In a Guest Blog post, director Luke Davies looks at the themes within new production Fat Jewels, playing at The Hope Theatre this July:

No-one would be foolish enough to argue that what is needed in the present climate is a play about men and manliness with an all-male cast. And yet…

In the UK, three quarters of all suicides are men. Men make up over 90% of the prison population and over 85% of the homeless population. You are three times more likely to have alcohol dependency issues if you are male, and three times more likely to commit a violent crime.

Fat Jewels Hope Theatre

In spite of all this, according to NHS figures far more women report having mental health issues than men, and far more search for psychological therapies.

Something is stopping men from owning up to their problems and from seeking help. It doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to see that this might be linked to the examples of unchecked male mistreatment of women that captured the public imagination last year.

Hearing men out may be the last thing we want to do – especially when men already do three quarters of the talking in Film and TV as a whole. And yet it seems that hearing men out is exactly what we must do…

And so Joe Skelton’s new play Fat Jewels, on at the Hope Theatre throughout July 2018, is an attempt to do just that.

Fat Jewels Hope Theatre

It’s an exploration of masculinity set in a South Yorkshire council estate – telling the story of two lonely, dispossessed men: one separated from his wife and child; the other living at home with his mother and struggling to control his violent thoughts.

The play implicitly asks: why are these men so isolated? What makes them turn to violence? And what can be done to help them?

Fat Jewels Hope Theatre

The hope is that Fat Jewels can encourage audiences to recognize and hopefully better understand the driving forces behind the current crisis in male mental health, and as such it is a small step in the direction of encouraging openness and discussion.

 

 

Fat Jewels runs at The Hope Theatre from 3 – 21 July 2018. For more information, please visit the website.