Lemn’s return home for powerful play

Lemn Sissay. Photograph by Hamish Brown
Lemn Sissay. Photograph by Hamish Brown

One of the borough’s best-known cultural exports will perform in his childhood home for the first time with a powerful one-man show.

Acclaimed poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay is bringing his play Something Dark to The Turnpike in Leigh.

Lemn will perform a dramatic reading of the play, which chronicles his upbringing in a foster home as well as his time in the borough’s care system as a teenager.

Bringing him back to his roots with a look at some of the most difficult experiences of his formative years, the play then goes on to describe his later struggles to find his family and establish his own true identity.

Lemn himself has described the night at the Leigh town centre venue as his event of the year and the show will be on for one night only, making this one of the most hotly-anticipated events in the Turnpike’s calendar.

The Leigh night is part of a national tour Lemn is doing for the monologue throughout September and October.

Something Dark has been performed throughout the world and has also been made into a version for voice only which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2005.

The play has received tremendous critical acclaim and also become well known for the question-and-answer sessions which Lemn often holds afterwards.

Lemn was initially raised by strict religious foster parents in Atherton before he ended up in the care system, including spending time at the notorious Woodend assessment centre.

Since publishing his first collection of poetry while still living in the borough Lemn has gone on to become one of Britain’s best-known literary voices.

Currently chancellor at Manchester University, he is also associate artist at the Southbank Centre and works extensively with care leavers as well as in schemes which promote books and literacy to young people.

September promises to be a month for looking at the borough’s changing faces as The Turnpike also opens a major exhibition by photographer Tim Foster.

All Roads Lead To Wigan Pier showcases Tim’s photographs of the borough where he was born and raised taken since the Brexit referendum result.

The images hold a mirror up to the area’s changing culture and identity and are also intended to act as an updated commentary to George Orwell’s famous observations of Wigan, emerging almost exactly 80 years after The Road To Wigan Pier was published.

Something Dark is on September 23 at 7pm and All Roads To Wigan Pier opens on the same day, running until November.

To find out more visit {https://www.theturnpike.org.uk/The Turnpike’s website}