Director aims to shine a light on class divides in Soho play

A play that explores themes of gentrification and political and class divisions will be staged in a church in Soho in June.

Created by High Hearted Theatre in association with Soho Theatre, The End of History is a site-specific play which will be performed in the St Giles-in-the-Fields Church from June 5-23.

Director Gemma Kerr said that the idea for the story came after the general election in 2015, a time where she felt people were becoming a lot more public about their political opinions.

She said: “There were a lot of people saying that in a way that maybe they hadn’t before, so we were interested in the idea that could two people from across that political divide, quickly having a conversation, could you stand in each other’s shoes.

“A lot of the play is about the issues that we were interested in, it’s maybe the things you need to project onto other people, to hold your own position.”

Both Ms Kerr and writer Marcelo Dos Santos specialise in creating work in unconventional spaces.

Ms Kerr added: “There’s something very exciting about taking an audience out of a theatre building and out of a conventional theatre set-up, what’s happens to the relationship between the performer and the audience, and for us that’s always been something that we’ve actively wanted to explore.

“People are more engaged and there’s a more intimate relationship.”

St Giles-in-the-Fields’ rector Alan Carr has been involved in commissioning this work.

As a huge supporter of the arts in the past, he has staged many productions in the church.

He first contacted Ms Kerr after learning that 2015 marked the 350th anniversary of the outbreak of the plague in London, where some of the first plague pits were dug in the churchyard to the south of St Giles as it stands today.

He added: “Behind this request lay a long-standing desire to find ways of enhancing the perception and place of the ancient neighbourhood of St Giles, and of its Church, of course, both physically and culturally, in the public realm of this part of the West End, a presence which has, in my own view, been gradually declining.

“From the outset the idea was not for them to re-create the history of the plague but to invite them to make dramatic connections between the issues of poverty and exclusion observed in the period of the plague with similar issues observed today.”

Related Articles