Romeo/Juliet Director’s Note

Young people have been hit the hardest by the current so-called ‘austerity’ and growing up in a country that doesn’t value you because of your age is bound to have consequences.

Romeo and Juliet, for me, is not a love story. It is a story about passion: love and hate. And, critically, it’s a story of what happens when society creates a moral vacuum that is then exploited by the younger generation.

I believe we are all responsible for our own actions. The young Londoners who are caught up in today’s cycle of gang violence cannot be excused by saying it’s all society’s fault. However, neither can the people who are creating a society that picks on and punishes people just for being young be excused.  These people in power – and those who are silently allowing these cuts to happen – cannot be excused either.   We are speedily heading towards a society where young people feel like second-class citizens, where they are not valued, where their lives seem worthless. How can this be excused?

This production is set before the next general election in 2020, and tells the tale through the eyes of young people who have lived through today’s austerity cuts. In this world that young people have not created they are left to make painful mistakes that cannot be unwritten.

13 teenagers have been fatally stabbed in London so far in 2015. This is up from 8 in 2014.  In London, knife crime is on the increase and over one teenager a month is dying at the end of a knife blade. How can we so silently let this happen? I’ll leave the final word to Akala, a London rapper who speaks brilliantly for this generation:

Get ’em to the point where some are so lost
They actually believe that
If they don’t celebrate killin’ themselves off
That it’s because they’re soft

The Director would like to thank:
Cec, and the staff at the Rosemary Branch Theatre and pub. Kim, Emma, David, Mauro, Caitlin and all on the KDC Committee.  Andy Marchant. Nick Edwards and the cast and crew of Breathing Corpses. Katy Treble, Peter Cabrera and the cast and crew of Night Night, Sleep Tight. Carl Fletcher. Mike and the staff at the Hoop and Grapes pub in Farringdon. Chris Gilbert. Kate Moore.

Duncan Moore, November 2015