Free For All

a new verse play by Richard O’Brien

Free for All poster

MARTHA
I can’t just put my faith in someone else:
in you, the NHS, the welfare state,
to pick me up, to always lend a hand.
Life isn’t like Unreal – you can’t respawn
if you’re unlucky. If you die, you die …

A new free school sets a town’s parents at loggerheads over the one thing that really matters to them: their children’s future.

When lifelong activist Kerry is persuaded to attend an open evening at the Waters’ Edge Academy, she discovers she’s not the only parent making sacrifices. But why is Martha’s mother so against her getting what she wants: a competitive skillset and a life she can afford?

Before long, the ghost of Anthony Crosland, the 1960s Labour education minister who introduced the comprehensive system, has started wreaking havoc on the interactive whiteboard. This might have something to do with Kerry’s concerns.

Engaging with questions of choice, control and the death of the post-war utopia, Free for All is a modern verse play by award-winning poet Richard O’Brien, described by Andrew McMillan as ‘one of the strongest poets of his generation’. Director Rebecca Martin, who co-founded the Sydney Theatre Award-winning pantsguys productions, says: ‘We set up Haunted House Theatre to revive a kind of theatre where the power of language can make anything happen.’

Free for All runs at Nottingham Contemporary on Jan 27th (free – book here), Leicester’s Hansom Hall on Jan 28th (tickets here), and Birmingham mac on Jan 29th (tickets here).

The production is kindly supported by our Kickstarter backers, and by the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. We invite audience feedback on our verse play here.

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