As the homelessness crisis continues to soar, a brand new work uncovers the forgotten LGBTQ+ displaced youth finding solace in gay saunas.
Working together with a mix of young LGBTQ+ homeless and ex-homeless people in London, Vicky Moran (former Assistant Director at Cardboard Citizens), has created a play that shines a light on a staggering 24% of the UK’s homeless youth population.
Combining lived experiences from some of the production’s cast and creatives, verbatim interview clips and an original score, No Sweat gives voice to those underrepresented in theatre, and reveals the real stories of a portion of society at risk, finding temporary shelter despite a dearth of safe spaces.
Transforming London’s Pleasance Theatre into a steamy sauna, this in-your-face experience will immerse the audience in a carefully constructed set complete with locker rooms, toilets, towels and benches where they meet Tristan; made to feel like a monster whose toothbrush had to be kept a safe distance from his family’s, Charlie; a Pakistani Asylum seeker, fighting to prove his sexuality to gain citizenship, and Alf; whose Mummy loves him but God doesn’t, so he was left with only one option…to run.
In a world where stability is a second from slipping through your fingers, austerity combined with prejudice sees young people putting themselves at risk all too often. No Sweat tells the truthful, dark and difficult story of three people navigating a new frontier of the homelessness epidemic.
‘It’s unseen. No one’s telling the stories. You don’t see us on the streets because saunas and Grindr mean that gay men don’t have to be homeless in the traditional sense. It’s all hidden.’
The cast features three of the UK’s most exciting actors emerging on screen and television; Denholm Spurr (Tristan) who has his own experience of homelessness, best known for The Grass is Always Grindr; Manish Gandhi (Charlie) a TV and Theatre actor with credits ranging from Hallelujah at Bridge Theatre to BBC’s Silent Witness; and James Haymer (Alf), an in demand associate artist of Hampstead Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Roundhouse and Cardboard Citizens.
Brought together under one temporary roof, running head on into threats of violence, sexual exploitation and mental health problems, Tristan, Charlie and Alf represent a notoriously vulnerable segment of the population.
But they are just one pocket of the invisible homeless. How long can they battle against the system? No Sweat is an examination of friendship, family and the fight for recognition.
The team is also running a Paying it Forward scheme, to which you can donate here.