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All Write Jack: creating The Unsociables

John Freeman
Writer Jack HathawayA Lancaster sixth former has helped to write a play about last summer’s riots which is now performing at The Dukes.

Jack Hathaway is just 18 but he’s already been appointed The Dukes young writer in residence and has been working with a team, including an awardwinning writer, to create one of the most energetic shows ever presented on the Lancaster theatre’s main stage. 

And he’s done all this while studying for A-Levels at Ripley St Thomas CE Academy.

The Unsociables is a fast-paced production reflecting on 48 hours of chaos, violence and criminality on a scale unseen for many years in England. (Check out our review, here)

It follows individual stories and imagines the experience of the young people, police and everyone else involved in the riots.

“The part of the play I’ve written about reflects my political experiences which started when I joined a protest against the student fees," says Jack, who lives in Caton.

“Many young people are a lot more bothered about politics than others might think.”

Jack worked with Stephen Fairclough, Anne Wilson & Laurence Wilson, winner of the Brian Way Award for Writing for Children and Young People in 2011, on the script.

Jack, who has yet to vote in an election, has been part of youth theatre activities at The Dukes for seven years, initially as an actor. A highlight was performing with The Dukes Senior Youth Theatre at The National Theatre in 2009 as part of the New Connections programme.

And though he will be appearing on stage in The Unsociables, Jack’s real passion is writing, an interest which was also sparked by a group at The Dukes.

“I get a real sense of pride to see what I’ve written being performed on stage," he says, "and it’s great to be able to say to friends and family ‘come to The Dukes and see my play’”.

Featuring free-running, stunning visuals and live music, The Unsociables is being performed by a cast of up to 35 young people, with more working behind the scenes.

It’s the first time a production by The Dukes Young Actors and The Dukes Young Company has been staged in The Rake, emphasising the Lancaster theatre’s commitment to young performers from the district.

•  Tickets for The Unsociables, which runs until Saturday and contains strong language and challenging themes, are priced £8/£6 concessions. To book, call The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or