The musical Streets started life in the summer of 2012, when Scottish composer Finn Anderson took the production to Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, with The Festival Journal highlighting the piece as one of their Top 5 Picks.
Three months later Streets arrives at The Cockpit Theatre having been further developed with the help of Interval Productions, a company founded in 2009 with the aim to give young actors and creatives a platform to showcase their raw talent.
The show is advertised as ‘A New Kind Of Musical’. We usually assume musicals to be made up of cheesy songs and dances, however just as Finn said after the show, Streets is definitely “not a ‘pretty’ show and there are no jazz hands”.
Finn explained to me why he chose to marry such serious themes with the often lighthearted genre of Musical Theatre.
I wanted to bring a representation of what life is like for many young people in the UK to the stage.
I am passionate about musical theatre but feel that, despite some groundbreaking shows, people still have a lot of negative preconceptions about the genre. I hoped that this show would challenge some of the things people tend to associate with the musical stage.
Being centred around the London riots and exploring themes of youth culture, gangs, violence and drug abuse, you would be forgiven for thinking Streets would be a male dominated play.
One of the main factors that differentiates Streets from most films and plays that explore similar themes though, is that the production boasts just as many strong female characters as it does male.
One of these great females is Robyn – a feisty and street wise young woman. We get to see exactly where those attributes stem from when Sian Louise – who plays Robyn – gives a moving performance, revealing the real extent of Robyn’s vulnerability and insecurities whilst learning that she has to care for her drug addicted mother, and watching her come to terms with her boyfriend Rick following the same path.
Sian explained why receiving the role of Robyn was “a dream part”.
It’s not often you get the chance to play such an extreme range of emotions. The challenge for me was to show a true reflection of Robyn’s journey, I had to do her justice.
The topics are raw and will hit a nerve with the entire audience. I feel honoured to be given the chance to tell Robyn’s story.
Tori Allen-Martin, the co-founder of Interval Productions. As well as bringing her own vocal abilities to the production, performing alongside self taught beat boxer Pikey Esquire’s, Tori also co-wrote Streets with Sarah Henley.
Streets was funded completely by Interval Productions, and all the actors, dancers and creatives gave their time and talent for free. Tori expressed how she sees the run at Cockpit Theatre only as the beginning for Streets, and would love for the play to “get a bit more of a life”.
A three or six month run at a theatre with a similar ethos to ours – a bit more time, a budget – a budget would be nice!
I’d just like the luxury of funds and time to perfect it… we received a standing ovation on our FIRST preview, I couldn’t believe it – but it just makes me think, if we can do that on nothing, in no time, imagine what we could do in six months with a bit of money.
Streets was an immensely strong and thought provoking piece, highlighting issues which show exactly why it isn’t so easy or simple to keep on the straight and narrow as a young person in London.
Streets is showing at The Cockpit Theatre until Sunday 21 April 2013.