All The Little Lights to play at the Arcola Theatre

I know you want what everyone else wants. A family. A home. But you’ll never have it. Cos of what’s inside you. 

Following an acclaimed UK tour in spring 2017, Jane Upton’s ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS will be making its London premiere at the Arcola this October. Deeply moving and darkly funny, this award-winning new play tells the story of the girls that slip through the cracks.

Joanne and Lisa were like sisters. Then Lisa got away. Now she’s back, but the ghosts from their past still haunt her. While Amy just wants to belong. In a world where nobody wants you, what would you do to survive?

With the threat of sexual exploitation lurking in the shadows, we see three forgotten girls spending one last night together by the railway line. ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS examines their desperation to recover what they’ve lost – friendship, family, safety.

This brilliant, thought-provoking play follows these three teenage girls, the sort of teenagers that society often demonises or overlooks. Inspired by real life stories, and developed with the support of Safe and Sound, who campaign against child sexual exploitation, this play captures the voices of these powerless, underprivileged girls with compassion, humour and authenticity.

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS stars Esther-Grace Button (Sleeping Beauty, Cast; Troupers, Mikron Theatre; The Crucible, Regent’s Park Open Air), Sarah Hoare (Jerusalem, Royal Court; Chewing Gum, Channel 4; Powder Room, DJ Films) and Tessie Orange-Turner (Sket, Park Theatre; No Border, Theatre503; Blister, Gate Theatre).

Writer Jane Upton comments, When I started researching the Rochdale child sex ring back in 2014, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility that came with creating a play from this sort of material. I almost gave up. But as the characters grew, and similar stories started to break, I knew I wanted to share our play as widely as possible. We’ve toured it nationally and now it’s great to be taking it to a London audience and specifically the Arcola, which has such a fantastic reach. The play is dark, of course, but it’s about three teenage girls so there’s laughter and piss-taking and all the things that come with growing up and negotiating your place. And hopefully it’s a timely reminder that so many children across the UK are living this horror every day. 

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS is a Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse co-production. It was joint winner of the 2016 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for Best New Play at the Writers’ Guild Awards 2017.

Emma Betty
Emma Betty

Emma Betty is 28 and a nurse in Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Emma has the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Soundtrack (On CD!) to blame for her love for Musical Theatre, which she found in her parents living room pretty much as soon as she was old enough to know what it was. She began combining her love for Theatre, the Internet and Writing while she was still at school, through various blogs and on social media. Having moved to London in 2013, she launched Upper Circle 4 years later. A couple of years on, she is delighted to have a small team and is so grateful to those helping Upper Circle to grow every day!

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