Award-winning writer and Coronation Street actor head to Swindon for new show

By Claire Dukes - 6 November 2019

Arts and Culture

Yorkshire-based theatre company, Imagine If, is returning to Swindon - and bringing along some big names with them.

Yorkshire-based theatre company, Imagine If, is bringing its new production Jadek to Shoebox Theatre on Friday 8 November.

Jadek – which is written phonetically and is Polish for ‘Grandfather’ - is a semi-autobiographical story of its writer, Francesca Joy, who in her 20s moved in with her blind, 94-year-old Polish Grandad.  The play explores how this unexpected turn of events affected both their lives.

“Jadek is loosely based on my relationship with my Grandad, who is my absolute superhero,” says Francesca.

“Living with him changed the way I saw the arts and ultimately, how I saw the world. When a child grows up in a family of violence, they experience the same brain patterns as a solider at war. Me and my Grandad both grew up as soldiers. He taught me how to stand up for what I believe in.”

In the play, Grandad found a home in Yorkshire in 1945 after spending six years fighting and surviving World War 2. He likes a whisky and hates the ventilation in his front room. Every morning he opens his eyes and a sorrowful “bloody hell” escapes his lips as he realises he’s still blind.

Tasha found a home at her Grandad’s house after spending what felt like most of her life at war; she drinks way too much beer, has moved house over 30 times, and is trying to sell her children’s storybook to London publishers.

BAFTA award winning writer Mark Catley [EastEnders, Casualty, Call the Midwife] is working with Francesca as a dramaturg on the piece.

He says: "Jadek is a beautiful story that starts small and ends up universal. The dialogue between Grandfather and Granddaughter is so entertaining you'll want to move in too. The revelations are breath-taking.”

Taking the role of Grandad is Piotr Baumann – an established Polish actor who has just spent a year on Coronation Street as roofer Jan Lozinski.

“I’m delighted to be working with Francesca and Imagine If” says Piotr "Jadek reminds me of growing up with my father in Poland."

“I'm absolutely chuffed to be able to tell a fraction of mine and my Grandad's story,” Francesca continues.

“It won't all be real, you gotta keep some stuff for yourself and make up the bits in between. Jadek is for the broken ones, those who've fought wars, the blind, the Polish, the working class, the ones suffering in silence. This is for every single one of you. And as always, this is for my old man, my Grandad, my Jadek.”

Jadek is audio described for those with visual impairments and imagine if is working extensively with blind/visually impaired communities and those with Polish heritage in each of the regions on the tour.

Jadek is at Shoebox Theatre, Swindon Friday 8 November 8 at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale now priced at £10. Book online at www.shoeboxtheatre.org.uk/whatson

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