Once a year, Graeae partners with a UK venue to host a showcase of short plays by Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers written in response to a predetermined theme. This years theme is ‘a fork in the road.’
The next Crips with Chips will take place at Liverpool Everyman on Saturday, 24 February 2024, 7:30pm.
Introducing our writers and directors of the plays.
Absolute Legend by Matthew Gabrielli
Directed by Anthony Gough
At the site of King Arthur’s final resting place, a man meets his high school bully.
Matthew Gabrielli is an award-winning playwright, based in Birmingham but originally from the North-West. He describes his work as telling tales and having adventures, he’s interested in speculative fiction, weird tales and folklore. In 2023 he won the Lancaster Playwriting Prize for his play Fool’s Gold. In 2022 his play Zombiegate has a 3-week run at Theatre 503. In 2021 he created the immersive theatre experience The Lapworth Experiment at the Lapworth Museum of Geology. His short plays have been performed in venues across the country. As well as his theatre work, he is also developing a number of projects for audio and screen.
‘It’s a very difficult time to be a playwright working in British Theatre right now. To have this opportunity from Graeae, to share a new story with audiences really means a lot. Absolute Legend is a funny and energetic play which explores a lot of things I’ve been obsessed with for a while; class in rural communities, folklore and how the stories we tell about our past shape our present. I started my playwriting life on the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse young writers’ programme, so to have this play performed at the Everyman feels like coming home.’
References to drug taking, sexual activity, ableist attitudes (in particular being neurodivergent in mainstream schools). References to derogatory attitudes and statements about working class children and deals with the trauma of living with a terminal medical condition.
Gather your party before venturing forth by Bobby Brill
Directed by Nicole Joseph
A medieval fantasy role-playing game facilitates a very difficult conversation.
Bobby Brill (he/they) is a white disabled artist and crip doula. He is a UK medical cannabis patient and advocate, and writes about queer cripple joy, relationships, access and finding purpose after trauma. Their special interests include videogames, hip hop and horses. Bobby’s favourite stims are slowed phonk and the rain.
‘I’m so excited and honoured to see my writing performed at Crips with Chips this year. The theme of a fork in the road reminded me of how we’re able to effectively “rewind time” and make different choices in video games and plays with how we choose to open up to the people we love in conversation.’
Housing instability & homelessness, references to illness & death. Cannabis use and mention of illegal drugs.
Thirst by Karen Featherstone
Directed by Laura Guthrie
In the far future, a search for water becomes a search for something more.
A disabled playwright, Karen Featherstone is an alumna of Graeae’s year-long Write To Play progamme. Her works have featured at theatres around the UK, including the National Theatre Studio, Hampstead Theatre, Oldham Coliseum, in a Little Pieces of Gold showcase at Southwark Playhouse and at Cumbria’s Theatre by the Lake. Her first solo show I Surrender! premiered at the Lancashire Fringe and recently she was an R&D contributor to the development of a new show by YESYESNONO (We Were Promised Honey). A self-performed monologue sharing is coming up soon with Radical Bodies. Karen is also a screenwriter and has written for Radios 3 and 4.
‘I’ve always been interested in how strength of belief (in anything) can affect an outcome. There are strong opinions about water dowsing. Some think its success, when it happens, is the result of random chance. Others think if a dowser finds water, it can be explained by science. Many think it’s meaningless nonsense, yet some UK water companies were using dowsers right up until 2017. With THIRST I wanted to look at two people with very different beliefs, under pressure, in a life-or-death scenario in a future of water scarcity. And I wanted to explore how, when someone has a very different opinion to you, resisting the impulse to call them ‘stupid’ is hard, but it’s worthwhile if we want to make room for nuance.’
Janus by Maddie Farnhill
Directed by Nicole Joseph
A lamb born with two heads forces a wedge between a father and daughter.
Madeleine is a playwright and actor from Yorkshire. She is the Artistic Director and Writer for Sheffield-based theatre company Black Bright Theatre, and a member of Sheffield Theatre’s 2024 Bank Cohort. She studied MA Drama Writing at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Her first play The Hunger debuted in Sheffield, toured the North and performed at Assembly at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her second play How to Get to Eudemonia was commissioned for the 2023 Mountview Directors Showcase, and an extract of her script Stag was staged in the Weston Studio at Bristol Old Vic. Madeleine primarily writes regional, female-led theatre with folk horror influences. She seeks to bring a darker, weirder experience to the stage that is charged with gender and environmentalist politics.
I’m so excited to work with an extraordinary creative team to animate ‘JANUS’ into horrible life! Expect unnerving physicality, fully incorporated BSL and dark familial relationships.
Animal abuse, violence, references to domestic abuse, references to alcoholism, some strong language.
Adam Fenton, Maisy Gordon, Milton Lopes, Nadia Nadarajah and Mark Lockyer