Lighthearted Intercourse

Lighthearted Intercourse

Fiona Hampton as Madge and Nicholas Shaw as Joe. Photo credit: Ian Tilton

Lighthearted Intercourse

Lighthearted Intercourse

Fiona Hampton as Madge and Nicholas Shaw as Joe. Photo credit: Ian Tilton

Lighthearted Intercourse

Lighthearted Intercourse

Lighthearted Intercourse

4 October - 3 November 2012

Octagon Theatre Bolton presents

Lighthearted Intercourse

A World Premiere, by Bill Naughton


The Octagon Theatre Bolton celebrates the work of Bolton’s greatest ever playwright, Bill Naughton, with a play recently unearthed from his personal archives and reworked by director David Thacker to create a World Premiere production: Lighthearted Intercourse.

Lighthearted Intercourse is a tender, funny and intimate portrayal of a young couple living in 1920s Bolton adjusting to married life and discussing their fears, anxieties and conflicting needs with a true Northern humour. Just a year into their marriage and with a young baby to care for, Joe is one of three million unemployed looking for work every day – when he’d much rather be making love with his young wife, Madge. Both have secrets from their pasts that they are reluctant to share with each other, until an unexpected visitor appears who seems to know exactly what the future holds…

There will also be two very special ‘behind the scenes’ cameos from well-know Boltonians Maxine Peake and Peter Kay, who have contributed their vocal talents to play off-stage characters Clara and Albert. Both roles were pre-recorded during rehearsals and will be used throughout the production. Click on our Gallery section to see images of Maxine recording her part.

Bill Naughton wrote the world famous play Alfie, which enjoyed huge success last season at the Octagon. The first play performed at the Octagon in 1967 was Naughton’s Annie and Fanny, and his plays All in Good Time (1974 and 1987) Spring and Port Wine (2008) and Ayub Khan Din’s Rafta Rafta (2010, based on All in Good Time) have all enjoyed success at the Octagon. Lighthearted Intercourse has all of the hallmarks of a Bill Naughton classic, tackling human relationships with the honesty, warmth, tenderness and wit that characterises the work of Bolton’s most famous playwright.

Artistic Director David Thacker commented on the process of reshaping and crafting Bill Naughton’s archived work:As a huge admirer of Naughton’s work, bringing Lighthearted Intercourse to the stage in the Bill Naughton’s home town is a real privilege for me. I’m honoured that Bill Naughton’s widow, Erna Naughton, entrusted me with the responsibility of creating a new play from the dozen or so drafts of scripts and related notes that Bill had written. I have even been lucky enough to visit Erna as a guest in the home that she shared with Bill on the Isle of Man and spend some time working on the development of the script in Bill’s study.  

Largely based on his own early life as a young man in Bolton, Bill Naughton’s play is funny, moving and inspiring. As is usually the case with great writing, many of the issues that the play explores are still relevant today. This is certainly true of Lighthearted Intercourse and Naughton’s characteristic wit, humanity and generosity makes this play worthy of comparison with his three major plays.

Here's a behind the scenes video about the construction of the set for Lighthearted Intercourse:

Take a look at the Production team in action below - 3 days of set building condensed into just 3 mins!


"The play has wit, guts and the permeating, reviving warmth of a steaming mug of tea. The performances are gorgeous."
The Times


"...first-rate play, full of rare interest and moments of sublime comedy and exquisite sadness. It is a personal triumph for Thacker, Bolton’s resident genius."
The Stage


"...the genuine emotion and thoughtfulness behind the story explain why this production is such a success."
Manchester Evening News

"It is tender and funny; moving and wise which all add up to a play of great warmth and appeal. You just love the characters and are drawn into their world."
What's On Stage

"...the play has the treasured Naughton hallmarks of tenderness, warmth, domestic rows (over previous lovers), humour and hardship."
The Arts Desk

"...flashes of Naughton's wit, storytelling and social conscience..."
The British Theatre Guide

"Lighthearted Intercourse is a moving, often funny, exploration of existence, the choices we make and the consequences we face."
The Public Reviews

"It’s certainly lovingly crafted, well acted, and on this showing deserves to be ranked alongside the writer’s established work"
Manchester Theatre Awards

Cast & Crew

Nicholas Shaw
Fiona Hampton
David Fleeshman
Maxine Peake
Peter Kay

Director: David Thacker
Designer: Janet Bird
Lighting Designer: Mick Hughes
Sound Designer: Andy Smith
Movement Director: Lesley Hutchison
Assistant Director (Placement): Hannah Drake
Casting Directors: Beverley Keogh and David Martin
Deputy Stage Manager: Sophia Horrocks


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