First Look: Production images: The Open House, a Theatre Royal Bath Ustinov Studio and Print Room at the Coronet co-production

Trio of ground-breaking Plays at Hope Mill Theatre in early 2018

Joseph Houston
Joseph Houston

Joseph Houston

Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester has announced a trio of ground-breaking plays that will feature at the award-winning venue in early 2018.

They are the regional premiere of a ‘thrilling and heartbreaking play’ that has been relocated to Manchester by its author, an exciting new period piece about the amazing life of an infamous 18th Century diplomat and spy starring Coronation Street’s Dean Fagan and a compelling look at parenthood and grief, which includes the first ‘baby-friendly’ relaxed performance at Hope Mill.

Joseph Houston, Artistic Director, said: “I am thrilled to announce our early 2018 season of plays. Since opening, Hope Mill has been a receiving venue for many emerging and smaller theatre companies and the ambition and standard of work from these independent theatre makers continues to amaze me.

“The three plays which make up our Feb to March programme include the northern premiere of Vincent River by Philip Ridley. What is so exciting about this play is that director John Young is working with Philip to relocate the play to Manchester, which is an incredible first for this piece.

“In keeping with LGBT History month in February we have a period piece by Manchester-based writer Renny Krupinski that is set around one of the first known trans people of their time, Chevalier D’Eon de Beaumont, and which includes a stellar cast of northern actors.

“Finally, The Replacement Child staged by Manchester based mother-and-child friendly company Abooo. This is a really important piece which tackles the effects of miscarriage and as a Hope Mill first we will be having a mother and baby friendly performance.

“As a venue we are constantly trying to push the boundaries of theatre on small scale and want to help support emerging companies as they pave their way in a highly competitive industry.

“I feel that our opening season of plays compliments our ambition with our in-house musicals – of which the first three of 2018 were recently announced – and which we will continue to develop and nurture.”

Yet Another Carnival and Hope Mill Theatre present Vincent River by Philip Ridley and directed by John Young from Tuesday 27 February to Saturday 24 March 2018. The regional premiere of Philip Ridley’s thrilling and heartbreaking play relocated to Manchester.

Vincent River slides under the surface of fear, hatred and love. Davey has seen something he can’t forget. Anita has been forced to flee her home. These two have never met. Tonight their paths cross with devastating consequences.

This searing modern classic takes aim at homophobia and hate crime with breathtaking honesty.

Author Philip Radley said: “I’m so thrilled and excited that Vincent River is being brought to life, and relocated to Manchester, for its regional premiere at Hope Mill Theatre. It’s the perfect home for the play.”

 This production is supported by the Arts Council, Superbia and The Philip Carne Trust.

 D’Eon is a new piece of writing by Manchester-based Renny Krupinski, brought to life by the Straight Acting Company and starring Coronation Street’s Dean Fagan and runs from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 February 2018.

Celebrity, intrigue and scandal aplenty, D’Eon is the bizarre and amazing true story of one of the infamous, outrageous, unsung warriors of history and the first openly documented transgendered person in European history.

1769, Chevalier D’Eon de Beaumont stepped out of the limelight as a French diplomat to England, Russian spy, Prussain war hero and international bon viveur – only to step back into it as the woman she truly was.

 The Replacement Child, by mother-and-baby friendly Manchester theatre company Abooo, runs from, Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 February.

Jumping between past and present, The Replacement Child – written by Victoria Cafolla and directed by Martin Gibbons – is a darkly humorous, visceral and compelling look at parenthood and grief and how one couple deals with loss – for better or worse.

Grace is tired of her father’s silence regarding the mother she never knew. The week after her 18th birthday she visits him and demands to know the circumstances leading up to her birth. Will Oscar risk losing his daughter by revealing a past shrouded in secrets and pain?

 There will be a baby-friendly relaxed performance on Thursday 22 February at 11am – a first for Hope Mill Theatre. (Please note the show contains emotional content and is not recommended for toddlers)

In addition to the above, the world premiere of The ToyBoy Diaries, Hope Mill’s first in-house musical production of 2018 runs from 18 January to 10 February and is on sale now. This new musical comedy charts the hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking sagas of mid-life dating.

 For more information on these productions, or to book tickets, visit www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk.

Website:      www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Hope-Mill-Theatre-1450957091877957/

Twitter:         @hopemilltheatr1

In 2018, Finborough Theatre celebrates 150 years of the Finborough Theatre building with the FINBOROUGH150 series, an anniversary selection of the best plays from 1868

During 2018, the Finborough Theatre celebrates 150 years of the Finborough Theatre building with the FINBOROUGH150 series, an anniversary selection of the best plays from 1868. Our first season of 2018 features the first rediscovery from 1868 in the FINBOROUGH150 series, alongside five premieres of new writing – three from brand new British and Irish writers in their formal professional debuts, and two multi-award-winning American playwrights with two hard-hitting and controversial new plays.

Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson said: “A recent article in the press bemoaned the lack of new British playwrights at some of London’s funded “new writing” theatres. As always, it is up to venues such as ours to redress the balance. This season features three new debut plays from British and Irish playwrights, alongside two new plays from multi-award-winning American playwrights. Three of the new plays this season were first seen in our acclaimed Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights seasons which will celebrate its tenth consecutive year in 2018. As always, too, we celebrate the old alongside the new, and this season we begin celebrating the 150th anniversary of our building with the first in our new FINBOROUGH150 series.”

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Nanking massacre, the season opens with the European premiere of Into the Numbers by the multi-award-winning playwright Christopher Chen, commemorating the 80th anniversary of ‘The Rape of Nanking’, one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, playing for a four week limited season from 2-27 January 2018. It is accompanied by the world premiere of Imaginationship by Sue Healy, a new play on love, sex, obsession and death in Great Yarmouth, originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, playing on Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees between 7-23 January 2018.

The season continues with the world premiere of a debut by Cornish playwright Henry Darke, Booby’s Bay, a passionate, comic fable about the housing crisis in Cornwall and beyond, and a maverick’s mission to turn the tide, playing 30 January-24 February 2018. It plays alongside the opening production of the FINBOROUGH150 series – the first London production since 1890 of the 1868 hit, Cyril’s Success, a semi-autobiographical satire on playwrights and theatre folk, by local resident Henry J. Byron, playing for nine Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees from 4 February 2018.

The season  ends with the world premiere of the first English-language adaptation of the classic novella by Ghassan Kanafani, Returning to Haifa, adapted for the stage by Naomi Wallace and Ismail Khalidi, a compelling story of two families – one Palestinian, one Israeli – forced by history into an intimacy they didn’t choose. It concides with the 70th anniversaries of both the Nakba or “catastrophe” (the mass dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948) and the foundation of the State of Israel, and plays from 27 February-24 March 2018. It plays concurrently with the world premiere of Checkpoint Chana by Jeff Page, a new play examining the point where pro-Palestinian criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism blur. Originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, it runs on Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees between 4-20 March 2018.

From 30 January 2018, by popular request, they are  moving to a new ticketing provider, Spektrix, for all ticket bookings. The website address will remain www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk. From 30 January 2018, telephone bookings will be on a new number 01223 357851 and will be free to call.

The Finborough Theatre has had a superlative year to date with acclaimed sell-out productions, transfers in London and to New York City, our tenth Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme Playwright in Residence Bursary, and nominations for both The Stage Debut Award and an Olivier Award.

– Neil McPherson, Artistic Director

January to March 2018 | Press Nights and Photocalls

Tuesday, 2 – Saturday, 27 January 2018

The European premiere


by Christopher Chen. Directed by Hannah Price.
Press Nights: Thursday 4 and Friday 5 January 2018 at 7.30pm

Photocall: Wednesday, 3 January 2018 at 1.00pm-1.30pm

 Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 January 2018

The world premiere
by Sue Healy. Directed by Tricia Thorns.

Press Night: Monday, 8 January 2018 at 7.30pm

Photocall: Monday, 8 January 2018 at 5.00pm-5.30pm


Tuesday, 30 January – Saturday, 24 February 2018

The world premiere

by Henry Darke. Directed by Chris White.

Press Nights: Thursday, 1 February and Friday, 2 February 2018 at 7.30pm
Photocall: Tuesday, 30 January 2018 at 1.00pm-1.30pm


Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 February 2018

The first UK production in over 120 years

by Henry J. Byron. Directed by Hannah Boland Moore.

Press Night: Monday, 5 February 2018 at 7.30pm
Photocall: Monday, 5 February 2018 at 5.00pm–5.30pm


Tuesday, 27 February – Saturday, 24 March 2018

The world premiere

by Ghassan Kanafani. Adapted by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace. Directed by Caitlin McLeod.

Press Nights: Thursday 1 and Friday 2 March 2018 at 7.30pm

Photocall: Tuesday, 27 February 2018 at 1.00pm-1.30pm

 Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 March 2018

The world premiere


by Jeff Page. Directed by Manuel Bau.

