A new play that tackles issues of bigotry and hate has received Arts Council England funding and hits the stage from today in Ringwood.

Forest Forge Theatre’s production of Hidden is touring schools and venues throughout September to November.

The play tells the story of Alix, a white British 14-year-old girl, and Samir, a young Iraqi refugee. After intervening a racist attack on Samir, Alix finds herself building a new friendship. We watch their friendship grow as they rescue a stranger from the sea and are faced with making some tough decisions between what’s morally right and the rule of law.

The play adapted by playwright Vickie Donoghue, is based on the novel ‘Hidden’ by Miriam Halahmy.

Director Stuart Mullins said:“Nearly two weeks of rehearsal have passed and already we have learnt so much about Vickie’s play. The more I hear it the more I realise how immediate and relevant the themes and issues are that she’s taken from Miriam’s original novel.”

The play has a cast of just three. Kirsty Jackson who plays young Alix, Inaam Barwani who plays Samir, and Aosaf Afzal who plays a refugee rescued from the sea. Set on a beach in Hayling Island, we follow a story that demonstrates how friendships can cross indiscernible boundaries.

After its debut public performances at Ringwood based Forest Forge Theatre tonight and Saturday, the play will tour to schools and venues across Hampshire, Essex, and London.

As well as Forest Forge Theatre, the public will be able to see the play at The Place Bedford on October 12, two performances at the Portsmouth Guildhall for Journeys Festival International on October 20, and at Alyth Synagogue in London on November 1.

Forest Forge Theatre’s CEO and Creative Producer Sharon Lawless said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Anvil Arts, Forest Arts, The Spring Havant, and Thameside Theatre, to reach schools in their local areas. For schools we are providing workshops alongside the performance as this play really offers some strong messages that tie in nicely with key stages for English and Citizenship. It’s been a fantastic journey and a pleasure to work with all involved.”