Money banks and food banks at Alphabetti

Peter Lathan

In 2007, Newcastle-based Northern Rock, formerly a Building Society but by then a bank, crashed and on 22 February 2008 was taken into public ownership. Now, ten years on, theatre company Write on Tap, also based in Newcastle, presents Bankers, a new play which explores the banking crisis then and the increasing use of food banks now.

Inspired by interviews with foodbank volunteers and clients, ex-employees and academics, the play, which is written by Ben Dickenson, Jo McCullock, Stuart Nimmo and Kim Spence, will feature an unapologetic banker looking to expand his "social portfolio", a couple caught in the crossfire when Northern Rock crumbles and two families who experience the food bank first-hand.

“As a company, Write on Tap aims to make work that is culturally aware and politically relevant,” said producer Becci Sharrock. “Bankers is both of these things. In 2008, the collapse of Northern Rock, a North East institution, had ramifications that were felt across the country. Ten years on, and the impact of the crisis and the resulting austerity measures are at the forefront of political debate.”

The play will be directed by Jonny Bussell and the cast will be Sarah Boulter, Robin Paley Yorke, Leah Mains and Paul Gaitskill.

It runs at Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre on 15 and 16 February at 7:30 and is a Pay What You Feel performance (double billed with So Many Reasons produced by Fuel/Camden People's Theatre).

Write on Tap is a writer-led theatre company, formed in 2012 by graduates of the Live Theatre’s Writers’ Group. Since its formation, it has showcased over 50 new plays by a wide variety of emerging writers. More than 60 directors and actors also benefitted from these showcase opportunities.

“We've seen a huge increase in the number of foodbanks and the number of people using them,” added Becci Sharrock. “As part of the research for the work, we spoke to foodbank volunteers and clients, ex-employees of Northern Rock and academics and these have all inspired the show.”

Write on Tap, in association with Alphabetti, is aiming to encourage audiences to support Newcastle's West End Food Bank, hoping to fill Alphabetti's lift with donations. From Tuesday 13 to Saturday 24 February, they ask theatregoers and supporters to drop off following items at Alphabetti Theatre: tea bags, instant coffee, sugar (500g), cereal, pasta, milk (UHT or powdered), fruit juice (long life), tinned tomatoes, tinned vegetables, tinned fish, biscuits / snacks, tinned rice pudding, rice and/or tinned fruit.