All the Little Lights at Hull Truck Theatre

Published: Thursday 2nd March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Award-winning and thought-provoking show All the Little Lights comes to Hull Truck Theatre from Tuesday 7 to Wednesday 8 March.

Exploring themes of sexual exploitation and abuse, the story is set to move audiences and encourage them to think differently. Presented by Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse, it was nominated last year for Best Play at the Writers’ Guild Awards.

We spoke to Jane Upton, writer and 2016 George Devine Award winner for Most Promising Playwright, about what we can expect to see on stage.

“We start off with three girls who are having a party by the railway track,” explains Jane.

“But everything is not as it seems. The girls are getting together for the first time in a very long time. Something has happened, but we won’t find out until later.”


The tale is saddening yet darkly funny as Jane explores what happens when you slip through the cracks in society.

All the Little Lights comes at an important time, during the wake of recent allegations of child sexual abuse in the football industry, as well as high-profile scandals in cities across the UK.

“Audiences can expect some tension and lots of intrigue. It’s a story of friendship and survival.” Jane enthuses.

“I ask how someone can survive in a world where they don’t have a place, and when society looks the other way.”

Jane undertook a lot of research for this piece of work, collaborating with Derby-based Safe & Sound. The charity works directly with children and young people under the age of 18 that are at risk of or have been affected by exploitation, sexual violence and abuse.

“I wanted to write about a girl who had been abused as a young teenager, but has since become a woman who coerces other young girls into this dangerous world,” Jane tells us.

“I approached Safe & Sound with this idea to understand more about the topic.”

“Jane came to us for help with presenting the young people in the play in the most appropriate light,” Nathalie Walters, Chief Executive of Safe & Sound, informs us.

“She wanted to make sure that she had written the story respectfully.”

Clearly interested in writing something that was impactful and informative, Jane consulted many news stories and biographies written by survivors.

“I wanted to make sure I was being respectful to anyone who had gone through this. Safe & Sound helped with anonymous case studies and by answering all of my questions.”


Nathalie tells us a little bit more about the work they do over at Safe & Sound:

“We run a lot of one-to-one and group sessions that discuss various issues with young people. These include topics around consent, healthy relationships, internet safety and grooming. Each session is tailored to the individual’s needs.”

Although she says that it’s not intentional, Jane seems keen to focus on topics that aren’t often discussed:

“I like to focus on voices that you don’t hear that often. I write characters who are struggling in the world and trying to find their place.”

Her next play focuses on a personal issue: “It looks at grief and loss. I went on holiday to the Isle of Wight with my Nana every year of my life until I was 15. She then got dementia and passed away.”

Jane’s heartbreaking experience will be immortalised in her new play that is going to Edinburgh this summer.

“It’s all about the love between a grandmother and her granddaughter,” she adds.

Jane is very much looking forward to seeing All the Little Lights performed in the UK City of Culture:

“It’s a night of drama. It’s a really riveting story, but there’s some humour in there as well. I hope people will leave the show thinking differently about the topic.”

All the Little Lights comes to Hull Truck Theatre from Tuesday 7 to Wednesday 8 March. Tickets are £12.50 and concessions are £10.50. For more information, please visit or call 01482 323638.

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Published: Thursday 2nd March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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