This winter audiences across the North East of England are being invited to see The Devil Danced in Our Eyes a funny and moving tale about family, sexuality and the internet co-written and performed by Jonluke McKie. Featuring original live music, audiences will be able to meet 15-year-old Jamie whose mum stopped coming out of her room when his Granda Frankie died. Left to his own devices Jamie’s been spending more and more time online – scrolling through the digital realm of pixels, kilobytes and the occasional adult chat room. But when he meets ‘Windsor_56’ everything changes.
The show, which has been co-written with Allison Davies and directed by Amy Golding, will open at Alnwick Playhouse on Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December before touring to The Exchange in North Shields on Friday 2 December, Queen’s Hall Arts, Hexham on Saturday 3 December, Central Bar in Gateshead on Wednesday 7 of December and Gosforth Civic Theatre on Thursday 8 December. In February 2023 as part of LGBT+ History Month, the production will return to the stage heading to Gala, Durham on Saturday 11 February, Blyth Library on Wednesday 15 February and Cramlington Library on Thursday 16 February before ending at Newcastle’s Live Theatre on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 February.
Equipped with his guitar and loop pedal The Devil Danced in Our Eyes features the soulful vocals of Jonluke McKie alongside beautiful animations created and projected live each night by Simon Cole. As Jonluke explains:
“I’m a queer artist who grew up in a Benefit class home in Sheffield. The show is semi- autobiographical; I wanted to tell the story of a young person like me, growing up on the margins of society, exploring his sexuality on the internet, which is both liberating and ultimately unsafe. The end result is half gig, half play, and I’m delighted to be bringing it to theatre, music and community venues all over the region.”
Recent research shows that 50% of LGBTQAI+ people have experienced depression and 20% have experienced anxiety (Stonewall) and that children and adults living in households in the lowest 20% income bracket in Great Britain are two to three times more likely to develop mental health problems than those in the highest. Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy acknowledges that taking part in cultural activity can ‘support mental health and wellbeing’. The Devil Danced in Our Eyes has been created with these factors in mind. To coincide with the production the team has been working with a group of 15 sixteen to twenty-five-year-olds giving them the opportunity to take part in high-quality creative workshops including animation, songwriting, theatre-making and performance which are all key elements of the show.
“The show is based on my experiences growing up in the early noughties but is set today, so we wanted to involve young people in the making process, to help us explore what it means to be a young queer person today. More than this, we wanted to offer an opportunity for young people, many of them LGBTQIA+ and/or working class to create a supportive network of peers; to enable and empower them to explore and express their identity.”
Tickets for The Devil Danced in Our Eyes at theatres and music venues are £14 to £7 and £3 at libraries. The performance is suitable for people aged 16+ and includes descriptions of depression in a family, sexual content and sexual and homophobic violence towards a minor. To find out more visit www.jonlukemckie.com/devildanced.The Devil Danced in Our Eyes has been made possible with funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with kind support from Live Theatre, Curious Arts, CaroleW Productions, Gosforth Civic Theatre and Alphabetti Theatre