A State Affair | Robin Soans | The MTA | Bernie Grant Arts Centre

A hard hitting play looking at the Bradford underclass of the late 90’s. Originally produced and performed by Out of Joint it was this time performed by The MTA, an award winning drama college now located within the Bernie Grant Arts Centre.


Bradford is a city in West Yorkshire that has struggled with poverty, crime and drugs for the past decades. The play was written by Robin Soans in 2000 using solely material he had collected from interviews conducted in the area. The seven main characters of the play, struggling with domestic abuse, drugs and teenage pregnancies, were played by several different performers (2-4), which gave the character yet another dimension.

Set Design and Costume Design approach

Bettina John’s design is inspired by the context of Andrea Dunbar’s play “Rita, Sue and Bob too” (1982), which was made into a film in the late 80’s.  Andrea Dunbar was a resident in the Bradford estate herself in the 80’s and attracted attention through her hyper-real plays about living in Bradford. Sadly she passed away young, drinking herself to death. The most obvious visual impression Bettina John’s set and costume design show is the juxtaposition from the inside and outside and the negligence of the homes and their surrounding. This was worked into a defragmented collage of run-down flats, old broken furniture, damping grounds and car waste. This pretty inhabitable environment is occupied by the Bradford residents that equally seem disoriented and transient.
Director: Paul Foster
Lighting Designer: Katy Morison
Theatre: Bernie Grant Arts Centre

set design Robin Soans

set design Robin Soans set design Robin Soans set design Robin Soans