Inspired by a real family story, The Duke is a funny and poignant performance by Shôn Dale-Jones of Hoipolloi. Receiving The Scotsman’s Fringe First Award in Edinburgh in 2016, this thoughtful, yet powerful, performance visits HOME in Manchester for two performances this June.
Back in 1974, Dale-Jones’s father purchased a porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington for £750 – the equivalent of around £8000 today. Dale-Jones’s father saw the figure as an investment for his family. In 2015 his widowed mother accidentally smashed the prized figurine while Dale-Jones was listening to a report about the refugee crisis and was busy rewriting a promising film script which, if the producers liked, would deliver a pleasing pay packet.
The Duke takes these ideas as a starting point and weaves together the tragi-comic fate of that family heirloom, the quandary of a scriptwriter stretching his integrity, and an unfolding disaster as thousands of children flee their homes. Blending fantasy with reality, this playful show gently seeks to challenge our priorities in a world full of crisis.
The Duke received The Scotsman’s Fringe First Award in Edinburgh in 2016 and has been produced in aid of Save the Children’s Appeal. The production was recently commissioned as a radio play for BBC Radio 4 and has raised over £47,000 for child refugees via Save The Children’s Emergency Fund. The Duke is followed by two performances of Me & Robin Hood, in which Dale-Jones examines the inequality that exists in society through his relationship with his best fictional friend, and truly legendary hero, the Prince of Thieves himself.