An immersive coming-of-age story about love, identity and forgiveness comes to Bedford

An immersive coming-of-age story about love, identity and forgiveness comes to The Place Bedford from on Thursday, November 23 as part of a national tour
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Hot Orange, by Amal Khalidi and Tatenda Naomi Matsvai, follows Amina and Tandeki as they navigate what it takes to sustain love and friendship beyond childhood idealism and the moment you fall in love.

Hot Orange is the latest production from Half Moon, the UK’s leading small-scale young people’s venue and touring company, winner of two Off West End Theatre Awards for Best Production for Young People Age 13+ (Crowded and What Once Was Ours). It follows two loveable characters as they confront the complexities of their friendship, shaped by religion and society, and untangle themselves from what they’ve learnt, to affirm who they truly are and express what they truly need.

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Across the divide of a scorched basketball court two girls meet, shoot hoops and discover their shared obsessions make them inseparable friends. But will faith, growing pains and the darker reactions of others get in the way of that long, hot, orange summer?

Hot Orange on opening nightHot Orange on opening night
Hot Orange on opening night

A decade later the past walks back into view when 18-year-old Amina is confronted by her childhood best friend Tandeki. Can they reignite the spark of friendship by untangling their hurt feelings, or are some heartbreaks just too hard to mend?

Tatenda Naomi Matsvai, a co-writer of Hot Orange, said: “The characters are reflections of our younger selves, brought up in very culturally specific contexts in religious households, navigating who we are outside of those spaces in relation to our queerness. We had to learn to take space, to love ourselves, to forgive each other and to understand that we have nothing to prove. We wanted to represent queer characters we rarely get to see. People who were joyful and not tragic, yet also real and messy.”

Chris Elwell, the director of Hot Orange, said: “Hot Orange is a compelling and exhilarating piece of new writing for young audiences that explores prejudice and the pain of navigating what love means in 2023. It examines the tension between your own desire and the expectations of family and community; how their values shape your identity and the distress this can cause. The immersive style of the production allows audiences to become an integral part of the action and witness the coming of age story up close.”

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The 60-minute story is told by two performers, Yasmin Twomey (Amina) and Tatenda Naomi Matsvai (Tandeki), who is also a co-writer of the play. It has direction by Chris Elwell, design by Sorcha Corcoran, composition and sound design by Johnny Tomlinson, lighting design by Emily Walls and assistant direction by Rebecca Osorio.

Hot Orange is the first piece of theatre for young audiences by Amal Khalidi and Tatenda Naomi Matsvai. The play was developed in 2021 as part of Half Moon’s Narratives of Empathy and Resilience art form development programme, to create stories that reflect our diverse community, as well as support under-represented artists in developing their practice.

All tickets are priced from £10 to £14 and can be obtained from the website or by calling 01234 354321 during office hours

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