My name is Kevin Kelly and in just a few days, my play based on the 1980's gay coming-of-age novel, "The Milkman's on His Way" is having its world premiere at The Old Courtroom Theatre as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.
This book saved my life and I want to bring it to the stage to hopefully save other people’s lives too.
In the 1980’s I was a very confused young gay person in Dublin wrestling with an attraction to the same sex and with no positive role models to look up to and thinking about taking my own life. I phoned a gay helpline and they suggested I get hold of a copy of David Rees’s book, “The Milkman’s on His Way”.
The back cover said it all…
"Growing up gay, beginning as a teenager to realize what you are... Just when everyone else is becoming involved with the opposite sex, you're alone in having to hide your feelings. It's impossible to talk to anyone. It's not something you want to blurt out to your parents, your teachers or the boy you fancy. The only salvation is to find people like yourself. And that's a big step. A very big step".
I read the book and realised that it was OK to be gay and that things would get better – and they did!
The book broke new ground as a positive image of growing up gay. It was accused during the Section 28 debates of ‘glorifying’ gay sex. The adaptation brings David Rees book to the stage for the first time as we follow Ewan's journey from realisation, fear and self-loathing through to acceptance of his sexuality.
It is important to bring this book to the stage now. More than 35 years after publication, young gay, lesbian and trans people are still taking their own lives because they can't deal with their sexuality. More than one in five (22%) of young gays and lesbians have attempted to take their own lives while among young trans people that rises to more than two in five (45%). The aim of the play is to drive home the simple message, it gets better!”
Featuring some of the very best music of the 1980’s, our marvellous cast of 7 actors recreate the terror and exhilaration of discovering your true self and making your way in a hostile world as you search for love.
I decided to pay the 7 outstanding actors and crew the correct Equity rate because I felt it was unfair to ask the actors and crew to work for nothing but that has meant that I need to raise a very substantial sum to put the show on – almost £45k. We’ve mortgaged our house to get it this far but now I need your help. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount – but if you wanted to sponsor the show then that would be marvellous!
The show runs at the Brighton Fringe for 10 performances from 4th May – more information is on the brightonfringe.org website.
If you want to know more about the book or the production then please visit tmohw.co.uk