Jock Night from The Hope Theatre Company at the King’s Head in Islington

Jock Night is the new play from the Hope Theatre Company and arrives at the King’s Head Theatre at the end of this month, running until 11 May. Here, writer and Artistic Director Adam Zane explains how Jock Night echoes some of the issues explored in hit TV show Queer as Folk 20 years on.

Hi Adam, what’s the set up and basic story of Jock Night? 

Jock Night is set around the club night Jock, an underwear and sportswear night that started in Manchester. I wanted to write a comedy that explored a lot of the issues facing the LGBT+ community and Jock seemed the perfect setting. The play takes place over four Jock nights and follows a group of five friends and lovers and their pre-drinks parties and post-club chill outs.

Talk us through the characters.

Ben is in his 40s and trying to find out where he belongs in the gay scene now. He’s searching for love in a world of chemsex and jockstraps. The twinks don’t get his Victoria Wood references and he doesn’t get their RuPaul quotes – I can relate!

It deals with some difficult subjects, but how would you describe the tone of Jock Night? 

The play is a comedy that does deal with difficult subjects like addiction, chemsex, access to PrEP and HIV stigma. Jock the club night is a fun, non-judgemental event. Like the club night it’s based on, I wanted the play Jock Night to highlight some of the issues our community faces in a fun, non-judgemental way.

What was the inspiration for writing this? 

Twenty years ago I was in the TV series Queer as Folk and I wanted to explore Manchester’s gay village twenty years on and find out what issues face a young gay guy arriving on Canal Street now. I researched the play for two years speaking to organisations and individuals, including friends struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Like Queer as Folk, the play is funny, sexy and will hopefully provoke discussion on where we are as a community.

Do you think that drugs, chemsex, addiction of all kinds has replaced HIV as the pressing topic for discussion and art on the LGBT scene? 

London theatre has been exploring these issues for some time and rightly so. There is an urgent need for discussion and hopefully Jock Night will continue this discussion, but with a lot of laughs along the way – the play celebrates our community and shows that we are funny, fabulous and flawed.

What would you like people to take away from this? 

For me, the play is about how we connect – with friends, lovers and the wider LGBT+ community. It’s really a rallying call for us all to connect more, talk more and help each other more. We are facing more challenges now than when Nathan first arrived on Canal Street in Queer as Folk, but I’m a great believer in our strength as a community when faced with challenges. History has shown that when faced with crisis, the LGBT+ community are strong.

Jock Night runs from 30 April until 11 May at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN.

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