Show inspired by Wapping underpass will make debut at arts festival

Rhubarb Ghetto was inspired by an underpass in Wapping. Picture: Kavita Babbar

Rhubarb Ghetto was inspired by an underpass in Wapping. Picture: Kavita Babbar - Credit: Kavita Babbar

A playwright’s new show inspired by an underpass in Wapping is set to make its debut at a London arts festival.

Playwright Mark Heywood. Picture: Steve Lawton

Playwright Mark Heywood. Picture: Steve Lawton - Credit: Steve Lawton

Mark Heywood's play, Rhubarb Ghetto, is set to feature as part of Vault Festival - a two-month festival featuring more than 400 shows.

It tells the story of gang leader Billy, who is attempting to tie up loose ends in an area where rich and poor live side by side, before going on the run.

"Near where I live, there's an underpass that connects a council estate to the fringes of Shadwell," Mark explained.

"There's a building that's always covered in graffiti. What must that be like to live in?

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"On the other side all you come across are nice cafes and places like that."

Mark, who moved to Wapping six years ago, was inspired to write a play set in and around that underpass - which can be found underneath the A1203.

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"On the Wapping side, there was a piece of graffiti saying 'where is the East End going?'" he explained.

"I saw it and thought there's a story here."

The play, which lasts an hour, deals with concepts such as poverty, gentrification and family relationships.

Mark wrote Rhubarb Ghetto especially for the festival, which takes place across 18 venues in and around Waterloo.

And the audience is set to be immersed in the show's world before it even starts as to enter the venue - The Vaults - requires walking through a graffiti-covered underpass in Leake Street, Lambeth.

Mark who is a novelist and scriptwriter, said he is keen to be putting on a show at the festival.

"It's really huge," he said. "I haven't done theatre for a while."

He added that each show only runs for a week during the eight-week festival because of the number of plays involved.

Rhubarb Ghetto is on at The Vaults in Leake Street, Lambeth, from Wednesday, February 12 to Sunday, February 16 at 9pm, with an additional performance at 4.30pm on Saturday, February 15.

For tickets, priced from £6.50 including booking fees, visit

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