One-man family show about love, loss, family and boxing comes to Halifax's Square Chapel
Inspired by writer and performer Oliver Sykes' own experiences of growing up without a mum and being coached as an amateur boxer by his dad, Alfie's First Fight tells the story of shy 12-year-old Alfie.
When Alfie's older brother Jacob goes missing moments before the Golden Gloves Championship – the biggest boxing match of his life – he puts his fears aside and goes to investigate.
Who are the bear-like Big Man and the cigar-smoking Posh Man? What do they want with Jacob? And how will anyone ever compete in the ring against ultimate teenage warrior, the Boy Giant?
On the surface, it’s a simple adventure story about goodies and baddies and the drama of the boxing ring. But Alfie's First Fight is also about love, loss, family and learning how to fight for what you want.
Newcomer Oliver Sykes delivers punchy, high-energy storytelling with the right amount of audience participation – and wears real boxing gloves while he does it.
For Oliver, 33,who grew up a keen amateur boxer, it's a personal tale. One of six siblings, he was brought up in poverty in rural Derbyshire by a single-parent dad. His family lived on a council estate on the breadline, receiving clothing donations from local charities, income support and free school meals.
Inspired to aim high by his book-loving dad, Oliver went on to graduate with a first from Lancaster University. Via the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries, ring-fenced for high-achieving arts graduates from low-income families, he took on a paid internship at Contact Theatre, Manchester, and became a theatre and creative project producer.
Oliver said: “It's a relatable, working class story about a loving and supportive non-traditional family who love boxing. It’s a story about coming of age, fighting our fears and being who we always wanted to be. It will appeal to everyone who has felt like the underdog but has gone full throttle for the win regardless."
Alfie’s First Fight is at the Square Chapel, Halifax, on Sunday October 15 at 2pm. Tickets: 01422 353 073