Case Study: Locked In

Creating and Realising Locked In, a 13+ Play

Locked In by Fin Kennedy, like many of our commissions, began where the authentic voice of our community and our audiences spoke directly to an artist who had the skills to frame and broker their stories and aspirations into a piece of theatre.

Locked In emerged over a 3 and half year period, with Chris Elwell as the dramaturg. The play’s development followed this pattern:

  • Stage One, East End Tales: The play begins life as a series of monologues, developed as part of a ScriptWorks programme with Year 10 students from Mulberry Girls School.
  • Stage Two, B-Minor: The monologues become a short play looking at a suicide bombing in Leicester Square through the eyes of three bystanders, used as a stimulus for Careers-in-Theatre
  • Stage Three, Locked In: Extracts from what has now become draft 1 of Locked In are used in Careers-in-Theatre one year later.
  • Stage Four, Locked In: The play has now reached draft two and a full reading of this is given to Half Moon’s senior youth theatre, suggestions and feedback will be fed into the next draft.
  • Stage Five, Locked In: Hot on the heels of the first reading a full rehearsed reading of draft three is held for Year 11 students at Swanlea Community School.
  • Stage Six, Locked In: a full script development day with actors and the designated director for the production.
  • Stage Seven, Locked In: The play begins the rehearsal period and the inevitable edits and re-works ensue.

Locked In – The play in production

by Fin Kennedy
A hip hop drama for 13+ years

We’re da Two Wise Men an dis is how it goes
We chat about da issues dat need to be exposed

Cos out dere on road fings is reachin overload
Dere’s a bomb in dis manor an its gonna

On the 20th floor of an abandoned East End tower block, Blaze (a Caribbean MC) and Tariq (a Bengali DJ) rip up the airwaves on a leading pirate station. Their last CD was a massive hit and they’re all set to hit the big time with their first live set at Exile FM’s birthday bash coming up. Then Zahida comes into their lives and cracks begin to appear in their friendship. When a local gangster asks Blaze for a serious favour, suddenly there’s a choice to be made that could split their world wide open.

Locked In is a gritty hard-hitting piece written by Fin Kennedy. Developed in direct contact with young people, it portrays a diverse cross-cultural inner-city life and characters, underscored by a contemporary hip hop soundtrack.
Locked In is an example of that rare, beautiful creature: a youth-marketed play that really does make a connection with its audience. The performances from all three actors are gripping and realistic, the set is well-designed, and the story rips along at a cracking pace, ensuring that even the most easily distracted will stay engaged.” (Croydon Advertiser)

Find out more on our archive website.