SparkPlug

A new play by David Judge

13 February – 13 April 2019

“He’s got two Dads, my lad. One’s black. That makes him black. I suppose.”

Manchester, 1983. Dave loves Rod Stewart, Joanne and his Ford Capri. He’s all set for a new start. Only Joanne’s about to have someone else’s baby. Is Dave ready to become a Dad even though he’s not the father?

A punchy and poetic exploration of family, race, identity and love, SparkPlug is the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child, David.

Inspired by autobiographical events and exploring the playwright’s background as an actor and spoken word artist, SparkPlug is a lyrical and energetic monologue that examines what family means in today’s society.

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Finalist for Alfred Fagon Award Best New Play 2017

Featured as one of BBC’s theatre shows you won’t want to miss 2019

#SparkPlugTour

New Tricks development supported by Unity Theatre Liverpool through their Out of Space: Play Space programme.

Supported by
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Image: © Decoy Media

🎧 Listen to David Judge’s SparkPlug Playlist:

“SparkPlug is a rare example of concept, purpose and performance fusing successfully into one immersive production. Under Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s direction, SparkPlug maintains pace and variety, forging Dave as a truly complex and sincere character... Cleverly structured, with well-designed set, sound and lighting, SparkPlug is a well-written, well-conceived and impressively executed new play.”
★★★★★ North West End
“Pure bliss... SparkPlug is a beautiful, remarkable piece of theatre, and Judge is one of the best actors I’ve had the pleasure of seeing grace the stage. This play is outstanding from start to finish. You need to see it.”
★★★★★ A Younger Theatre
“The script for SparkPlug is outstanding... Although SparkPlug is a single-person play it is hardly a dry monologue. Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder uses Judge’s highly physical performance style to create a dynamic and tense production. Central to this approach is Katie Scott’s remarkable set... Intensely moving and beautifully performed, SparkPlug is a play that rewards attention.”
★★★★ Reviews Hub
“Unflinching... in its exploration of racism, violence and masculinity. But it’s the great love and honesty at its heart that makes it such a powerful and compelling piece... A punchy, poetic and provocative play.”
★★★★ Northern Soul
“A well-told, detailed story, all told in a warm-hearted and often very funny way… Compellingly performed… A lovingly crafted story that has been turned into a really interesting piece of theatre that is well worth seeing.”
British Theatre Guide
“David Judge’s new play unflinchingly explores identity, race and family through the lens of his own experiences... Designer Katie Scott’s ingenious garage set... An extremely charismatic performance... Judge’s writing is poetic and powerfully direct... SparkPlug feels deeply personal, it’s a vivid and compelling labour of love.”
Circles & Stalls
“Judge’s performance is captivating, carrying the audience through the messy complexities of Dave’s life with energy and compassion... SparkPlug is a play about men, boys, race, sexuality, Manchester and cars. You’re unlikely to see a story quite like it at the theatre – so I’d recommend you check it out if you can.”
North Manchester FM
“A moving autobiographical monologue exploring a special father and son bond… Judge lovingly interweaves his home city of Manchester into the personal narrative with bittersweet comic effect.”
The Stage
“Passionate, powerful, very personal… Judge’s performance, hopping in and out of several minor characters, is a real tour de force with brilliant timing and conviction… Well deserving of the first night’s standing ovation.”
Theatre Reviews North
“There are plays, productions, shows that you appreciate the work of, admire, praise, write about, commend. Then there are those that you actually want to frogmarch people into the theatre to see. Go immediately and see SparkPlug… A brilliant evening at the theatre.”
Honorary Manc
“The complexity of [David Judge’s] tale and his eloquent, passionate delivery command my total attention, and I’m transported into his world… Storytelling at its finest.”
Emma Hopley Reviews
Click to reveal more

Cast Members:


Creative Team:


Director: Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder Designer: Katie Scott
Associate Producer: Max Emmerson TSM: Adam Steed
Production Manager: Liam M Whittaker Sound: Chris James
Lighting: Richard Owen Assistant Director: Hannah Calascione
Press: Suzie Jacobs | Chloé Nelkin Consulting

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Show Calendar

HOME, Manchester 13 February — 23 February 2019
Book Tickets
Unity Theatre, Liverpool 26 February — 2 March
Book Tickets
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury 7 — 8 March
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Irving Studio, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham 9 March
Book Tickets
Harrogate Studio Theatre 11 — 12 March
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Live Theatre, Newcastle 14  — 16 March
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York Theatre Royal 19 — 20 March
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Hull Truck Theatre 21 — 22 March
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Theatr Clwyd 26 — 27 March / Mawrth
Book Tickets
Crewe Lyceum Studio 28 March
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Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant 29 March
Book Tickets
Lighthouse, Poole 30 March
Book Tickets
Marlowe Studio, Canterbury 1 April
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The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead 2 April
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The North Wall, Oxford 3 April
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Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax 4 April
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The Met, Bury 5 — 6 April
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Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough 8 — 9 April
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Birmingham Repertory Theatre 10 — 13 April 2019
Book Tickets
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