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Unscorched - casting announced

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

RONAN Raftery (Juno and the Paycock, National Theatre; The Shawshank Redemption, West End; Fresh Meat) and John Hodgkinson (A Walk On Part, National Tour; The Seagull, National Theatre; Skyfall; Peep Show) will lead the cast of Unscorched, which runs at Finborough Theatre from October 29 to November 23, 2013.

Completing the cast will be Richard Atwill, George Turvey and Eleanor Wyld.

Unscorched is directed by Justin Audibert and designed by Georgia Lowe, with lighting by Joshua Carr and sound by Richard Hammarton.

Previously Posted: Luke Owen’s debut play Unscorched, winner of the 2013 Papatango New Writing Prize, will run at the Finborough Theatre for four weeks (from Tuesday, October 29 to Saturday, November 23, 2013) following a development week at Bristol Old Vic Theatre.

Unscorched, by 30-year-old Luke Owen, is described as a delicate and unashamed exploration of the taboos of working in child protection.

Tom spends all his days surfing the net…Because Tom works in child protection.

Faced with watching recordings of the most unforgivable crimes on a daily basis, in a job that barely anyone else can endure, Tom struggles to retain his humanity. Meeting Emily might just mean his life has changed for the better, but when your entire working life is spent watching the most terrible of crimes, can you ever go home and say “I love you”?

The Internet Watch Foundation estimates there are 50,000 – 60,000 regular viewers of child pornography in the UK alone. With reports of footage of abuse rising by 42% in the last six months, Unscorched examines the impact on those analysts confronting such footage every day.

An astonishing début play from a first-time playwright, Unscorched was chosen unanimously from more than 500 entries by a panel including the four members of Papatango – George Turvey, Matt Roberts, Sam Donovan and Chris Foxon – together with Neil McPherson, Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre, and Francis Grin, Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre. All scripts were judged anonymously.

Owen was inspired to write Unscorched because “I’m familiar with the challenge of living with a difficult past and the legacy it leaves. There are a number of plays that deal with the immediate effect of child abuse, but very few I’ve found that deal with what happens years and years down the line. I also wanted to write a play about what people do with the aftermath of child abuse, and the impact that working in child protection might have on a person.”

Previous winners of the Papatango New Writing Prize include Dawn King’s Foxfinder (2011), which was one of The Independent’s Top Five Plays of the Year, won playwright Dawn King the OffWestEnd Award for Most Promising Playwright and a prestigious Pearson Award bursary through the Finborough Theatre, won the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Newcomer Award for director Blanche McIntyre, and was nominated for OffWestEnd Awards for Best New Play and Best Male Performance. Foxfinder has transferred to Sweden and the USA and will soon premiere in Australia.

Pack (2012) by Louise Monaghan was described by Michael Billington in The Guardian as “knocks spots off much of the new writing I have seen”. Monaghan has since gone on to develop work with Octagon Theatre, Bolton, and is now under commission to the BBC.

The first winner of the Prize, Dominic Mitchell, is currently receiving huge acclaim for his BBC series In The Flesh, having been discovered and championed by Papatango who produced Potentials, his first ever show.

Papatango’s mission is to find the best and brightest new talent in the UK with an absolute commitment to bringing their work to the stage. To that end, they have produced sixteen pieces of new writing in venues including the Tristan Bates Theatre, the Old Red Lion Theatre and the Pleasance London. The Papatango New Writing Prize was launched in 2009, since 2011 in partnership with the Finborough Theatre.

To find out more about Papatango, visit www.papatango.co.uk/.