Beautiful love story coming to St Albans theatre's stage

Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.

Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.

Abbey Theatre

A St Albans theatre company is getting all loved up with its forthcoming production of Beautiful Thing.

Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.

The Company of Ten’s next play, which opens at the Abbey Theatre this week, is a moving love story set on a council estate in south London.

Set on the Thamesmead housing estate during the hot summer of 1993, the drama tells the story of teenagers Ste and Jamie and their beautiful burgeoning first love for each other.

Beccy Baird, who directs the play, said: “This exquisite love story was written at a time when most gay drama was dealing with death.

“The film Philadelphia, which won Tom Hanks an Oscar for playing a gay man dying of AIDS, was released in 1993, and Angels in America opened on Broadway in the same year.

Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.

“According to the playwright Jonathan Harvey, ‘if you were a working-class gay person on TV, you would be kicked out by your dad, and if you were middle-class then perhaps you got AIDS and died’.

“What he wanted to achieve by writing Beautiful Thing was to redress that balance by telling a simple story about two young boys who fall in love.”

Beccy added: “I chose to keep this production set in the year in which it was written, complete with cultural references that took a bit of explaining to our younger cast members.

“Changes to the law and in societal acceptance of gay relationships mean that I think – hope – Jamie and Ste would have an easier time coming to terms with their sexuality these days.

Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.

“It really is a beautiful, funny love story, and I defy anyone to watch the show and not come out smiling!”

Performances take place on the main stage from Friday, February 8 to Saturday, February 9 at 8pm.

There’s a Sunday matinee on February 10 at 2.30pm, and then performances from Tuesday, February 12 to Saturday, February 16 at 8pm.

• To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call 01727 857861.

Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.Company of Ten's production of Beautiful Thing opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans this week. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre.

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