You don’t know me but…                        Review by Melanie Osbourne 5*

After almost six months with no theatre performances I was extremely excited about reviewing a new local show. However, when I would normally be catching a taxi, meeting a friend and gathering in the theatre bar for drinks, I was sat on my sofa , the dog by my side and the phone in my hand waiting for a call.

This COVID friendly way to access theatre is B4arts and Stute Theatre’s latest way of reaching out to the community and tackling the social issues that face us today. “You don’t know me but… “ is a one woman show, performed by the brilliant Sophia Hatfield. It is an intimate portrayal of a care workers day during the COVID lockdown.

On answering the phone, I am greeted by a cheery voice welcoming me to the ‘theatre’ and showing me to the’ auditorium’. I hear the noise I have missed so much for the past five months. The pre theatre bustle and hum. The wonderful noise of people, chatting, catching up and socialising. I then hear the sudden hush and I imagine the lights going down and the stage lights up as “Vick” takes centre stage. We all know Vick, we’ve passed her in the street or in the shops. Vick has been one of the many people who has not been on furlough but has still been working 12 hours days, through thick and thin in a care home. Possibly one of the worst hit sectors by COVID ,the Vicks in the world have been our true heroes.

For twenty minutes we are taken into her world. The world of caring for the most vulnerable members of society and keeping them safe in a world that is more confusing than ever.

Sophia-Hatfield-you-don't-know-me-play
Sophia Hatfield

‘You don’t know me but’ is based in a care home in Stoke, Vick is a salt of the earth Stokie and the soft caring accent is warm and comforting. Prior to writing the play Sophia spent time communicating with staff and residents at a care home in Stoke and gained inspiration which shaped the play.

Throughout lockdown there have been opportunities to watch shows via Zoom, or You Tube. But the difference with this is that the person talking in your ear could be your friend, your mum, or your sister. It takes immersive theatre to a whole new level as you feel immediately connected to Vick and her story. There are moments of light relief whilst you chuckle at a bittersweet moment, and there are intense emotional discoveries which leave you open mouthed and heart broken.

As the play ended it took a few moments to bring my mind out of the experience and back into reality as Sophia greeted me as herself on the other side. COVID has meant we have had to refocus and change how we do things. Telephone theatre is a revolution and a way of reaching out to those who could not normally access theatre.
Just book a slot, find a quiet space and make a cup of tea. For me this lit a light in a dark time and paves the way for more alternative live entertainment which is socially distancing friendly – and receives 5 Stars from me – Melanie Osbourne.

You Don’t Know Me But…’ is a new Telephone Theatre play, written and performed by winning theatre maker Sophia Hatfield and directed by Olivier Award Winning Theatre and BBC Radio Director Gwenda Hughes. This is a Stute Theatre and B Arts Production.
This show will virtually tour during Autumn 2020, allowing isolated audience members the opportunity to book and experience a real live theatre performance, without leaving their homes.

Inspired by real memories and interviews from a care home in Stoke-on-Trent, this innovative piece tells the hidden stories of care across generations. This unique play celebrates the dedication and spirit of workers and residents n care homes across the UK.

TOUR DATES  – Virtual Tour Venues: Tuesday 22 September – Saturday 26 September B Arts, Stoke-on-Trent
Box Office/Booking Enquiries: 0800 689 0018

Tuesday 29 September – Saturday 3r​d​ October Kirklees Libraries, Kirklees
Box Office/Booking Enquiries: 0800 689 0018

Tuesday 6t​ h​ October – Saturday 10t​h​ October Kirkgate Arts & Arts Out West, West Cumbria
Please see ​www.stutetheatre.co.uk/youdontknowmebut​ for up to date booking details

Tuesday 13t​h​ October – Saturday 17t​h​ October Ilkley Literature Festival Box Office/Booking Enquiries: ​01943 816714

Tuesday 20t​h​ – Saturday 14t​h​ October Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, Cheshire
Please see ​www.stutetheatre.co.uk/youdontknowmebut​ for up to date booking details

Tuesday 27t​h​ – Saturday 31s​t​ October Tameside Libraries and Culture, Tameside Box Office/Booking Enquiries: 0800 689 0018

Friday 6t​h​ and Saturday 7t​h​ November TBC Please see ​www.stutetheatre.co.uk/youdontknowmebut​ for up to date booking details

Tuesday 10t​h​ – Saturday 14t​h​ November B Arts, Stoke on Trent Box Office/Booking Enquiries: 0800 689 0018

Tuesday 17t​h​ and Wednesday 18t​h​ November M6 Theatre Rochdale
Box Office/Booking Enquiries TBC Please see ​www.stutetheatre.co.uk/youdontknowmebut​ for up to date booking details

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