SHORTLISTED FOR THE POLARI FIRST BOOK PRIZE
Next Lesson is a new play by Chris Woodley, about the challenges of growing up gay.
In 1988, 14-year-old Michael comes out as gay. Later he returns to the same school as a teacher. In the background: the notorious Section 28 of Thatcher’s Local Government Act, which prohibited schools from “promoting homosexuality” and divided teachers and parents.
The narrative of the play spans from 1988 to 2003.
Ideal for drama students, colleges, amateur theatre groups, local theatres. Publishing to coincide with LGBTQ History Month, February 2019.
'How has being queer in the classroom changed over the pastthirty years? This informative play is your revision guide.Next Lesson is one school play that you won’t want to miss.'***** ‘A Masterpiece’ – Gay Times
'Section 28 was one of the most hateful pieces of legislationbrought in by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Next Lesson byChris Woodley looks at the knock-on effects of this legislationin the same school between 1988 and 2006. It’s funny, movingand heartwarming stuff. This excellent play is a great reminderof how fear and oppression can cause untold damage amongstvulnerable teenagers and that with love, honesty and unity wecan overcome the curveballs life throws at us.'***** ‘Incredible’ – attitude
'Definitely worth going back to school for.'**** – DIVA
'The first thing to say about Chris Woodley’s play NextLesson is that it is very good. An A+, 10 out of 10, top marks,gold star and any other educational phrase that can beapplied to 75 minutes of how relationships work: motherto son, teacher to pupil, friend to friend and lover to lover.'**** ‘A+’ –Boyz
'What Woodley has achieved in his debut play is remarkable…Next Lesson is informative without being didactic, telling avery personal story as well as having clarity of the world atlarge, all the while wearing its heart on its sleeve.'**** ‘Remarkable’ –Female Arts
'Brought in by the Thatcher regime, Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act forbade local authorities from promoting homosexual relationships as equal to heterosexual ones. This hated piece of legislation created confusion and caution in schools, undoubtedly prevented teachers from addressing homophobic bullying, denying lesbian and gay pupils appropriate sex and social education. Chris Woodley’s excellent play charts the education system through those years, creating lesbian, gay and bi characters from both sides of the classroom and staff room.'**** ‘Highly entertaining’ –British Theatre
'This short production touches on a number of key issues that affected countless people within the LGBT+ community (and their loved ones), not just in the wake of Section 28 but throughout history. ‘Next Lesson’ is an educational piece devoted to the examination of this vital part in legal discrimination’s history, and will be eye- opening to many who perhaps did not know about this law and its damaging legacy.'**** ‘Impressive’ –West End Wilma
About the author
Chris Woodley is an actor, writer, teacher and co-founder of Hyphen Theatre Company. Chris trained as an actor at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.As a writer, his credits include: The Soft Subject (A Love Story) (Assembly Hall), Bedtime Story (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Next Lesson (The Pleasance) and co-writer for My Boyfriend Jesus Christ (Karamel Klub) and When The Lights Went Out At Christmas (The BRIT School).His recent theatre credits include: KATE (Greenwich Theatre), You Should Be So Lucky (Above The Stag), Walking: Holding (The Yard), From Russia, For Love (Theatre Deli), An Enemy of the People (New Diorama), The Gay Naked Play (Above The Stag), This Child (The Bridewell Theatre) and Rainman (Karamel Klub).Television credits include: Extras.