Press Night: Monday, 5 March 2018 at 7.30pm

Photocall: Monday, 5 March 2018 at 5.00pm-5.30pm

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Book Online at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
UNTIL 29 JANUARY 2018 – BOX OFFICE 0844 847 1652 (calls will cost 7ppm plus your network access charge.)
FROM 30 JANUARY 2018 –
BOX OFFICE 01223 357851 (calls are free.)


For Into the Numbers, Booby’s Bay and Returning to Haifa
Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm. Sunday matinees at 3.00pm. Saturday matinees at 3.00pm (from the second week of each run).
Prices for Weeks One and Two – Tickets £16, £14 concessions, except Tuesday evenings £14 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats. Previews (first two performances) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.
£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on on the first Saturday evening of each run when booked online only.

Prices thereafter – Tickets £18, £16 concessions, except Tuesday evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.

Group Bookings – 1 free ticket for every 10 tickets booked.

For Imaginationship, Cyril’s Success and Checkpoint Chana

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions.

, ,

Finborough Theatre, Neil McPherson: ‘Fringe theatre is undergoing a lasting change… I don’t want it to become a rich kid’s playground.’

The Finborough Theatre has had a remarkable year; acclaimed sell-out productions, London and New York transfers, the tenth Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme Playwright in Residence Bursary, nominations for The Stage Debut Award and an Olivier Award.


Neil McPherson

Since 1998, Neil McPherson has been artistic director of the Finborough pub theatre. It’s fair to say he knows what he’s doing on the theatre front and if you’re in the market for a chat about that then today is your lucky day.

Anyway I hopped on the phone with Neil to find out what he’s got to say for himself.

In 2018, the Finborough celebrates 150 years of the Finborough Theatre building with the FINBOROUGH150 series, an anniversary selection of the best plays from 1868. McPherson may be approaching twenty years in post but he shows no signs of losing enthusiasm. “Next year is the 150 Anniversary of our building so we are going to be doing an anniversary selection of the best plays of 1868 – our new season, for example, features one play from 1868 alongside five pieces of new writing,” he says, excitedly.

Last week, Lyn Gardner wrote about the state of play of the London fringe, saying: The days when the London fringe was a place where the penniless and the radical could find a nook of cranny, where they could thrive, have long gone. Does he agree? “Sadly, Lyn is absolutely right.  Fringe theatre – as it is now – is on the cusp of a massive change,” he says. “Almost as big as the shift of print media vs the internet. For many years in London – the number of fringe theatres stayed constant – then suddenly over the last five or six years – a dozen theatres or more popped up. And that brings its own challenges for a 50-seat venue paying market rent,” McPherson says.

He continues, “I’ve never been a subscriber to the belief that “fringe” means amateurish. I’ve always tried to take the best of the fringe – the ability to find new and exciting writers, directors, designers, actors theatre; the ability to respond to events quickly; and to be radical and controversial; and marry that with the best of the commercial theatre’s values – a respect for training, and high production values, for example,” he says.

“It’s got to be good – just because it’s a fringe theatre doesn’t mean it can’t be world class.”

We talk about the renewed discussion of masculinity in crisis and the constant developments around sexual harassment. “I think the best thing we can do is shut up, listen – with humility – and do and be better. It’s time for a big change. And, it goes hand in hand with bullying which also needs to be addressed,” says McPherson emphatically.


What steps has he taken to ensure that he is doing all that he can within the organisation? “Just this very last week we’ve altered our production manual we give to companies’ clear guidance. We also have the Royal Court code of conduct on display in working areas. The awareness is all, and, as my favourite teacher at drama school used to say “N.T.T.” which stands for “Nobody’s That Talented,” he says, laughing.

Earlier this year McPherson was nominated for an Olivier Award for his play Is It Easy to be dead – a play is about a remarkable WWI poet, Charles Hamilton Sorley. The play received solid reviews and transferred to Trafalgar Studios. McPherson is realistic about the sustainability. “In terms of critical acclaim and commercial sales – we could transfer 1 in 3 of our shows; however, we only transfer 1 in 7. And perhaps not always the most deserving ones. I always go back to the Noel Coward quote “Just do what you like and believe in and just hope to God other people like it too,” he says.


Alexander Knox in It Is Easy To Be Dead. Photo: Scott Rylander.

McPherson is deeply aware of the importance of seeking out diverse voices and not being dependent on playwriting competitions. “I’ve judged some playwriting competitions in the past and personally I think it’s best to just do the new writing development work I’m doing anyway and then put on the plays when they are ready,” he says.

“I’m not altogether convinced by decision by committee, and I think quite often with competitions, we know something has to win and so we pick one that is the least bad,” he tells me, before adding, “They can be a good thing and an important thing but it should only be part of it the process, not the whole process for getting new voices discovered.”

