RETURN VISIT: Playwright Naomi Sumner Chan is bringing her play Same Same Diffferent to Barnard Castle School, where she studied
RETURN VISIT: Playwright Naomi Sumner Chan is bringing her play Same Same Diffferent to Barnard Castle School, where she studied

A PLAYWRIGHT is bringing her new play to familiar surroundings.

Although based in Manchester, Naomi Sumner Chan studied at Barnard Castle School and her parents still live in the town.

Her play Same Same Different – which tackles themes of adoption, identity and belonging – will be performed at the school on Friday, May 3

The play is inspired by Ms Sumner Chan’s own experience of being adopted from Hong Kong into a white British family.

It invites the audience to join her in exploring her personal and cultural identity.

She said: “As a trans-racial adoptee myself, I wanted to create a piece of work that prioritised the adoptee voice and put that front and centre.

“Often, adoption narratives are adoptive parent centric and focus on the parent’s story or the process of adoption. This play is different as it provides adopted children and adults the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words.”

She added: “The focus is on day-to-day family life and dynamics in their adoptive family, and their sense of place and self rather than the adoption process.

“The aim is for adoptees to speak honestly and explode some of the myths and misconceptions around adoption.

“I hope the play will be helpful for adoptive families who may be struggling with bonding and cohesion to feel less alone, by knowing other people are going through or have experienced similar situations.”

While celebrities such as Madonna and Angelina Jolie have raised the profile of trans-racial, inter-country adoption, the practice has recently come under scrutiny.

In 2017, the Netherlands considered a ban on inter-country adoption, following a report published by the Ministry of Justice that found the adoption process can be used as a front for child trafficking, and last year Ethiopia placed a ban on adoption of children by foreign nationals.

Ms Sumner Chan began writing for the stage in 2013 with work performed at Oldham Coliseum Theatre, The Arcola and Theatre 503.

An alumni of the National Theatre’s Step Change programme, she also works as a freelance script reader for The National Theatre Studio, The Royal Exchange Theatre, Sheffield Theatres and Papatango.

She has recently completed the ADLP Leaders of Tomorrow programme, a leadership course for BAME creatives who want to change the face of British theatre, and was also selected for the Artistic Directors of the Future board shadowing programme in Yorkshire.

The show at Barnard Castle School starts at 7.30pm. To book tickets, call 01833 690222. The show is suitable for ages 12 and older.