A sensitive, delicate and powerful play that asks what our labour is worth and how life can be lived when the system is stacked against you.
‘I dreamt about this last night. I dreamt that I was packing boxes in boxes in boxes.’
Tamsin packs boxes in a warehouse, on the clock, to a target, with a zero-hour contract. Her brother Dean is housebound, working to obsessive-compulsive rituals of his own.
When Dean is declared fit for work, their benefits are cut. There are phone calls to make, appeals to lodge and endless forms to fill in. Tamsin must pack faster, work harder, and fight to get the support she and her brother so desperately need.
Katherine Soper’s play Wish List won the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and was co-produced by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and the Royal Court Theatre, London. It premiered at the Royal Exchange in September 2016 and the Royal Court in January 2017, and Katherine Soper was named Best Writer in the 2017 Stage Debut Awards.
‘The play has such eloquence, such quiet craft, such dignity and such compassion’ Sir Nicholas Hytner
‘Lays bare social iniquities without resorting to melodrama… its motivating spirit is the same as a Ken Loach film: this isn’t fair, and attention must be paid’
— Financial Times
‘A beautifully compassionate, tender and at times gently humorous piece of work… in its clear-eyed look at the interplay between two dehumanising systems, it arouses due political indignation. A heartening debut’
‘A sad, beautiful drama about austerity Britain… Wish List is sad and upsetting, condemnatory of the way in which automated systems replace humanity. But it’s not an angry rant, and ultimately it feels celebratory of humanity’
— Time Out
‘A quietly sympathetic vision of a difficult brother-sister relationship, it’s also a politically charged piece about the insecurity of the modern workplace… Soper has trenchant things to say about the cult of productivity and society’s obsession with transactions and quantifiable achievements’
— Evening Standard
‘Precise, tender yet unsentimental writing… marks out Soper as a writer of real promise’
— Exeunt Magazine
‘Intense and moving… a play that demands to be seen’
— The Reviews Hub
‘The writing is extraordinary: deceptively lightweight while filtering personal and social issues through carefully nuanced characters… [a] compassionate, funny and quietly troubling debut’
— The Stage
Best Writer – Stage Debut Awards
Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting