Dominated by Gradgrind and Bounderby, Coketown's prosperity is built on the cotton mills where thousands of men and women slave away for long hours and little pay. Gradgrind's obsession with material progress damages his children Louisa and Tom, leading to scandal and disaster. Hard Times celebrates the importance of the human heart in an age obsessed with materialism. Circus, music, and dark comedy all go into the rich mix of this truly Dickensian theatrical tale.
Charles Way has written over 40 plays, many of them for children and young people. He was commissioned by the National Theatre to write Alice In The News, which children all over Britain have performed. He has also written many plays for radio, and a TV poem for BBC2, No Borders, set in the Welsh borders, where he lives and has spent most of his creative life.