“He’ll look different. My little boy. When I get out. Like… to the picture I’ve got in my head. Be like meeting him all over again. Be a whole new start.”
Instead of GCSEs, Cain, Riyad and Jonjo got sentences. Locked up in a young offenders’ institution, they trade sweets, chat shit, kill time – and await fatherhood.
Grace’s job is to turn these teenagers into parents, ready to take charge of their futures. But can they grow up quickly enough to escape the system?
Winner of the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize from 1406 entries, Samuel Bailey’s debut full production tenderly and honestly examines the young men society shuts away.
Shook follows previous Papatango discoveries who have gone on to win BAFTAs, OffWestEnd and Alfred Fagon awards and premiere worldwide.
Press on Shook
★★★★ “Bailey’s remarkably accomplished debut [is an] excellent production [with] a fantastic cast…there’s a palpable sense that he’s a major talent to be reckoned with.” Evening Standard
★★★★ “Samuel Bailey’s play is unerring.” Sunday Times
★★★★ “Delicate, bitterly funny and thoroughly convincing…moving and absorbing and consummately performed.” The Stage
★★★★ “A cracking debut production with a superb cast. Funny, down-to-earth, and with a lot to say, it’s one of the best short plays on right now.” WhatsOnStage
★★★★★ “One of the most devastatingly accomplished and powerful debuts I have ever seen…one of the most important theatrical debuts of the decade.” British Theatre
★★★★★ “This. Play. Is. Phenomenal. Shook will take you and you will not return the same.” Rewrite This Story
★★★★ “An accomplished, entertaining, and thought-provoking piece of theatre.” Broadway World
“A short, sharp shock of a play which unobtrusively earns the lump it brings to the throat… three extraordinarily winning but utterly unsentimental performances.” Lyn Gardner, StageDoor
Nominated for seven Off-West End Awards: Best Director (Plays), Best Set Design, Best Production, Best Sound Design, Best New Play, Most Promising New Playwright, Best Performance Ensemble.
Press on previous Papatango shows:
★★★★ “Every year the Papatango Prize comes up with a bit of a cracker.” The Guardian on The Funeral Director
★★★★ “Outstanding.” The Times on Hanna
★★★★ “Brimming with quiet insight and sympathetic humour.” The Independent on Trestle
★★★★ “Seduces us with myth and theatrical magic.” Time Out on Orca
★★★★ “Remarkable unearthers of new talent.” Evening Standard on After Independence
Many thanks to the following for their kind support of the Papatango New Writing Prize:
Boris Karloff Charitable Foundation.
Assistant Lighting Designer
Post-Show Discussion: Rehabilitation and Reoffending
After the show on Thursday 7th November, join playwright Samuel Bailey, Alice Dawnay, and Francesca Findlater (CEO of Bounce Back) to discuss the play and its depiction of life in a young offenders’ institution.
Alice Dawnay is co-founder and CEO of Switchback, which supports young men to live life differently on release from prison. With a background in youth prevention and diversion, Alice developed the Switchback model after an analysis of alternatives to custody in the USA as a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. 10 years after its launch, Switchback has supported over 300 prison-leavers, winning the Robin Corbett Prisoner Reintegration Award in 2016, and being shortlisted for Criminal Justice Alliance Outstanding Organisation 2017 and for Charity of the Year (under £1m) at the Charity Times Awards 2019.
After a 20-year career in design and branding, Francesca Findlater started employing people leaving prison within her own consultancy. What began as a social project became a full-time role in 2011 as Founder and CEO of Bounce Back, an award-winning prison education and training charity focused on rehabilitation and employment. It has 8 training centres both in and out of prison, a decorating Social Enterprise and a support team getting prison leavers into employment. A long-standing advocate of social enterprise, Francesca is a Patron of Cockpit Arts, the UK’s creative-business incubator for designer-makers, as well as being on the Advisory Board of the London College of Fashion’s Making the Change project and an investor in Green Rooms, a unique social enterprise.
Post-Show Discussion: Mentoring Young Offenders
After the performance on Tuesday 12 November, join playwright Samuel Bailey and mentors from the Key4Life programme to discuss the play and the future facing young offenders.
Key4Life’s mission is to reduce youth reoffending through a ground-breaking rehabilitation programme for young men (18 to 30) in prison or at risk of going to prison and children (10 to 17) caught up in gang and knife crime. Key4Life works with some of the most disadvantaged young men by supporting and empowering them to secure employment and reintegrate into society on a positive path away from crime. The cost of one participant in the Key4Life programme is £5,000 versus the average annual cost of a prison place in England and Wales of £37,000.
The matinee performance on Saturday 9th November is a relaxed performance.
A relaxed performance is intended specifically to be sensitive to and accepting of audience members who may benefit from a more relaxed environment, including (but not limited to) those with autistic spectrum conditions, anyone with sensory and communication disorders or learning disabled people.
The light and sound cues will be toned down, and people are free to come and go from the auditorium as they need to, but the play performed will be the same.