Age of Consent

Company Name: Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company
Devised by the company with Drew Griffiths
Director: Kate Crutchley
Designer: Mary Moore
Cast: Bob Stratton, Sara Hardy, Tony Brooks, Helen Barnaby, Keiran Montague, Ian Godfrey, Gordon MacDonald
Vocals: Tom Robinson

The Age of Consent was produced for a season of plays for school children at the Royal Court entitled Everyone Different. A survey by The Gay Teenage Group had shown that the suicide rate amongst gay teenagers was higher than any other group and this could only be changed if positive homosexual role models were available, and homophobia was challenged. The play explored the relationship between the law and homosexuality, regarding the legal age of consent – which was 21 at the time, and the affect this had on relationships. The company devised the play as a mixed company.

‘It was based on a real case of a man who was only just over the age of twenty or something and a school boy a choir boy. Some towns refused to have it at all, I got a letter from Scotland saying, ‘…our audiences are more interested in art than people’s jail sentences’. And sometimes the church people chased it off, and it had to change venues at the last minute. The other thing was it was a bit of a mess up, it changed writers about three times and Mary [Moore] and I wanted to do a proper documentary , to make a dramatized documentary about , and to put all sorts of things like puppets and Tom Robinson wrote some songs for it, and we put in cartoon-like stuff and it was pre-, when there was a craze of stuff like that in the 70s and everyone was using life-size puppets and cartoonish type of settings. It was a bit before all that and it was a not quite well-finished piece, but I think that happens to a lot of those things that are homemade.’ Kate Crutchley, 2006

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