Stephen Joseph Theatre OutReach presents Grubstaker, a dark comedy brought to the stage using crime proceeds from convicted loan sharks.
The play premieres at the theatre on 23 January at 7.45pm and is free to ages 26 and under. It has been commissioned by the Illegal Money Lending Team and marks the first play for York-born writer S. Alexander Briggs, who is also the theatre’s box office manager.
When Hal Gregory is presented with the difficult circumstances in life, a visit from the ominous Grubstaker and his Associates promises to answer his problems. He soon finds his choices send him into a recurring nightmare, worse than hell, where grown men beg for the beating they receive.
Grubstaker is a dark comedy created in response to a commission from the Illegal Money Lending Team, which has a branch in Scarborough. It reveals the ease with which people can become victim to loan sharks and how quickly their lives can spiral out of control.
An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to a loan shark. The England Illegal Money Lending Team has so far prosecuted more than 320 loan sharks across the country.
Alexander is a member of the Stephen Joseph Theatre OutReach Write Stuff creative writing course and was asked by director Cheryl Govan to devise the piece.
He said: “Working with the Illegal Money Lending Team has been a real eye opener. Seeing emotional interviews with loan shark victims made us determined to raise awareness of this practice.
“Whilr there is a strong message behind the play, we have set out to create something that is accessible to everyone.
“Grubstaker attempts to throw the audience into the mind of a loan shark victim. Desperation, fear, confusion and anxiety all play their part and produce a world where the lines between nightmare and reality begin to fade.”
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said “Loan sharks are a scourge on our communities, making life a misery for their victims. We would always urge victims of loan sharks to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222”
Grubstaker can be seen in the McCarthy on Saturday January23 at 7.45pm. The play is suitable for ages 14 and over. Tickets are priced at £6.50 for ages 26 and over and are available from the box office on 01723 370541.