Road (play)

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Road is the first play written by Jim Cartwright, and was first produced in 1986.

The play explores the lives of the people in a deprived, working class area of Lancashire during the government of Margaret Thatcher, a time of high unemployment in the north of England. Despite its explicit nature, it was considered extremely effective in portraying the desperation of people's lives at this time, as well as containing a great deal of humour. The play won a number of awards and was voted the 36th best play of the 20th century in a poll by the Royal National Theatre. Set on a road on a busy night, the audience delve into the houses on the street and the characters lives.

The play is often performed on a promenade, allowing the audience to follow the narrator (Scullery) along the road and visit different sets and the different homes of the characters. The play was initially performed at the Royal Court Theatre "Upstairs", in 1986 with Edward Tudor-Pole as Scullery, moving "Downstairs" in 1987 with Ian Dury as the narrator.[1]

In 1995 Jim Cartwright directed a production at the Royal Exchange, Manchester with Bernard Wrigley and Matthew Dunster.

It was later made for television by renowned director Alan Clarke and starred many young actors who later became well-known including Jane Horrocks, David Thewlis, Moya Brady and Lesley Sharp.

Road was produced in New York by Lincoln Center Theater at La MaMa Etc. in 1988, with a cast including Joan Cusack and Kevin Bacon.


  1. ^ Balls, Richard (2000). Sex & Drugs & Rock'N'Roll: The Life of Ian Dury (1st ed.). London: Omnibus Press. pp. 264–6. ISBN 0-7119-8644-4.

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