Islington resident collects virginity tales for daring new theatre production

A play based on true-life tales of people losing their virginity - and partly inspired by frisky council workers - will ask audience members to reveal their first times in public.

The Virginity Project, devised and produced by Upper Holloway resident Chris Mellor, will bring to life dozens of fumbling early sexual experiences when it opens today - and the cast will even act out the stories of audience members brave enough to tell all.

The show is based on the work of noted blogger Kate Monro, who gathered the stories over five years for her website of the same name.

Mr Mellor, 50, of Marlborough Road, said: “We have collected stories from all sorts of people. There are people who lost their virginity to their teacher, older people who didn’t know what a naked body looked like until they married, as well as disabled people who visited sex workers.”

His interactive and web-savvy production will be streamed live on – for a small fee of �2.99 - while the audience will be encouraged to Tweet their reactions throughout.

“I hope we create the conditions for them to share their stories with us,” he added. “Kate says men are much more likely to tell their virginity stories - and we’re going to put her to the test on that.

“If people come as groups, they can reveal the moment in front of their friends. People can even let their mothers hear about it on the web stream!”

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Mr Mellor is a former Camden Council arts officer – before he was made redundant this summer as part of a massive programme of 1,000 job cuts – and he says the work was partly inspired by the racy goings on at Camden Town Hall in King’s Cross.

Listening to his colleagues’ raunchy antics and saucy banter helped spark the idea – and some of their stories have made it into the play.

He said: “I got inspiration from lots of places, including the people I worked with. It seems when you are under threat of losing your job, you use office sex talk to bond with each other. Tweeting about your latest sexual conquest was the perfect antidote to their dole queue blues.”

* The Virginity Project is at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden from tonight, October 6, until October 22, with live streaming on Contact the box office on 020 7240 6283 or