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The Dystopian North
Richard Trinder, Editor
Philip Duguid-McQuillan as Alleyne and Natalie Davies as Nusrat. Photo by Maria Spadafora
It's a post apocalyptical world. Most of the population has been wiped out by a particularly virulent virus and the few remaining stragglers are just learning to survive.

Sound familiar?

That could be the introduction to half a dozen current movies. Just add a basso profundo voice-over to the trailer and you're good to go.

However, when you throw in a hyper-local story line, where the action ranges between rural Grassington and urban Bradford, with all the cultural differences that that infers, then things start to get more interesting.

The rather splendid Freedom Studios, who specialise in "making new plays in unusual spaces", were premiering their new production called North Country, by Tajinder Singh Hayer and it is just such a beast - a SciFi that's highly geographically and culturally relevant and topped-off by being staged in a most unusual place.

Why would I go there?

The grotty and long disused M&S building in the centre of Bradford is perhaps not the most obvious choice to produce a new play, but it does a damn fine job of setting the scene for the dystopia to come.

Kamal Kaan as Harvinder. Photo by Maria Spadafora
The floor had been dressed with years of discarded electrical goods. Reminiscent of (although much tidier than) one of the installations at Liverpool's Tate Modern. The difference being, in this setting this detritus had some relevance!

Above all, North Country is a great yarn. The frequent references to familiar locations and cultural and even religious differences quickly draw-in the audience: A few survivors slowly clump together for safety and geographic regions emerge (the play, not the audience that is).

Each of the new regions develops a specialised trade - anything they can do in exchange for food or medicine - and so the basis for a new civilisation emerges.

Of course, people being people, these developments are not without their difficulties, but, slowly slowly something approaching a stable society emerges.

The three cast members; Natalie Davies, Philip Duguid-McQuillan and Kamal Kaan have their hands full. They are rarely off stage but manage to deliver the dynamism and tight timing needed to build the required suspense.

An evening out to see North Country is an experience, not just a play, and I very much hope they have a sell-out run - they deserve it.

Freedom Studios, in their own words...

Freedom Studios is an intercultural theatre company based in Bradford, connecting different people and communities through making theatre and telling stories.

We exist to help eradicate racism and prejudice.


I hope I am not being culturally inept by saying "Amen to that!"

Dates and Times

7.30pm Weds 26th October
7.30pm Thurs 27th October
5.00pm Fri 28th October
7.30pm Weds 2nd November
1.30pm & 7.30pm Thurs 3rd November
5.00pm Fri 4th November
1.30pm & 7.30pm Sat 5th November

Venue: The Wild Woods, Darley Street, BD1 3HL (entrance on Piccadilly)

£3, £5, or £10 tickets available - pay what you decide

The Dystopian North, 27th October 2016, 12:21 PM