Everything you need to know about the stage adaptation of Alex Wheatle's novel, Home Girl

Tickets for Derby Theatre's brand-new stage adaptation of Alex Wheatle’s novel Home Girl are now on general sale at a reduced capacity. Here's everything you need to know...

What is Home Girl?

The production of Home Girl is a unique and exciting co-creation and collaboration between Alex Wheatle MBENathan Powell and Sarah Kolawole, the Theatre, Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership, professional care-experienced young people and other young theatre makers.

The adaptation will be performed by a professional company of actors and young performers and will be co-directed by Sarah Brigham and Bryn Holding.

When's it on?

Home Girl will play on the main stage at Derby Theatre for three performances only this summer, on Friday 30 July at 5.30pm and on Saturday 31 July at 2.30pm and 7.00pm.

About the Show

Home Girl tells the story of Naomi, a teenage girl growing up fast in the care system, a wholly modern story which sheds a much-needed light on what can be an unsettling life - and the consequences that can follow when children are treated like pawns on a family chessboard.

When fourteen-year-old white girl Naomi is placed with a Black foster care family, her life takes some dramatic twists and turns.

"This isn’t my home. Haven’t had a proper home since . . . This is just somewhere I’ll be resting my bones for a week and maybe a bit. This time next year you’ll forget who I am. I haven’t got a diddly where I’ll be by then. But I’m used to it."

How To Book

Standard tickets are £15 and tickets for under 26s are just £5.

Book online or call the Box Office on 01332 59 39 39 - our phone and counter service is now available on Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10am - 2pm.

PLEASE NOTE: Home Girl will initially be on-sale at a reduced and limited capacity, but not socially distanced, whilst we await the next update in relation to the roadmap announcement for events after 21 June.

Book Tickets

About the Writers

Alex Wheatle MBE is an award-winning author who won the Guardian Children’s Book Award in 2016 (for Crongton Knights) and Home Girl is one of the Crongton series of novels. The fourth film in Steve McQueen's highly acclaimed Small Axe series (entitled ALEX WHEATLE) which aired on BBC One a few months ago and recently nominated for a BAFTA, is based on Alex's life, his experience in care, his teenage years in Brixton and being jailed after the Brixton Uprising in 1981.

Nathan Powell is a Director and Writer who makes new work that invites people into the theatre with open arms and a smile. He makes work that feels accessible to people that are not regular theatregoers, whilst giving regular theatregoers an exciting night of something new.

Sarah ‘Rain’ Kolawole is a Spoken Word artist, poet, Soho Theatre alumni playwright and Associate Artist of Nottingham Playhouse. Sarah is originally from Nottingham and has been writing poetry and performing spoken word for approximately 16 years and has been playwriting for five. 

Alex Wheatle MBE said: 
“As a care-experienced writer, it’s really heart-warming that the Home Girl theatre project is being created, led and shaped by young care-experienced people. It’s a joy working with the young people, Derby Theatre and its partners.”

Home Girl - The Project

The Home Girl theatre project began its journey when Alex Wheatle joined an online weekly book club during lockdown with members of the Theatre’s Plus One programme, a Derby Theatre-led, award-winning scheme for young people in care and care leavers, which is also part of the Esmée Fairbain Leaving Care Programme. 

Each week, Alex and the young people read chapters of the book, as well as discussing and exploring creative, on-stage opportunities for the story.

Following on from these sessions, the project aims were further established, and the next step was to issue a writing commission opportunity for professional writers to adapt the novel for performance, in collaboration with young theatre makers aged 14-25.

Through a selection process, led by the young people, Nathan Powell and Sarah ‘Rain’ Kolawole were appointed as co-writers to work on the adaptation.

A young writer, Anisa Archer has also been given the opportunity to work with Nathan and Sarah on the adaptation.

Plus One session © Chris Webb

Alix Manning-Jones (Derby’s Cultural Education Producer) said: “During lockdown, we set-up an online book club with our Plus One young people. We sent out copies of Alex’s book and invited them to join in a weekly online book club session which provided a safe space for our young people and consistency at the time they needed it the most.

We were honoured that Alex joined us every week, and we read chapters of the book together, discussing the characters and creatively exploring the ideas around the music, poetry and our vision of what the story would look like on stage.

This is such an exciting opportunity for our young people and an inspiring first step into bringing such an iconic story to life to which many care-experienced young people can relate.”

Over the past few months, Alex, the Theatre, the writers, the young people and Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre’s Artistic Director, have worked together on shaping the story into a one-act play that will be performed at Derby Theatre this summer.

Reimagine Future Creatives logo

Future Creatives

At the heart of the overall Home Girl project, sits Future Creatives, an initiative which offers a range of exciting, hands-on opportunities for young people aged 14-25 to be involved in different stages of the creative and production process, including set and costume design, lighting, production, marketing, film and photography.

As part of the process, each young person is being mentored by a professional who works and specialises in each area. Anisa Archer is the Future Creatives Writer.

Future Creatives is part of Reimagine, one of 5 National pilot programmes, funded through Arts Council England and DMCS as part of the Youth Performance Partnership Fund. Supporting children and young people to engage with high quality co-created theatre making and shine the light on career opportunities that are available within the industry. 

Book Tickets

On sale from Sat 22 May, 10am