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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Resilient streams: Safe @HackneyEmpire

Titling a piece "Safe" at the moment evokes all sorts of meanings. Is it about going out in London? Is it about social distancing and testing? Is it about the latest vaccine? But don't one needs not have a pandemic.  Here, safe is about the basic need for young people to grow up in a safe and supportive environment. Particularly when they are discovering that they lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer. 

In this verbatim piece, writer Alexis Gregory weaves together a series of stories about the lives of young people and the fine line between being accepted and being on the street. The young people are trying to find their identity while their families, religion, race and class are forcing them to be categorised, classified and standardised into something else. 

Taken from interviews with young people met through the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) with live music and additional words by poet Yrsa Daley it sets out how easy it can be to fall into poverty, abuse and addiction without the right opportunities support and acceptance.  According to AKT charity,  a quarter of all homeless or at-risk youth identify as LGBTQ+.

It's compelling and told with conviction by the young cast. Sounds, lighting, and quick edits support the central message of young people rediscovering their potential. And while it's a struggle for survival, this one is also hopeful for the future.  

Safe launches tonight online via the Hackney Empire site and Youtube. The free stream is in partnership with Hackney Empire and supported by Park Theatre, with funding from Arts Council England.

There's also an online launch event and 'post-show talk, with hosts and guests alongside the cast and creative team. The premiere stream is at 7 pm, followed by the event at 8 pm. 

Directed Alexis Gregory and Hosted on the Hackney Empire website and on Youtube, Safe is available to stream from tonight.

Photos by Jane Hobson

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