Boys From the Blackstuff world stage premiere

Updated: Jul 5



Potentially one of the highlights of recent times for UK drama, Alan Bleasdale's ground-breaking TV series Boys From The Blackstuff will have its world stage premiere at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre next year, adapted by Sherwood creator James Graham.

Forty years after Liverpool playwright Bleasdale’s controversial Thatcher government-bashing series was essential viewing for millions, leading London writers' development group Stockroom and the Royal Court will present this new stage version from September 15-October 28, 2023.

Alan Bleasdale said: “Almost all of my stage plays are set in one location and use real-time. So when the idea of the stage version of the series was suggested, with James as the writer, I just thought I don’t know how to do it, but James does.

Alan Bleasdale (right) and James Graham. Pic: Jason Roberts Photography
Alan Bleasdale (r) and James Graham. Pic: Jason Roberts Photography

“ While I’m pleased the work is still well regarded, the biggest sadness for me is that 40 years since writing it, we might have hoped things would get better. But they haven’t, have they.”

Boys From The Blackstuff takes place in a 1980s Liverpool in which Chrissie, Loggo, George, Dixie and Yosser are used to hard work and providing for their families. But there is no work and no money, so what are they supposed to do? They just need a chance.

James Graham said: "Alan Bleasdale is one of the reasons I became a writer. Watching his work as I was growing up meant a lot to someone from my background. I could never have dared to dream that years later I would be working with him, and on his most famous masterpiece. Alan is the most generous and supportive of collaborators and it’s been one of the honours of my writing life thus far to work on this show."

Stockroom artistic director Kate Wasserberg will direct: "They say never meet your heroes, but I have never had a happier and prouder professional moment than when I introduced two of mine, Alan and James. They are kindred spirits and this production is the very best of them both. I hope the show will be a fantastic night out.

"Sadly the struggles of the 1980s don't feel like history, we are all feeling the pain and the rage, the absurd cruelty and confusion of those times in the here and now."

Royal Court executive producer Kevin Fearon said: "For a producing theatre in Liverpool it doesn’t get any bigger or better than this.

"To be able to bring together two of the country’s finest writers on such an important piece of drama is a hugely exciting opportunity for Liverpool’s Royal Court."