2022 recipient of the Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve, Vision Production Company take a raw look at inner-city life in Britain today in their debut show Rapsody.
Join Elz, Jams, Toni and latest arrival Jaime, as they confront the realities of our modern-day class system through live rap, trap and drill. Living in a hostel and battling impossible odds, their worlds are upended by the arrival of a newcomer from a privileged background, with deeply held religious beliefs.
As the dynamics of the hostel begin to shift, all four struggle to get by, rapping the things they can’t bring themselves to say. And, although they all want things to change, none of them know the right words to ask for help. Over the course of a few days, their personal and collective journeys are shifted beyond repair; this exciting new company ask if these changes are fulfilling or even more damaging. Telling the story of those living in precarious housing conditions, the music of rap allows them to speak their truth when words just aren’t enough.
Writers Oli Dunbar and Corey Weekes comment, Rapsody is important because it is a working class story told by working class people. It isn’t a poverty porn project – it is a real reflection of real people within our society who are shunned and stigmatised. We show them to be the complex human beings they are and not just a caricature as would often be the case in theatre. Being the recipient of the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve is an honour that we don’t take lightly. It has made it possible to give Rapsody the resources we feel the show deserves. The fact the Pleasance has recognised the quality of the work, rather than brushing it to the side as something that should be done at school and communities like most do, is humbling. We know this story deserves to be main-staged and to have the backing of such a prestigious award makes us feel proud and gives us hope for the future of the industry.
Writer Corey Weekes founded Vision Centre for Actors in Birmingham in 2020. With a view to bridge the gap in the industry, Vision offers free acting classes to a cohort of talented aspiring actors aged 16-30 who come from financial difficulty. Despite the organisation being in its infancy, alumni have gone on both to be awarded places at prestigious drama schools as well as gaining agent representation to work professionally.