Play aims to bridge gap between different views

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A new show at the Mill in Banbury using interviews from more than 200 teenagers will examine how to increase understanding between people holding different views.

What Once Was Ours has been made in reaction to the increasing polarisation of opinions and the readiness to attack those with alternate ones.

The show focuses on a half-brother and sister from very different backgrounds and the struggling relationship when one asks for help.

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Named Katie and Callum, they could not be any more distant and disconnected, living in different cities with different opportunities. The audience will discover what happens when Callum turns up in desperate need of help.

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Between November 2016 and January 2017, theatre company Zest Theatre held extensive workshops in Barnsley, Newcastle/Gateshead, the company’s home county Lincolnshire, and in Tower Hamlets. In each area the company talked to and listened to young people from across the divide to find out their feelings on Brexit, Britishness, politics and society. What Once Was Ours was created based on these conversations, and verbatim quotes from the workshops are used throughout the show.

Toby Ealden, artistic director of Zest Theatre and director of What Once Was Ours, said: “The impetus for this new production came the day of the EU referendum result. When the result came in, we spent the day hearing so many of the towns we tour to portrayed in the media as somehow less intelligent, racist and small minded. This portrayal didn’t do these communities justice.

“Zest is based in Lincolnshire and the town of Boston is part of our ‘home turf’. Some parts of the media have labelled Boston as the Brexit capital of Britain due to the complex issues it faces with its Eastern European population. Here is a rurally isolated town that feels ignored and unheard. We have to understand that for these young people, diversity is a relatively new thing. Their fears were very real.”

What Once Was Ours comes to the Mill on Thursday, October 19. Call 279002 or visit to book.