Islington Community Theatre hits BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is hosting an Islington Community Theatre production about the lives of teenagers. Launched on Monday 16 November, the play, which has been adapted for the small screen, is now accessible to iPlayer’s 13 million viewers nationwide.

Having a place on the platform provides, “a unique opportunity to be seen by people who would never come to the theatre,” Islington Community Theatre co-director Ned Glasier told Islington Now.

“It could only happen on the BBC,” he said. “I don’t think that anyone else has the balls, or the ability, or the reach to do it. It’s what the BBC should be doing… it’s why the licence fee is an incredible deal for everyone.”

Based above Islington Central Library, Islington Community Theatre offers young people who have been referred by social workers, youth workers and schools, the opportunity to create their own drama.

Available on iPlayer, Brainstorm, is a play that features young people talking frankly about their own insecurities. It includes anonymous confessions written by the cast;  “I steal things from shops,” reads one; “I’m scared of sex,” reads another.

Mr Glasier said that he hoped the play would challenge negative perceptions of teenagers.

We would love it to be seen… particularly by politicians and decision makers,” he said. “Everyone who, in some way, interacts with young people. They’ve got to see it. It might just change a little thing.”

The drama is part of a collection of independent theatrical pieces, the rest of which aired on BBC Four the night before Brainstorm became available to watch.

The move to televise the plays follows the success of National Theatre Live, which broadcasts theatre productions live to cinemas nationwide.

Mr Glasier hopes iPlayer will help broaden access to the arts in Britain. He said theatre is “substantially and hugely overrepresented by white middle class people like me,” he said. “I’m much more interested in facilitating the voices of people who aren’t really interested in theatre.”

These comments follow remarks by the critic Lyn Gardner and actor Adrian Lester who have both condemned the lack of diversity in theatre.

Brainstorm is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until 15 December.

Photo: Alex Brenner.