Opening the newly renovated Leeds Playhouse with their award-winning show Trojan Horse, LUNG make a stop in The Courtyard Theatre where Leo Owen caught the show.

NOT the tale of Troy and Greek cunning but instead a rather more hard-hitting story, taking inspiration from 2014’s news. After the discovery of an anonymous letter alleged to be from Birmingham Islamists detailing how to take control of a local school, Muslim teachers and governors were accused of infiltrating schools to push hard line Muslim views and plot extremist activity.

LUNG theatre bravely tackles this contentious scandal with creators, Helen Monks and Matt Woodhead, adapting real life testimonies of those involved in the UK government’s enquiry.

A five strong cast (Mustafa Chaudhry, Qasim Mahmood, Keshini Misha, Komal Amin and Gurkiran Kaur), school desks/chairs and a giant blackboard bring the investigation to life. Structuring the ordeal into sub-headed segments, including “The Verdict”, “The Letter” and “The Walk to School”, cast directly address the audience from multiple perspectives as governors, the head teacher, Birmingham council members and affected students.

From claims boys and girls were segregated to allegations of an enforced prayer tannoy, it soon becomes clear through the misuse of their power that the media had systematically destroyed a once thriving school. Tragically segregating the community, the investigation resulted in poor outcomes for both vulnerable students and dedicated teaching staff.

Exploring religion, identity, community and feelings versus fact, it is very clear where LUNG’s sympathies lie in Trojan Horse. The press alone is certainly not the play’s sole villain as Michael Gove’s academies and the creation of a “Free Market” are both blamed too. LUNG pose an interesting final thought, challenging viewers to decide who the real Trojan Horse is – Michael Gove, the Educating Funding Agency or perhaps even Ofsted?

Trojan Hose showed at The Courtyard Theatre October 5th before continuing its UK tour: