New play set in food bank to tour North West

Idea: Actors Mike Coombes and Matt Byrne, who are putting on a play about a food bank
Idea: Actors Mike Coombes and Matt Byrne, who are putting on a play about a food bank
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A group of actors are to tour the region with a new play set in a food bank.

The Front Row Theatre Company was set up last year by two UCLan graduates, who are now working on Food For Thought.

The performance will focus on the lives of volunteers and clients, and will be touring community centres and theatre spaces close to food banks.

Director Mike Coombes explained: “We visited a food bank and found most people visiting food banks had full-time jobs and didn’t have enough money at the end of the month.

“We knew from our own naivete that we didn’t know anything about food banks.

“Three years ago, 150,000 people were attending food banks and now just under one million people attend them.

“I thought ‘That can’t be true’ but we looked into it and we spoke to people who run food banks, and there are some really heartbreaking stories. That’s the importance and the idea of the play.

“Our target audience will associate with that and know the feeling of struggling.”

Mike, 24, directs the company alongside friend Matt Byrne, and said the performances would tour areas where people weren’t traditionally interested in the arts.

The first show will be at Preston Minster on January 26. Mike said: “We are trying to bring a professional theatre quality production to somewhere where everyone can go, no matter what your income is.”

The project has received conditional funding from Arts Council England, and is now looking for extra cash. Visit www.sponsume.com/project/food-thought.