On 11 August 2007, Sophie Lancaster was beaten unconscious and later died from her injuries in hospital. She was 20 years old, had just passed her A-Levels and was working out what to do with her life. She was killed because she dressed differently. BLACK ROSES: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster was performed at the Royal Exchange in September 2012.

Teenagers from the Royal Exchange Young Company and Burnley Youth Theatre watched BLACK ROSES and shared their thoughts and feelings about the performance. The Young Company members attended creative writing workshops, exploring the themes and style of BLACK ROSES whilst the Burnley group explored their responses through improvisation, discussion and devised drama. AFTER BLACK ROSES was a sharing of the work-in-progress of these young people, presented by members of Burnley Youth Theatre and an ensemble of professional actors.



“You look at them, and their cool clothes, and their money, and their boyfriends and slag them but - you want to be like them and have everyone think how successful you are... Don’t you want to be normal?”

I’M SPILLING MY HEART OUT HERE was presented as part of NT Connections – a nationwide festival of new writing and young theatre talent. Ten new plays commissioned by the National Theatre were performed by youth theatre groups across the UK in this 50th year of the National Theatre.

In association with the Co-operative Foundation’s Truth about Youth programme which is challenging and changing negative perceptions of young people in the UK


MARCH 2013  

Harper Lee’s universal tale of prejudice, deep inequalities and humanity provided creative inspiration for three very different responses from groups of adults and young people accessing the Royal Exchange’s participation programme…

The Booth Centre (a homeless activity centre) created a musical and theatrical response to the play as part of their three year partnership with the Theatre.

12 Manchester teenagers from the Young Company worked with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Director, Max Webster, on a contemporary response to Harper Lee’s powerful story. Their innovative performance looked at how the play's challenging themes continue to resonate to this day and asked what ''mockingbirds" there might be all around us in our everyday lives.

RECLAIM, a multiple award winning leadership and mentoring project based in Manchester presented a scorching new piece of writing inspired by Harper Lee’s bravery in exposing day-to-day bigotry. A boss and a job applicant push one another to voice their unspoken thoughts, ignoring their own boundaries around race, class, age, and gender.