An LA Key Change from Open Clasp

Published: 5 April 2018
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Key Change

Open Clasp’s Key Change, developed in January 2014 at HMP Low Newton Young Offenders’ Institution and first performed in June that year at Newcastle’s Live Theatre before going on to national tours, the Edinburgh Fringe and a run off-Broadway, is to have a second production—in Los Angeles.

The production, by the Collective Studio: LA, will open at the Secret Rose Theatre in Los Angeles on 13 April and will run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights until 29 April. A percentage of ticket sales to the Women for Sobriety Center, Inc.

“We were contacted by director Sam Lavin after she had read about Key Change,” Catrina McHugh, Open Clasp’s director and writer of Key Change, said. “We sent her the script, which she loved, researched her company, Fair Fight Films (who seemed in keeping with Open Clasp’s vision to give a voice to women), had conversations via Skype and things took off from there.

“Since Christmas, I've worked with Sam to adapt the play, as it’s now set in an American prison, and letting go was difficult as Key Change to me has a rhythm and poetry. To me it’s a beautiful, delicate instrument that was tuned by many voices, from the women in Low Newton, the actors who took it to the Edinburgh Festival, to our Associate Director Laura Lindow who ensured it shone in New York, but I believe we got there.

“What I most respected about Sam throughout the whole process was that she wanted to ensure that the Key Change they were creating in Los Angeles was in keeping with what the women from Low Newton Prison had wanted to see, that their voices were being represented as they had intended them to be.

Key Change went global in 2017, now it’s been adapted and is set in an America prison and is being performed in Los Angeles. Back in 2014, we had no idea the reach this show was going to have. We are proud to continue to work with the women in Low Newton and will be touring Sugar in 2019."

Fair Fight Films seeks to make films and TV shows that centre on a female protagonist as hero or anti-hero, to tell stories about women in the margins, women who’ve overcome personal obstacles and women who have each other’s backs. They are particularly interested in themes of personal identity, career and camaraderie among women.