by Sarah Miller
As part of our 20 year anniversary celebrations we are re-staged one of the 1st Apprenticed Actors shows that we produced, Ice Baby by Salford based writer, Sarah Miller.
Ice Baby was commissioned in 2007. It is about a 17-year-old mum, her mates and what happens one cold winters night. It is about a young person trying to do the right thing in an environment where she has no resources and no support of any description. Since 2007 the rates of teenage pregnancy in the UK have dropped significantly.
No one is quite sure why. However, what hasn't changed are poverty and bad housing, both of which significantly affect our young people.
Ice baby is set in Daniel Blake's UK and is as relevant today as when it was written.
Director Rachel Ashton
Designer Kate Unwin
Lighting Design Chris Whitwood
Sound Technician Damian Rose
Stage Manager Gary Bridgens
Composer Phill Gregg
Apprentice DSM Daniel Hardie
Apprentice Technician Jon Bissett
Company Manager George Floyd
Background by Sarah Miller
I was sitting in a car in Manchester when a news story came on the radio. A woman had just received a two-year prison sentence for leaving her baby in a car on a winter’s night and going clubbing. I’m a parent and, I admit, my first reaction was one of severe judgement. ‘What kind of person does that?’ I thought. ‘Bad Mother!’
I couldn’t stop thinking about it and decided I wanted to write something. Not a telling of the news story (which I did originally research) but a fiction that used elements of it, which might have more complex circumstances that would turn that initial judgement on its head and perhaps say something about what it’s like to be young mum, unsupported, isolated and poor and constantly being judged by everyone.
A folk tale about goblins stealing a baby that was not being watched and replacing it with an ice baby, I’d told to my own daughter when she was small, kept creeping into my mind and I found that fairy story intertwining with the very ‘real’ contemporary story I was developing.
I remembered the overwhelming feelings of being a new parent. Of a constantly crying baby, when washing seemed to fill our whole flat and sleep was an elusive commodity. I talked to several teenage parents about their experiences and tried to find a way of creating a play that was honest and reflected the things they were saying yet presented the themes in a new way. What I finally made was Ice Baby.
Most of the time writers want their work to continue to be relevant, but with Ice Baby I had hopes that a decade or so later it wouldn’t be.
Sadly, with the cuts to essential services, the closing of Surestart centres, the terrible housing situation for so many that’s compounded by young people having more difficulty accessing benefits, by food poverty and foodbank use on the rise and the regular demonisation of the poor and disadvantaged in the media, it feels like Leanne’s story is as relevant as ever.
Heather Robertson Leanne
Jolyon Stephenson Mold/Tone
Perry Stretton-Platt Stinkrot/Gaz/Tyce
Faye Haigh Trix/Tash