marie’s recent work includes In The Flesh (BBC 3), Run for Channel 4 and The Accused -Mo’s Story (BBC1). Other TV work includes Sirens, South Riding, The Street, Lilies and A Passionate Woman. Theatre includes Brassed Off (Oldham Coliseum) Beautiful Thing (Bolton Octagon and tour), Adam Bede, Our Day Out, The Fancy Man and To Serve Them All Our Days ( Royal Theatre Northampton). West End work includes A View From The Bridge ( Strand Theatre) The Snow Queen (The Young Vic). Marie is pleased to back with Monkeywood after playing Elaine in Maine Road.

Reuben Johnson (Dylan)
Reuben starred as ‘Sean’ in BBC 1’s ‘Prisoners Wives’ earlier this year, and also as ‘Wee Man’ in the feature film ‘Weekender’ (Momentum Pictures.) Reuben’s stage work includes performances at Soho Theatre, The Lowry, Pleasance Courtyard Edinburgh and The Royal Exchange. Reuben is also a writer and director whose work includes the award winning ‘Territory,’ which is now a feature film set for release next year. Reuben is delighted to be working with Monkeywood for the first time.

Francesca Waite (Georgia)
Francesca’s Monkeywood credits: Once in a House on FireMaine Road, Last Orders, A Song for the Lovers and Coach G. Other theatre credits: National Express (Re:Play Festival 2011), Verbally Challenged (The Contact), Don Quixote (Kirov Ballet) and several tours with Team Players TIE Company. Short film credits: Dying To Be in Control (Them Wifies), Nona Transvaal and Avril Tungsten (Shameless Films). Francesca’s writing work includes Stars Are Fire for Monkeywood Theatre and co-writing The Artful Dodger, a short film produced for BBC 2 Education, nominated for a Children’s BAFTA and selected for the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival 2010.

Sarah McDonald Hughes (Shannon)
Sarah’s previous credits for Monkeywood include ONCE IN A HOUSE ON FIRE, LAST ORDERS, MAINE ROAD, A SONG FOR THE LOVERS, COACH G and CLOSER. Other theatre includes NIGHT TRAIN and A MILLION SHADES OF PINK (Action Transport Theatre), BE MY BABY and A TASTE OF HONEY (Northface Theatre), SOMEBODY’S SON (Hidden Gems Productions), COME TO WHERE I’M FROM (Royal Exchange Studio) and various rehearsed readings and corporate work for Action Transport, the Royal Exchange and the Dukes, Lancaster. TV includes COME BACK (Vita Nova Films), HOLLYOAKS (Lime Pictures) and CRIMEWATCH (BBC). Sarah works regularly for BBC Radio and most
recently recorded TAKE ME TO REDCAR which will be broadcast next year. She was nominated for BEST STUDIO PERFORMANCE in the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards for her performance as Andrea in ONCE IN A HOUSE ON FIRE.


Director – Martin Gibbons
Martin’s directing credits for Monkeywood include Once in a House on Fire, Last Orders and Maine Road. He has directed Match of the Day and Animal Companions for the acclaimed JB Shorts as well as RED which is currently in production as part of JB Shorts 8. He has recently started to work closely with ALRA North and will be directing their postgraduate showcase this November and he is part of the judging panel on the national new talent project The Call Back.  Martin works as a casting director under Martin Gibbons Casting, and has cast numerous high profile commercials and other projects, including work on the Chris Morris feature film Four Lions.

Writer – Sarah McDonald Hughes
Sarah is an actor and writer from Manchester. Writing includes ONCE IN A HOUSE ON FIRE, LAST ORDERS, MAINE ROAD, A SONG FOR THE LOVERS (Monkeywood Theatre), THE TOWER (Paines Plough/Royal Exchange Studio), THE TREE, NIGHT TRAIN, SCRATCHES IN THE EARTH (Action Transport Theatre), MAINE ROAD (BBC Radio 4), STREETS
ABOVE (Banter Media), SCATTERED (24:7 theatre 24 hour plays), THE NORTH (Royal Exchange Studio). Sarah was highly commended in the BBC’s 2009 Alfred Bradley Award and her plays LAST ORDERS and ONCE IN A HOUSE ON FIRE were both nominated for Best New Play in the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards. In 2011 she completed North West Vision and Media’s prestigious DRAFTED initiative, writing her first screenplay. She is currently under commission to BBC Radio 4. Sarah is attached to the Royal Exchange Studio on the SKYLINES project in association with Theatre Centre and to the Octagon Theatre, Bolton.

Curtis Cole – Story Development
Richard Morgan – Studio Producer, Royal Exchange
Suzanne Bell – Literary Manager, Royal Exchange

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