A musical showcasing the experiences of teenagers during the lockdown is to tour nationally after its Northamptonshire premiere later.
Room 46 charts the changing social environment caused by the pandemic through the eyes of six young people. It will be performed and recorded at the Castle Theatre, in Wellingborough, for the first time on Thursday. Writer and creative director, Justine Maynard, said: “It’s a story that should be told – and not forgotten.”
The musical follows the timeline of the Covid pandemic, from the claustrophobia suffered by young students, to the wearing of masks, home schooling and exams, the clap for the NHS – even the exploits of Captain Sir Tom Moore, Ms Maynard said. The actors appear in six “rooms” on stage and communicate in “group chats” and social media, acted out in a “clever” stage production, she added.
Actor Kai Medford, 19, from Milton Keynes, said the show was a chance for people to imagine lockdown “as we lived it”. “The mental health of children during that time was often brushed under the carpet,” he said. “We will still be feeling the long-term effects in five or 10 years’ time. The character I play – Thomas – is very similar to how I felt at the time.”
Mother-of-three Danielle Cowlbeck, of KA Media, said the “rock/pop musical” is a “chance to get kids talking again”. “Room 46 refers to a chat room the six characters are in to discuss schoolwork – and how their relationships evolve,” she said. “We are told so many times how resilient children are, but that is not the case for all of them. They are still experiencing the aftermath. “We want to start a national campaign through this to get kids talking openly. This experience has shaped them.”
The show will be also recorded with a view to it being streamed in schools. “This is a time in our history that will not be forgotten,” Ms Maynard added. “We all lived through lockdown – lots of things have changed for all of us.”