Big Issue Foundation is delighted to announce that a critically acclaimed theatre production commissioned in association with Big Issue Foundation will be staged across the UK during a month-long tour this Autumn. UNKNOWN – a play about poverty and homelessness – which has been created with support from The Arts Council was developed and produced in partnership with Roughhouse Theatre whose 2021 drama N17 won The National Campaign for The Arts 2021 Best Arts Project Award.
Moira Hunt – Director of Roughhouse Theatre – describes UNKNOWN as “a deeply compelling drama that tells the painfully true and profoundly moving story of a young man’s struggle to survive living on the streets of Britain today.” She also believes that it “should be seen by everyone who has ever crossed the road when approaching a homeless person in the street.”
First performed as a radio play in October 2020 and developed as a stage drama for a short tour in 2021, UNKNOWN has already received widespread acclaim – including being listed by The Guardian as one its readers’ favourite plays of 2020.
Intimate, extremely moving and wonderful performances.
Harrowing stories eloquently told – all the more shocking because we know them to be true.Filmmaker Ken Loach
This is a seriously important piece of work that deserves as wide – and as angry – an audience as possible.The Greenwich Visitor
Announcing the forthcoming tour of Unknown, Tracy Griffin – CEO of Big Issue Foundation – said that
with the exponential increase in homelessness over the last three years there has never been a more important time to raise awareness of the impact of poverty and the reality of life on the streets in the UK today. It is in this context that we are working with Roughhouse Theatre to bring their compelling drama to as wide an audience as possible.
The Background to Unknown
In just two years from 2017 to 2019, more than 800 people died living and sleeping rough on the streets of the UK – a significant number of them have never been identified or named. UNKNOWN is a poignant and powerful dramatisation of the tragic but true story of one young person’s journey from an abusive childhood to a life on the streets of Bath – one of the most affluent cities in the UK.
Supported by Arts Council England and Big Issue Foundation, UNKNOWN has been written by award winning playwright Dougie Blaxland with the assistance of six people who have recent experience of homelessness on the streets of Bath and Bristol: Sammy Clark, Nathan Dempster, Ian Duff, Paul Jones, Lloyd Rusdale and Anthony Williams.