In Events

Copyright: Jenny Zarins

Nigel Slater is an author, BBC presenter and a food columnist for The Observer for 25 years.

His memoir Toast - The Story of a Boy’s Hunger won six major awards and became a BBC film starring Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore.

It has now been adapted for the stage by Henry Filloux-Bennett for The Lowry’s Week 53 festival. The Lowrty caught up Nigel ahead of the play’s world premiere at the Salford arts centre:

  • ‘Toast’ has already been adapted for film, how is a theatre adaptation going allow people to access the story in a completely new way?

This particular production allows the audience to get very close to the actors - they will probably be sitting on the stage - which I feel increases the intimacy of their involvement with the story. 

  • You’re working with the team at The Lowry as part of their biennial Week 53 Festival. Why do you feel ‘Toast’ is the perfect fit for the festivals ‘coming of age theme’?

Because the book is a ‘coming of age’ story, so it is entirely appropriate for the theatre’s own coming of age. It seems like right story in the right place at the right time. 

  • Is there a single moment from the story that you think captures ‘coming of age’?

Not a single moment, but the slow realisation throughout the play that my father was fallible. I had only known him as someone who was always right, the one who knew all the answers. Slowly I begin to see that he couldn’t cope. He was out of his depth with a full time job and having to look after a little boy singlehanded. 

  • How does it feel to share your most intimate moments growing up with an audience?

I’m fine with it. Toast was written from a truly personal point of view, it was only after publication of the book I realised that the experiences and emotions I went through were shared by so many others. I just wish I had known that at the time. 

  • The story concludes at 18 years of age, The Lowry celebrates its 18th anniversary this year- why do you think 18 is a milestone that we give so much significance?

Historically, the number 18 has been associated with success and prosperity. It is also the Hebrew number that indicates a long life. It’s significance has increased in recent years, becoming almost more important than 21. Let’s celebrate.


Week 53

Based on the British Book Awards Biography of the Year, Toast is the story of Nigel Slater’s childhood, told through the tastes and smells he grew up with.

The Lowry
The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays

A spectacular home to entertainment and the arts.

Week 53
The Lowry Events
Week 53

In May, The Lowry will celebrate this landmark birthday through its Week 53 festival, which will bring together work from across the globe that focuses on 'the coming of age'.



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