A FUNNY and moving play developed in Warrington is returning to Pyramid as part of a nationwide tour.

‘Identities’ was developed by Rae Bell, a former Lymm High School student, and was a smash success in its previous appearance in Warrington last year.

Following an acclaimed pair of performances in Warrington, the tour was extended, seeing performances across the country.  

Made with Close to Home Productions in collaboration with a group of north west women, the former Sir John Deane Sixth Form College student’s play about a fictional woman called Lucy aims to break down the taboos around talking about breast cancer and the invisible barriers that stop people taking charge of their own health.

From bra fittings to breast cancer diagnosis, Lucy’s left and right boobs tell her story in 60 minutes – the time it takes to perform a standard lumpectomy.

Warrington Guardian:

As well as having written 'Identities', Rae stars as one of Lucy's boobs, joined by the talented Hannah Harquart who plays the other. 

In the latest run, the play will be performed across the UK, following up a trio of performances in Warrington with a further 16 performances across the country.

The Warrington performances, taking place on September 22 and September 23, will feature pay-what-you-decide tickets, as well as a BSL interpreter for one of the shows. 

As well as performing the play, Rae and the Close to Home team will take a more educational approach to this tour, holding community shows and workshops at schools and youth groups for 15-18-year-olds.

Among these will be a community performance at Whiston Hospital at the start of Breast Cancer awareness month.

Rae reiterated that this performance is part of their commitment at Close to Home to producing accessible theatre and bringing it to communities that don’t traditionally go to the theatre.

Their workshops at schools will include one at Sir John Deanes College, where they will be teaching the Close to Home methodology to students and help them get in touch with art and theatre.

'Identities' was originally inspired by Rae’s mum Marion who was diagnosed with breast cancer when Rae was just 13.

Warrington Guardian: Rae and Hannah performing at the Pyramid Arts CentreRae and Hannah performing at the Pyramid Arts Centre (Image: Culture Warrington)

Marion got the all-clear about 13 years ago but it was not long after Rae started to write a play about the subject that she had her own health scare when she found a lump on her right breast.

'Identities' – supported by Culture Warrington, Prevent Breast Cancer and Arts Council England – draws on those real events, plus those of the many women with lived experience of breast cancer that Rae spoke to while researching the production.

The result is described as a ‘comedy that carries a message’ and it’s one that has been warming hearts and breaking down taboos across the UK.

Rae said: “We are overjoyed to be touring Identities on this scale, and delighted to have secured a third round of funding from Arts Council England.

“We will also be taking Identities into community spaces, making the show more accessible, as well as working with young people to encourage more engagement with theatre.

“Personally, the evolution of this project and company is a dream come true and I couldn't be more grateful to Culture Warrington and Pyramid Arts Centre for their continued support of my work.”

Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager at Culture Warrington, added: “We are delighted to once again be supporting this fantastic Warrington-based theatre company and welcoming back Identities to Pyramid Arts Centre this autumn.

 “Identities tackles a very sensitive subject using real stories, relatable experience and lots of humour to really connect with audiences. We were overwhelmed by the response of last year's performances, and we can't wait to invite more of Warrington's community to see this incredible local talent.”

Identities is at Pyramid on Friday and Saturday, 22 and 23 September and tickets are on sale now. Visit pyramid.culturewarrington.org/whats-on/identities