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In London’s (Off) West End 2019: Germ Free Adolescent at The Bunker (Preview)

Ali Wright

LONDON – Ashley is 16. She’s lived in Medway for 15 years and 6 months. She has 2,354 leaflets on sexual health. She knows exactly how many she has, because she’s counted them 1,582 times… At 7.48pm tonight, she will have been going out with Ollie for exactly 3 months, which she thinks means it’s time to take their relationship to the next level; especially given her position as their school’s resident expert on sexual health. But what if counting leaflets can’t protect Ashley from getting hurt when she decides to take her biggest risk yet?

1 in 10 young people experience a mental health problem, but how do you go about discussing this with your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Directed by Grace Gummer and written by Natalie Mitchell, the play draws on Mitchell’s own mental health experiences, and the painful yet often funny stories collected during an extensive research and development process with young people, school councillors, and Mental Health Services across Medway in Kent.

Says writer Natalie Mitchell: “”GFA is probably my most personal piece of work. I wrote it when I was still undergoing treatment for my own struggles with OCD, and the authenticity of my experiences permeates the whole play. Just as importantly however is the way it represents the young people of Medway. An area geographically close to London, but a million miles away in terms of opportunity and experience. One young audience member summed it up: ‘Why would anyone want to write about Medway?'”

“Well I do. Because there’s nothing more important than seeing yourselves reflected from onstage or onscreen- something working class people, particularly from outside of cities, rarely do. The Bunker production is a way to continue the work we started in Medway. A way to reach out to people who don’t normally go to the theatre, listen to them, and create a play which reflected them and their experiences, making them feel relevant. Whilst also being a f*cking brilliant piece of art.”

Germ Free Adolescent plays from 29th October to 9th November 2019 at The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU. For tickets, visit their website here


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