Arts & Culture

Coming out as a kid in the 90’s was never going to be easy…

The Newspaper Boy

Chris Hoyle’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age play, The Newspaper Boy, returns to Manchester’s 53Two

Presented as part of Queer Contact 2018, Manchester’s foremost queer arts festival, the reimagined production includes an all-star cast: Samantha Siddall (Shameless), Karen Henthorn (Coronation Street), Sam Retford (Hollyoaks, Ackley Bridge), Hollie-Jay Bowes (Hollyoaks), and introducing Daniel Maley in the lead role of Christian.

Coming out as a kid in the 90’s was never going to be easy… especially when you’re on the telly. In Moston, Manchester, 1992, Christian Dibmore is the working class 15-year-old who’s got it all as the newest child star in the nation’s favourite soap. But Christian has a secret that’s soon to be on the front page of every tabloid…

On screen, Christian is the cheeky local paperboy in northern soap opera, Mancroft Walk. Off- screen, he lives with his single parent mother Sharon and Nana Jean.

When Christian becomes friends with his on-screen girlfriend, Mandy, who has played the “adorable” Rosie Chadwick in Mancroft Walk since she was 10 days old, his eyes are opened to a whole new world as Mandy (Manchester’s answer to Drew Barrymore) introduces him to designer clothes, the gay scene, drugs… and her gay half brother, Max.

Christian and Max start a secret affair but when the tabloid press get hold of the gay underage sex scandal of the decade, Christian finds himself in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

Playwright Chris Hoyle based the storyline of The Newspaper Boy on his own experiences as a child actor playing the part of Mark Redman (Mike Baldwin’s son) in Coronation Street from 1992 to 1994 – a contract that was cut short after the 15 year old Hoyle was caught in possession of cannabis.

Hoyle says: “Although I was never ‘outed’ as gay by the media like Christian is in the play, I was enjoying the same party lifestyle on the Manchester gay scene.

“I wanted to write about that time in my life and in history through The Newspaper Boy, not only as a cautionary tale of losing everything before you even knew you had it, but also to highlight the homophobia of both the press and the law in the early 1990’s, when the age of consent was still 21 for gay men.”

The production boasts a unique Play-and-a-Rave night hosted by 90’s DJs Dave Kendrick and Guy Williams, spinning Flesh and Paradise club classics after the show in homage to the era the play is set.

The Newspaper Boy runs at 53Two from Tuesday 13 February – Saturday 24 February 2018. For tickets and more information, click here

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