Original by Charles Dickens
Adapted for the stage by Charles Way
Dominated by Gradgrind and Bounderby, Coketown’s prosperity is built on the cotton mills where thousands of men and women slave away for long hours and little pay. Gradgrind’s obsession with material progress damages his children Louisa and Tom, leading to scandal and disaster. Hard Times celebrates the importance of the human heart in an age obsessed with materialism. Circus, music, and dark comedy all go into the rich mix of this truly Dickensian theatrical tale.
“A stellar adaptation by Charles Way, moving, thoughtful and wonderfully drawn.” What’s on Stage *****
“Way gives real depth to characters, replaces Dickens’ sentimentality with warmth and his censoriousness with moral indignation.” The Independent *****
“Daringly restructures Dickens’ plot, yet sticks to the motto of his lisping ringmaster Mr Sleary: People mutht be amuthed.” Observer
“Charles Way’s new adaptation uses no narration—it is so refreshing to see a Dickens adaptation that isn’t like having sections of the book read to you—apart from when the actors tell us what eventually happens to their characters right at the end. It also doesn’t bite off more than it can chew, using only storylines that can be told in sufficient detail to make sense and tie in with other elements of the plot.” British Theatre Guide
“A re-reading of the novel showed Way’s adaptation to be faithful to the original, including the pathos and the humour.” Manchester Theatre Awards
About the author
Charles Way has written over 40 plays, many of them for children and young people. He was commissioned by the National Theatre to write Alice In The News, which children all over Britain have performed. He has also written many plays for radio, and a TV poem for BBC 2, No Borders, set in the Welsh borders, where he lives and has spent most of his creative life.