Creative Director Corey Campbell, interim CEO Neil Murray, and the whole team at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry are delighted to be co-producing with China Plate the world premiere of Please Do Not Touch  which will run from 11 – 21 September at Belgrade Theatre, with a press night on Friday 13 September at 7pm. 

Written by former Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey (pic) (GrimeBoy, Birmingham Rep) and directed by award winning theatre maker, Gail Babb (Stars, Tamasha - OFFIE’S Best New Play 2024), ‘Please Do Not Touch’ is an evolution of Bailey’s 2021 poetry collection of the same name and follows Mason, a social justice TikToker, who spends his spare time in heritage houses examining the artefacts that exist there and uncovering the truth behind their origin stories. Tijan Sarr (he/him) will play ‘Mason’.

Tijan previously collaborated with Casey Bailey on ‘Grimeboy’ at the Birmingham Rep. Other credits include ‘Boys Who Cry’, as well as three brand new plays under the Sky Comedy Scheme.

TV work includes Doctors for the BBC, Shadow & Bone for Netflix and most recently a lead role on all episodes of ‘The Marlow Murder Club’ (Series 1 & 2) opposite Samantha Bond and Jo Martin. Paul Warwick, Co-Artistic Director of China Plate explains: “This project gives us an opportunity to work with one of Birmingham’s most talented writers, something we’ve been keen to do ever since we saw an early extract of Please Do Not Touch at our Bite Size Festival in 2022.

“When Jade Samuels brought the project to us for further development, it felt like a perfect fit. The show’s themes of social justice and struggle resonate strongly with us, with our partners, and with the amazing creative team working on the production. Co-producing with the Belgrade Theatre, working alongside that organisation’s inspiring new leadership team and their dedicated staff, is also a fantastic opportunity.

“Both our organisations foreground co-creation in the way that we make work. On this show, for example, we have developed the piece alongside staff and volunteers from the Heritage Sector, prison inmates and through a number of workshops with young people attending the incredible Free@Last centre in Nechells.” 

Belgrade Theatre Creative Director Corey Campbell said: “This show asks really important questions about colonial legacy, contested heritage and how stories are told, whilst shining a light on the criminal justice system – we’re thrilled to be working on it with China Plate.” China Plate invited the National Trust, along with other organisations, to participate in the research and development phase of the play. 

The National Trust aims to present the fullest possible history of the places and collections in its care, and this collaboration provided an opportunity for staff and volunteers from a number of National Trust properties in the Midlands to work with writers, artists and the wider production team on the play. While the play is a work of fiction, this collaborative, inclusive and research-based production allows audiences to explore the idea of the country house and its collection, through a different lens. 

‘Please Do Not Touch’ will be directed by Gail Babb (she/they), design by Miriam Nabarro (she/her) with sound design by Kayodeine (she/they), lighting design by Gillian Tan (she/her), movement direction by Keiren Hamilton-Amos (he/him), with dramaturgy by Yaël Shavit (she/her) and with Jade Samuels (she/her) as Associate Producer.