Smile Club sets up in Lancaster

Published: 29 February 2020
Reporter: David Upton

Described as “Black Mirror meets The Handmaid’s Tale”, the darkly comic play Smile Club arrives at The Dukes March 17.

Set in a dystopian world in which the government seeks to tame unruly women, the satire follows Lisa as she describes the perks of being a Smile Club member—including how she transformed from an angry, violent woman into the smiley, well-adjusted human she is today.

The play is written by Andrea Heaton, who also stars as Lisa, and Adam Z Robinson, whose gothic productions—including Shivers and 2019’s A Christmas Carol—have been popular at the Lancaster venue.

Smile Club began as a response to an anecdote from one of Andrea’s friends, involving a man who refused to let a woman through a train station barrier until she had given him a smile.

Heaton said, “the play is inspired by movements such as #MeToo and Everyday Sexism, as a way of voicing anger about the way women are treated, but it’s darkly funny and thrilling.”

The show is also produced by Red Ladder Theatre Company, who co-produced Glory at The Dukes in 2019 and champion work about social change and everyday injustices.