The Political History of Smack and Crack: Addiction & Politics in Moss Side in 1981 at Hulme's Disused Theatre

An urgent, angry, funny love song to a lost generation crushed by the heroin epidemic at the height of Thatcherism.

By Ben Brown | May 20th '22

Marking 41 years since the civil disturbances in Moss Side in 1981, The Political History of Smack and Crack is returning to perform in both London and Manchester this summer.

Inspired by writer Ed Edwards’ own experience in jail and rehab, this electric re-staging remembers the events of 8th July 1981, reflecting on the events that sparked a new era of class relations in the UK.

Starring Neil Bell and Eve Steele, who are reprising their roles from the original production, this acclaimed play will head to Manchester to perform at the historic and disused Hulme Playhouse Theatre, once the renowned home of the BBC Northern Orchestra and the Nia Centre for African and Caribbean Culture.

The Political History of Smack and Crack is an urgent, angry, funny love song to a lost generation crushed by the heroin epidemic at the height of Thatcherism. Edwards’ thrilling production takes a playful and politically sharp look at the reasons for the UK’s heroin epidemic of the 80s and 90s.

Edwards comments: “Most plays I’ve seen about heroin show the horrors and the degradation of the experience from the personal perspective as if hard drugs have just fallen from the sky. We see some smackhead heading for the bottom and then getting better – again as if by magic. I wanted to show two things differently.”

“Firstly, that the smack – and in its wake crack – didn’t appear from nowhere: they appeared at a particular time for a particular reason and that reason is political. Secondly, I wanted to deal with addicts in recovery – mainly because most of the addicts I know are in recovery – and I wanted to show the madness that goes along with stopping using drugs.”

“I also wanted to depict a fucked-up relationship because this is the only type of relationships I know. I want to make people laugh and make people cry.”

The Political History of Smack and Crack continues to partner with the Mustard Tree in Manchester, who have supported the production since 2018, supporting their vital work in combatting poverty and preventing homelessness across Greater Manchester.

Alongside the staging of The Political History of Smack & Crack in its historic theatre in July, NIAMOS are also planning to engage the local community and neighbourhood of Moss Side and Hulme with a complementary programme of cultural activities, including workshops, a poetry event with SAYIN’, guest performers and a local music jam session.

……………………..

The Political History of Smack and Crack

Dates: 21st – 25th June 2022
Venue: NIAMOS, Hulme

Buy Tickets

……………………..

NIAMOS, Chichester Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5EU