Firebrand plans fiery and risque 3rd birthday party

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Firebrand is staging one of the most controversial plays of the past decade, David Harrower’s Blackbird, at the Heart of Hawick in February.

The Border theatre company is celebrating its third anniversary with ‘a riveting and taboo-breaking study of illicit love and fiery sexual obsession’.

Olivier Award-winning Blackbird, set in a deserted staffroom, is a bold choice for artistic directors Janet Coulson and Ellie Zeegen, whose original and innovative productions also include Iron, Being Norwegian and Oleanna.

The 90-minute, one-act play, written by the Scottish playwright David Harrower in 2005, was inspired in part by the crimes of sex offender Toby Studebaker. The story depicts a young woman, Una, meeting Roy, a middle-aged man. Fifteen years earlier, they had a sexual relationship when she was 12, for which he was arrested and imprisoned.

Roy had assumed a new name, but Una tracked him down, leading to a confrontation of anger, confusion, and conflicting emotions. The Guardian described Blackbird as: ‘A riveting study of sexual obsession that leaves one both shaken and stirred.’

“Despite the difficult financial climate, Firebrand and Heart of Hawick are determined to find ways to continue bringing our Borders audiences brave and exciting contemporary theatre of the highest standard,” Ellie Zeegen said.

She explained the play fits perfectly into a large Heart of Hawick function room, which, she said, “has been aptly re-named the Tinderbox - the new brand for the more experimental work we are introducing into our repertoire.

“With this ingenious staging of a world-class play, we can beat the tough economic circumstances by giving Blackbird the fully realised production it deserves. If you’d like to help us continue our mission to make brilliant theatre in the Borders it would be great if you’d consider making us a financial donation and become a Firestarter at www.firebrandtheatre.co.uk.”

Blackbird runs at the Heart of Hawick from Thursday to Saturday February 20 to 22, starting each night at 7.30pm, with tickets including a drink costing £13. Call 01450 360688.