BREATHE, a gritty new stage play about teenage suicide written by and starring 18-year-old George Jaques, gets its world premiere this month at London’s Bunker Theatre in a limited season in aid of Childline. It runs from 31 July to 4 August 2018 only.
“Just breathe”. Often this is the best advice we have to offer anyone when the pressures of life gets too much. But what about when these two words just aren’t enough? In our relentless pursuit for perfection – to look perfect, to act perfect, to be perfect – the overwhelming pressure cannot always be remedied by these two worn out words.
BREATHE, the second play by George Jaques, explores the anxieties of everyday life and how that manifests into three adolescent couples, who are radically different but ultimately united by their shared burden.
Jaques, from Wandsworth, south London, started his theatre company, Athenaeum Productions, when he was just 16 years old. He presented his debut play, Dilate, tackling teen drug culture in London, last year. For BREATHE, Jaques completed the script, assembled the cast, negotiated the theatre space, produced and rehearsed the show, while also studying for his A-Levels at Whitgift School.
The premiere production, directed by Damsel Productions’ co-founder Hannah Hauer-King, also stars Douglas Clarke-Wood, Martha Hay, Byron Easmon, Elizabeth Brierley and Gus Flind-Henry: all under the age of 25. BREATHE has set and costumes by Cindy Lin, lighting and sound by Joe Price, with dramaturgy by Bunker artistic director Joshua McTaggart.
Commenting on why he chose the NSPCC’s Childline as the production’s charity, Jacques said:
“Many people I know have benefited from using Childline, plus it’s a service young people see posters for around schools. But more importantly, I really want to make sure the service continues, and I will do anything I can to support it.”
Ali Jeremy, Director of Communications at the NSPCC, added: “We are delighted that the Athenaeum Theatre Company is supporting Childline because every penny raised for this crucial service helps us to provide support and advice to more young people across the UK, some of whom are in desperate need of someone to talk to.
“The subject of the play is particularly appropriate because at Childline we are constantly hearing from children and teenagers who are struggling to deal with the daily pressures of a life which heaps huge and often unrealistic expectations upon them, both when they go online and when they are out in the real world.”
BREATHE runs 31 July to 4 August 2018 at the Bunker Theatre, 53a Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU, with performances at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced £20 (concessions £15, under-30s £10). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
George Jaques on London Live
Why found a theatre company at the age of 17? Jaques explains: “I started my production company as a direct response to my strong belief about the benefits that theatre and film have as a medium for self-expression – something particularly important for young adults caught in the limbo between the security of childhood and the independence of adulthood.
“As well as giving young people a voice, my work focuses on taboo subjects that affect young people in today’s society, such as drugs, mental health and abuse, in the hope of creating talking points that bridge any age gap.”
The actor/producer was recently on London Live talking more about Athenaeum and BREATHE. Watch below…