Transform: The Stage

By Jo Phillips

With the recent results of the EU Referendum and the reactions that followed, it is clear that there is a lack of understanding about political issues. Politics is often seen as too lofty or complicated a subject to deal with. From a creative standpoint, the arts regularly tackle political issues in art, drama and literature. The arts make it easier for people to understand these topics. So with this in mind, here are three current and upcoming plays that make a strong statement about social issues.


No Villain – Miller’s first play focuses on an industry strike that sets a son again his factory owner father. This play explores workers’ rights. No Villain is influenced by Marxist theory which sets class structures and distinguishes the labourers and the owners. The play is directed by Sean Turner and a cast that includes David Bromley, Nesba Crenshaw, Kenneth Jay, Stephen Omer, and George Turvey. No Villain, by Arthur Miller is playing now at Trafalgar Studios until 9th July.


Queens of Syria – The play is an adaption of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, an anti- war tragedy. With an all-female cast, the play focuses on the experiences of female Syrian refugees. The play includes scenes from the documentary, providing a multimedia experience. What is expressed is that women are the ones left behind in war yet here they are given a voice and a space. This play, directed by Zoe Lafferty, brings their experiences to the UK. Queens of Syria will be playing from 5th -9th July at the Young Vic Theatre and will tour Oxford, Brighton, Liverpool, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Boys in the Band - Ian Hallard & Mark Gatiss

The Boys in the Band – Starting at the beginning of a birthday party in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the play features nine men from different backgrounds. Written by Mart Crowley, the play highlights male sexuality and normalises the presentation of gay men. At the time of its release in it shocked audiences but spoke volumes in the LGBT community and was developed into a cult feature film in 1970. The Park Theatre production is directed by Adam Penford and will feature Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard. The Boys in the Band at Park Theatre will be from 28th September – 30th October 2016.

Socially aware and political plays are not a new thing. Here are three of the most consciously aware plays that date back over the decades.

A Raisin in the Sun – With an almost all-black cast, this play which first performed in 1959, initially had difficulty finding funding. Lorraine Hansberry’s acclaimed play about an African-American family living in South Side Chicago speaks on race, poverty and the hope of a better life.

Top Girls – Set in Britain in the 80s, this play by Caryl Churchill focuses on women, business and success. At the time it was first produced in 1982, it reflected an era of Margaret Thatcher and is considered by many to be one of the best British plays written by a female dramatist.

Angels in America – Written by Tony Kushner, this 1993 play addresses AIDS in America in the 1980s. At the time, it was considered controversial but is now one of the most culturally relevant plays.

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