12:05 PM 17th February 2020

seeds At Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre

Shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award, seeds comes to Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next month as part of a UK tour.

Photo by Wasi Daniju
Photo by Wasi Daniju
Sensitively written by Mel Pennant, it tells the story of two mothers united in sorrow, unable to escape the tragedy and violence of knife crime. Together, they try to face the hardship of protecting their sons – one in life, and one in death.

On Michael Thomas’s birthday, his cake sits in his mother’s living room, its candles burning undisturbed. Jackie wants to clear her conscience, while Evelyn’s got a big speech to deliver on the 15th anniversary of Michael’s fatal stabbing. Are some things better left unsaid?

Judith Jacob (Dark Heart, ITV; The Five, Sky One) and Penny Layden (Belgravia, ITV; Macbeth, National Theatre) play the two mothers united in sorrow, unable to escape the tragedy of knife crime, trying to protect their sons – one in life, one in death.

In our divided Britain, crime fuelled by racism still happens; according to figures released in October 2019, knife crime offences in England and Wales have reached a record high. Hate crimes have more than doubled over a seven-year period with a spike following the EU referendum; racial hate crimes make up more than three-quarters of offences.

Directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour (Typical, Soho Theatre), seeds looks to tell the often unexplored stories of those who fight to keep their children safe from the world in which they grow up. This compelling piece is about motherhood, loss, the lengths that a parent may go to protect their child and what is left after tragedy hits. It brings insidious issues of race and gang mentality to the fore.

Osei-Kuffour says: “I’m interested in how new writing can respond to current events and resonate with audiences, the way they explore the human story behind injustices in the hope of bringing about change, or at least starting a dialogue to kickstart action.

“I want to bring the people the world doesn’t see or care about to the centre of a story where they can be engaged with. I feel that Mel Pennant’s seeds is a play very much in line with the work I want to create.”

seeds can be seen in the McCarthy at the SJT on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 March at 7.45pm. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.