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97+ explores continuing Hillsborough trauma


Claudia Molyneux and Colin Kilbride as Liz and John in 97+. Pic: David Munn
Claudia Molyneux and Colin Kilbride as Liz and John in 97+. Pic: David Munn

Exploring the continuing impact of the Hillsborough disaster on those who survived it, 97+ returns to Liverpool this spring in a new full-length production.

Written and directed by Tom Cain, the play won acclaim at Liverpool Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe and will now premier in an extended, two-act version (rather than the 90-minute original) at the 2,000-seat Liverpool Olympia on April 12 – ahead of the 35th anniversary of the disaster that claimed the lives of 97 Liverpool fans.

In 2012, Hillsborough survivors John and Steve – now middle-aged men - are each still dealing with the trauma they suffered as boys 23 years before. John bottles up his emotions, his night terrors the only outward effect seen by his wife, Liz; while Steve lives alone but seeks help from the hospital – or a bottle of vodka – as his support mechanisms.

Tom researched and wrote the drama while a student at Edge Hill University, with the assistance of the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance.

Tom, whose grandfather was a Hillsborough survivor, said: "This was something I originally wrote during lockdown for my university drama dissertation. We later performed shorter versions at Liverpool Theatre Festival and the Buxton and Edinburgh fringe festivals, and now it will be playing at an incredible venue, the Liverpool Olympia. It’s a dream come true!

“To have had the continuous support of the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance and to have raised money for this charity means everything to me. I’m proud of the work we’ve produced – and I hope I’ve made my grandad proud too.”

Producer Bill Elms said: “I’m delighted this play is going from strength to strength, it’s a powerful piece and a story that needs to be told to a new generation. It’s had nothing but praise from critics and audiences alike and I’m proud to continue to support Tom’s work"

 

More info and tickets here

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