Winner of the inaugural Through the Mill Prize and shortlisted for the Papatango Prize, Park Theatre and Hope Mill Theatre present brand-new play ANIMAL, exploring how disability, sexuality and lust co-exist for people who require round the clock assistance.
Written by Jon Bradfield (Ghosted: Another F***ing Christmas Carol, The Other Palace Theatre; Missing Alice, BBC4) and developed by disability activist and equality trainer Josh Hepple, ANIMAL is an authentic, hilarious, and heart-breaking look at hook-up culture, navigating relationships and how they intersect with practical needs and social barriers for disabled people.
The play tours to Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, the Tobacco Factory in Bristol and Park Theatre in London.
Christopher John-Slater (All of Us, National Theatre; The Dumping Ground, CBBC) plays David – gay, disabled and profoundly horny. David can’t eat, drink or shower by himself without an assistant, let alone the rest… Totally inexperienced and refusing to let his impairment stop him, David embarks on a sexual and romantic odyssey, armed with wit, charm and impressive nudes – although somebody else had to take them.
ANIMAL looks at how one man tries to keep it casual whilst relying on completely non-casual care. Can David juggle the uncertainty of romance, the crudeness of sexting and navigating Grindr, all whilst relying on assistance? Or in the end, maybe prejudice is the biggest disability of all?
Writer Jon Bradfield comments, It’s a dream for a writer to have someone bring them such an affecting, provocative and indeed fun subject, and an honour that Josh thought I had the voice to tell such a story as ANIMAL. Sex, sexual currency, affection, and the way we navigate all kinds of relationships are matters that affect us all and exploring how they intersect with the practical needs and social barrier encountered by someone who has severe impairments has been eye- opening and world-expanding. I wouldn’t be the right person to attempt an issue play “about disability”, but with Josh as my guide and collaborator I’ve loved crafting this distinctive story and creating a central character I hope will prove memorable, complex, funny and empathetic.”