The latest productions from The Green Room Carlisle theatre group tackle some of the most serious issues facing society today.

Shelagh Stephenson’s hard-hitting play The Long Road opens on Monday and explores the possibility of forgiveness even when you have suffered the most appalling hurt.

When Danny is fatally stabbed by Emma, his family falls apart, each one trying to come to terms with Danny’s death.

That is followed by two more striking and very different productions.

A double-bill of contemporary plays will be performed in the intimate setting of the bar at the West Walls theatre.

The first play, The Mikado by award-winning writer Mark Ravenhill, centres on the strain in a personal relationship caused by one of the partners suffering from a critical illness.

A darkly funny piece, it also touches on wider themes such as global warming and terrorism.

The second play, Institute Destitute Substitute, is by The Green Room’s own Nigel Banks, who is also directing both plays.

It features a homeless ex-college lecturer Colin seeking shelter in a village hall where he meets Lydia, who is setting up for the monthly WI meeting.

Their initial antagonism gives way to greater understanding, especially after Shakespeare enters their conversation.

The play combines social comment with a humorous portrait of the behind-the-scenes politics in a typical WI branch. The premiere of this new work features John Metcalfe, who is also appearing in The Mikado, and Jo King.

The plays mark a shift in tone from recent comedy productions by the group and Mr Metcalfe said: “We like to do a mix. You have to make people think now and again.”

The Long Road will be performed from October 7-12. Tickets are available from Carlisle Tourist Information Office. Tel: 01228 598596

The Mikado and Institute Destitute Substitute will run from October 30-November 1.Tickets (£5, no concessions) are only available on the door and seating capacity is limited.