Ardent Theatre Company today announces the first revival of Philip Osment’s This Island’s Mine, three decades after it was originally performed by Gay Sweatshop. The production opens at the King’s Head Theatre on 17 May, with previews from 15 May, until 8 June.
“Eyes smarting, Heart aching, From the pangs of first love.” 1988. Thatcher’s Britain.
Seventeen-year-old Luke runs away to London – away from homophobic playground slurs, headlines that scream ‘Don’t Teach Our Children To Be Gay’ and a family who wouldn’t understand him – to Uncle Martin, who he once saw with his arms around another man at a march.
In the capital, Mark is sacked because of fears about colleagues working with ‘someone like him’. His boyfriend, Selwyn, faces being beaten up both by the police and at home by his own stepbrother. Meanwhile, Debbie battles with her son, who doesn’t want to live with her and her girlfriend. And retired piano teacher Miss Rosenblum – who once found refuge in this country from a terror that swept away half her family in 1930s Vienna – has seen this sort of hatred and fear before.
Soon, these individual stories – of first loves and old flames, alliances and abandonment, missed opportunities and new chances – intertwine to paint a vivid picture of Eighties Britain.
This Island’s Mine was originally performed by Gay Sweatshop in 1988. Now, three decades after the introduction of Section 28 banning positive representations of homosexuality, Philip Osment’s passionate and lyrical play, of outsiders, exiles and refugees, is all too resonant.
Writer Philip Osment said today, “I am delighted that the play is being staged for a whole new generation of audiences. One of the company’s producers Mark Sands saw the play while he was still at college when the Gay Sweatshop production toured to his home town in 1988. It is heartening to know that he was inspired by that experience to work tirelessly to make this revival happen some thirty years later.”