New play alert: SparkPlug at York Theatre Royal Studio

“He’s got two Dads, my lad. One’s black. That makes him black. I suppose.”

The latest offering from Box of Tricks looks particularly interested. This brand new play by David Judge is also being performed by the talented writer/actor. It’s interestingly being directed by Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder, so there is a collaborative creative energy around the piece.

SparkPlug is a poetic exploration of family, race, identity and love. It tells the story of Dave, a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child. Set in Manchester in 1983, the energetic monologue explores what it really means to be a family.

Dual heritage writer David Judge has been inspired by autobiographical events. It doesn’t hold back and will explore the harsh reality of racism, violence and masculinity. Hopefully the play will get people talking about these themes a bit more openly. By understanding one another, as a society we are far more likely to be inclusive and open. As many people already know, diversity should be celebrated and encouraged.

Writer David Judge said: “As a ‘man of colour’ my voice as a writer has become a valued weapon, loaded and aimed at those without. As a ‘man of colour’ I sometimes feel pressured to speak for a community I know nothing of and feel I am being recruited to hate those without, the ‘white man’.

“This fight both inside and outside of myself makes me question where my loyalties lie. Who am I loyal to? And who to me? The answers are straightforward; my biological Father, my ‘Black’ left me before I was born; my biological Mother, my ‘Blood’ left me when I was seven years old; the only person who stuck by me, from boy to man, who grew and shaped me into the man I am today was a white man. A white man with love and hate tattooed on his knuckles, with a ginger perm, with a Ford Capri, with Rod Stewart constantly on the stereo. So out of my loyalty to him, I have used my voice to write a play about the man who made me one. My Father. I hope it’s enjoyed.”

Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder said: “SparkPlug is one of the most exciting plays I’ve ever read, David’s writing has an energy and potency that I have rarely experienced before. The play is bold and unflinching in its portrayal of real, flawed human beings struggling to do their best, and be their best.

“David’s story explores family, racism, violence and masculinity making an honest, clear-eyed comment on attitudes towards ethnicity in this country. But at its heart, SparkPlug is a play about love, the enormous love of one man for his son despite all that life throws at him.”

SparkPlug was a finalist for the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play 2017, showing its high standard. Writer David Judge has an incredible career history as a writer, performer and spoken word artist so it’s certainly an opportunity to see his earlier work as it’s more than likely he’ll become a big thing in coming years. 

The show is being produced by Box of Tricks, a Manchester-based theatre company that champions the next generation of playwrights. Companies like Box of Tricks are so important to artists and to the industry, so do go along and support the production if you can. 

Catch SparkPlug at York Theatre Royal Studio on 19th and 20th March.

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