A new play about gentrification, why we build & the people behind our cities.

Regeneration (Spike Lee)

“What’s this? Young people move in because it’s cheap. Ooh. Artists move in. As do start up companies. Hello. I get involved. Regeneration happens. Buildings get built. A park or two. Facilities improve. Services get better. Area makes the news. Time Out likes it. Police best pay attention: ‘Clean up those streets!’ Ooh we’re trendy now. I’m going to rebuild the place and make a shit ton of money.”

It’s Brixton in 1981 and a family’s home is about to be repossessed. It’s Leeds in 2016 and an architect has designed the tallest building the city has ever seen. It’s Newfoundland in 1903 and a man is about to start a journey that will take him (and his house) across continents and the 20th century. And, on stage in 2015, Write By Numbers, who have worked on regeneration projects across London, want to know if they’re part of the solution – or the problem.

Starting in 1900 and finishing in 2017, featuring an-almost fairytale, an imagined life story, a naturalistic drama and some very true stories of the people on (and off stage), taking in Newfoundland, Sydney, Berlin, Hong Kong and New York, winding round Walworth, Brixton, Walthamstow, Dagenham and Lewisham, exploring the Northern Powerhouse and the legacy of ‘Right to Buy’, borrowing the voices of Spike Lee and Boris Johnson, looking at our own experiences of angry planning meetings in Bristol, of the empty shops we’ve turned into theatres, of some times being the insiders but often being the outsiders, Regeneration is just a little bit of what we’ve discovered about cities.

Regeneration is our playful, epic and urgent exploration of urban regeneration, gentrification and what makes us call a place ‘home’ as we invite audiences to join us in imagining how we might together create the cities of the future.

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Current Tour Dates:

23rd January, 7.00pm – Camden People’s Theatre, London. Tickets here. Part of the “Whose London Is It Anyway?” Festival #WhoseLondon
24th January, 6.30pm – Camden People’s Theatre, London. Tickets here.
2nd – 4th February, 8.00pm – Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol. Tickets here.
1st-5th March, 7.30pm – Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. Tickets here.

Regeneration is the first in a trilogy of plays we’re making exploring place and change in the UK. The second part, This Green and Changing Land (working title), for rural audiences is currently under development with support from the Bike Shed Theatre. The final part of the trilogy, Welcome to Runsea, for coastal communities will begin development in 2016 with support from Theatre Royal Margate.

Regeneration was developed with support from Rich Mix and first workshopped with support from Salisbury Playhouse and Bath ICIA.


Written by: Corinne Furness and Charlie Whitworth. Additional material by the cast.
Directed by: Charlie Whitworth
Performed by: Andy Kelly, Stevie Kelly, and Emma Shearer-Hackett

Main image: Eleanor Krall, Rich Mix 2015
Thumbnail images: Gem Ward, Plymouth Barbican 2015

Previous performers: Estelle Buckridge, Lucy Grace, James Groom, Andy Kelly, Myles Nicol, and Anna Spearpoint.