Legacy at York Theatre Royal



‘Luxury is our future. Identity Services. We will change what we do. 
We will change who we are. We will change…everyone’

York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre presents Legacy
By Paul Birch
Directed by Kate Veysey
Designed by Bethany Wells

An old-school policewoman finds herself confronting a brave new digital world of corruption, murder and mistaken identity in the York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre production of Legacy, a specially-commissioned play by Paul Birch.

The production in the main house from 12 to 14 April will be performed by a mixed company of actors aged 16-19 from the Youth Theatre and actors aged 65-plus from the community.

Youth Theatre Director Kate Veysey said: “This is the first intergenerational performance that we have created as a theatre. I am excited about the possibilities of two age groups working alongside each other to create this thriller for the stage. It’s a play that is not afraid to question our blogging/vlogging/social media society where you can literally find out what a stranger had for their dinner, their political views, and even which cat videos they like.”

Thanks to funding from The Clothworkers’ Foundation, this marks the first time the Youth Theatre has had the opportunity to commission a playwright for a main house production.

The characters in Legacy include old-school police detective Simone Macdonald, rising political star Arisha Adler and Phillip Blackthorn, the founder of Legacy, a tech company which promises to change everything. Forever. These three powerful personalities find their lives turned upside down when a boy’s body is discovered on a river bank. Despite the use of new ground-breaking forensic technology, there remains one problem … the boy doesn’t exist.

As Simone investigates the most unusual case of her career she finds herself in an increasingly unsettling world where nothing is what it seems and no-one can be trusted. The mysterious crime becomes buried in a blur of media manipulation, internet celebrity and wrapped in a box which makes anything possible.

Writer Paul Birch said: “It was a huge honour to be asked to be invited to take the devised ideas of this intergenerational cast and to shape them into a dramatic story. The various thoughts and questions that the actors had explored raised the central question of how digital technologies inform our lives.

“It seemed natural, then, to look at our present with a science-fiction lens. To take the hopes, fears and concerns over privacy, identity theft and the pressure to appear to lead successful lives and form them into a chilling thriller.

“Interestingly, like much science fiction, the play ended up not simply the effect of technologies but what it means to be human, How do we spend our lives, what do we value and what will we leave behind. What is our Legacy?”

Cast member Shirley Williams, a drama and performing arts teacher whose work has included educational projects at the National Theatre, said: “I have been interested in this cross-generational project since the beginning as I enjoy working with young people. The generations have much to learn from each other and theatre is a great communicator of this.”

York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre presents: Legacy
Main house, Thu 12 – Sat 14 Apr
Evenings 7pm
Matinee Sat 2pm
Age guide 12+