In its 50th year Bench Theatre continue to set out to delight, entertain and challenge audiences.
The Pride, by Alexi Kaye Campbell, is a thought-provoking play with a powerful message that will resonate with people from all walks of life.
This Olivier Award-winning play examines the changing attitudes from 1958 to 2008 in our country to sexuality, love and those that are challenged by them.
The play is an exploration of what it means to love someone against all expectations.
Director Stuart Reilly says: ‘I found the Pride in the same way I found every one of my favourite plays over the years: dumb luck. I would go into the bookshop at the Royal Court and ask the unsuspecting person minding the shop to give me all the new and exciting plays. And in one of those trips I found a play that, for the next nine years, I wouldn’t stop going on about.
‘I’d read so few queer plays up to that point in my life and to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything with quite the same power and beautiful writing as this.
‘The play examines so many things that we as a society still really struggle to talk about. Toxic masculinity, male suffering, domestic violence, the nature of sex in our relationships, social prejudice, the very nature of how we love one another.
‘What always drew me to this play was my own struggles with my sexuality and masculinity.
‘Having been raised within a Catholic and military household, these were highly taboo topics never to be discussed. Yet all the while, offensive slurs were seemingly always around me, used by everyone and no one with chilling ease.
‘This is why the importance of this play cannot be understated; those feelings are timeless, ringing true were they were spoken today, in the nineties or in the fifties.
‘For all the good that has been done and strides made towards social acceptance, the same old behaviours and attitudes resurrect like clockwork in an attempt to repeal all that progress we’ve made. Unless we recognise them and ALL of us choose to make a real thing of the past, then all of the hardest parts of this play will continue to repeat themselves.
‘Fighting for change, for something better – there can be no greater pride.’
The Spring Arts Centre, Havant