Octagon play explores loneliness, desire and sexuality

Octagon play explores loneliness, desire and sexuality

All The Bens features Dominic Vulliamy as Ben, Daniel McCann as Henry and Jonathon Ojinnaka as Al

Playwright Ian Townsend

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Entertainment reporter

AN award-winning play which explores loneliness, desire and sexuality will be staged in Bolton tomorrow.

All The Bens, written by Ian Townsend, will visit the Octagon Theatre as part of a seven-date tour following success at a theatre festival.

Described as engaging and witty, the 60-minute play also features themes of friendship, identity, grow-ing up, special needs and the internet.

Mr Townsend, who lives in Mossley, has just started a year-long attachment with the Octagon as part of BBC Writersroom 10, which sees theatres nominate writers to take part in the development programme.

He said: “I will probably be working on a play with people from the Octagon but also there’s a chance to meet producers from the BBC in whatever areas we are interested in.”

With a background in comedy writing, he decided to write All The Bens after working with young people and hearing their stories.

He said: “It’s a play that I started writing quite a while ago. I used to do work with disaffected young people, people who were not in education, employment or training.

“I used to do some other workshops with young people with special educational needs.

“Just the people I met and the stories I was hearing started me thinking. Not so much about the issues they have to deal with but just their lives, especially if they’re a little bit aimless.”

First seen at Manchester’s 24:7 Theatre Festival in 2012, it picked up the Manchester Theatre Award for Best Fringe production.

Mr Townsend said: “It’s just a play that people really seem to connect with. It’s got serious themes but there’s lots of humour in it.

“It’s just three young men chatting about their lives and talking to the audience.”

All The Bens is on tour throughout April and May and it is the first time one of Mr Townsend’s plays will have been staged at the Octagon.

It will be at the Studio at 7.30pm tomorrow, followed by a question and answer session with Mr Townsend, director Martha Simon and cast, Dominic Vulliamy, Daniel McCann and Jonathon Ojinnaka.

Tickets cost £10 (£8 concession). Call 01204 520661.

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