Lewis Bray’s Cartoonopolis, a funny and touching portrait of family life, comes to Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre next week.

Written for the stage as a one-man show, Cartoonopolis is based on real events.  It gives an insight into the world of Lewis’ brother Jack, a young man with severe autism, and their parents.  Matt Rutter and Chris Tomlinson have directed the production.

As a child, Jack’s autism meant he found it difficult to express himself.  But then a chance encounter with Buzz Lightyear changed his life forever. After watching Toy Story, Jack found cartoons provided him with a gateway and now as a young man he has created a huge imaginary world: Cartoonopolis. His world is filled with characters as diverse as Porky Pig and Batman, and also includes characters of his own invention, like the evil Mayor Sharp.

One day Jack invited Lewis into this world and that was the beginning of a big adventure for them both. The story of this adventure is juxtaposed with scenes with their Mum and Dad and their daily routines. Their real highs, real lows, real laughs and their genuine love of life.

Speaking of the production and real-life events behind the play, Lewis Bray commented, “This is the real story about living with Jack, and his imaginary world. It’s also about my heroes, our mum and dad. How my family learnt to live with Jack’s fictional town, all the cartoon characters who live there, and how we learnt to live with his autism. I’m so happy that we’re now able to bring Cartoonopolis to so many new people and that by sharing our story we will give audiences an insight into life with autism.”

Cartoonopolis was first staged in 2015 at Liverpool Everyman in association with Playhouse Ignition Project.  PIP supports artists from across the disciplines making their entrance in to professional theatre.  Since 2016 Lewis has been working with independent producer Adrian Turrell-Watts to secure the show’s first UK tour.

When does Cartoonopolis run at the Royal Exchange Theatre?

Cartoonopolis runs at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, from Tuesday 16 until Wednesday 17 May 2017.  The production takes place in The Studio.

Tickets £12 (£10 concessions).

Royal Exchange Theatre image courtesy University of Salford Press Office/flickr under creative commons licence.