Hannah Walker is trying to earn back £100,000. So she’s making a theatre show explaining how and why it was lost.
An exploration of the online gambling industry based on conversations with experts and experience of being in love with a compulsive gambler
Written and performed by Hannah Walker
Northern Stage 19 – 21 May
Based on her own experience of being in a relationship with a compulsive gambler, Gamble is a new multimedia theatre production peering behind the glittery curtain of jackpots and big wins to explore the complexities of addiction and the effects it has on themselves and their loved ones.
The theatre show explores addiction, gambling, loss, and resilience, all underpinned by love, and premieres in May when a long-awaited and delayed government white paper on gambling legislation is due to be published.
From the perception that gambling was all about the attainment of the star prize at the monthly village bingo, Hannah soon discovered the dark world of late-night casinos accompanied by the sinister pull of 24/7 online access in the palm of her partner’s hand.
Gamble features interviews with experts, health professionals, those in recovery and their loved ones, and places particular importance on the impact gambling has on the deaf community, with little consideration or support given.
The show works to capture the breadth of addiction and its far-reaching ripple effects. The gambling industry is worth an estimated £14.3 billion, and has the highest rate of suicide of all addictions, between 250 and 650 people a year. Recently, there were calls for the government to enforce stricter regulations on the industry, and a landmark study published by GambleAware in March 2022 has shown that gambling addiction could be nine times higher than the betting industry claims.
Gamble will be presented as a preview version at Shoot Festival in Coventry (28 – 29 April) and premiere in Hannah’s home city of Newcastle Upon Tyne (19 – 21 May). All performances will have integrated BSL interpretation, and each performance at Northern Stage is followed by a post-show discussion with Dr Matthew Gaskell, Clinical Lead and Consultant Psychologist for the NHS Northern Gambling Service. A filmed version will be screened in London to gambling industry professionals in conjunction with Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, director of The National Problem Gambling Clinic.
Hannah Walker said, ‘This is a significant national issue and it’s not going away. There is still a huge taboo around gambling and compulsive gamblers often feel deep shame that prevents them from seeking support from friends, family and health professionals. It’s so important that people understand that compulsive gambling is an addiction; it has nothing to do with someone’s character.’
Hannah Walker is a comedy performer and theatre maker. She creates autobiographical shows to open up conversations about stigmatized aspects of everyday life. Subjects that are mundane, curious, dangerous or delightful, she makes performances that are relatable and entertaining for her audiences. She is an Associate Artist with The Six Twenty and regularly performs with them. She co-hosts PUG: an alternative performance night, co-facilitates Coax: a performance workshop and is a reader with InterAct Stroke Support.
Running Time: 55 mins 30 min post show | Suitable for ages 14+
Trigger warning: Gamble may be triggering to people with a gambling addiction or who are in recovery. References to mental health conditions. The post-show discussion may include references to other potential triggers including suicide.
Creator and performer Hannah Walker Co-creator Rosa Postlethwaite
BSL integrated interpreter Faye Alvi Deaf consultant EJ Raymond
Creative developer and digital artist Paul Trickett
Lighting designer and stage manager Craig Spence
Original music Jamie Cook Director Paula Penman
Mentor Amy Golding Production assistant Caroline Liversidge
19 – 21 May, Northern Stage
Barras Bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 7HR
7pm | £10 | www.northernstage.co.uk | 0191 230 5151
28 April – 29 April
Double Bill: Gamble & Protests, Hymns and Caskets
The Belgrade Theatre
Belgrade Square, Corporation St, Coventry, CV1 1GS
From £10 | 7.30pm | Belgrade.co.uk | 024 7655 3055