What are the biggest challenges for the Finborough in 2017? “The Equity low pay – no pay campaign is hugely important, and we’re doing all we can to do our part. But nothing happens in a vacuum, and the campaign does have serious knock-on effects which in the long run may mean a lot less opportunities for actors and creatives,” says McPherson, adding that 9 out of 12 Finborough main shows paid at least Equity Fringe Agreement minimum this year.

“It’s slow progress, but we’re not being lazy,” he says. “The people now putting on shows are coming from a much more moneyed background than, say, five years ago. But, as an example, one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with – a female working class director/producer – she should be having a really successful career now but she’s more or less had to give up because she can’t work in the current climate as she is terrified of being sued if she was to do another fringe show.”

Is there anything that he’d like to add, I ask. “Fringe theatre is undergoing a massive and lasting change and I don’t know where it’s going to go yet, and we’re confronting those new challenges on a daily basis. I don’t want it to become a rich kid’s playground,” McPherson replies.

The Finborough’s 2018 season is now on sale 


Coverage of the above interview in The Stage

Coverage of the above interview in The Stage


Ray Rackham Productions announces the world première of a new play, developed through the London Theatre Workshop Theatre Lab

Developed through London Theatre Workshop’s Theatre Lab, Freddie, Ted, and the Death of Joe Orton is a timely work written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales and the tragic, untimely death of the author and playwright Joe Orton.  This thrilling tragi-comedy is a fascinating new play penned by Don Cotter who recently played the role of studio boss, Louis B. Mayer, in the West End production of Ray Rackham’s Judy! 

Freddie, Ted, and the Death of Joe Orton examines the devastating impact in the shift in the balance of power between two men at a time when homosexuality was considered a crime.

Ray Rackham

Ray Rackham

Brighton, England, 1960s. Middle-aged Freddie, suffering from undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, has inherited a three bedroom house which he now shares with his younger partner, the aspiring musician, Ted. When Freddie intercepts a life-changing letter addressed to Ted, his fragile hold on reality begins to crumble.

Ray Rackham directs Don Cotter’s third full length play.

“But that’s how things used to be. It’s 1967. We’re legal now. No more living in fear. No more waiting for the dreaded knock upon the door. Times are changing for the better, Freddie, and we have to change with them. That’s why I’m catching that train tomorrow. And that’s why you have to let me.”


Robert Styles (Freddie)

The West End’s Robert Styles has been with the play since its very first draft; having honed and developed the piece in a series of readings and workshops. Robert plays Freddie, suffering from undiagnosed OCD, whose house we visit as the fateful events of the play unfold. Robert Styles trained at the Arts Educational School. His experience covers regional, touring and West End theatre productions including: A Patriot for me (RSC Barbican), The Creeper (Playhouse London), The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (Chichester), King Lear (Old Vic), Priscilla (Palace Theatre London), What The Butler Saw (Belgrade Coventry), The Way Of The World (Northampton), Original Sin (Crucible Sheffield), A Month In The Country (Salisbury Playhouse), The Importance Of Being Earnest (York), A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep), Wind In The Willows (Clwyd) and a season at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park. Film and television credits include: Silent Witness, Guerrilla, Eastenders, Doctors, Jonathan Creek, The Cricklewood Greats, Suffragette, Elizabeth – The Golden Age and Harry Brown.
Robert recently supplied the voice and animation of Mr. Blackteeth in the new CBBC series Creeped Out!

Eoin McAndrew (Ted)

Ray Rackham, Director: “Eoin McAndrew is a fascinating new talent, and I’m delighted that he is playing Ted. His audition was one of the best I’ve seen in many years.”
Eoin McAndrew plays Ted, a young singer-songwriter who lives with Freddie (Robert Styles), a troubled soul suffering from undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The story unfolds when Freddie intercepts a life-changing letter addressed to Ted and his fragile hold
on reality begins to crumble. Eoin studied Drama at the University of Exeter and trained as an actor at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Most recently he appeared in Cream Tea and Incest for Adjective Productions at the Edinburgh Fringe and filmed an episode for Autopsy: The Final Hours Of… for ITV.
His theatre work includes: The House of Edgar at the Edinburgh Fringe (Agosy Arts Company, Brighton Fringe Award Shortlisted) and Spring Awakening at the National Student Drama Festival (Shotgun Theatre, Winner of Best Student Musical). At Central he appeared in The Wonderful World of Dissocia and Beweep, Outcast. He was also a founding member of the Illogical Theatre Company, which toured productions in Exeter and London.
His film and television work includes City of Ember (Pipeworks Productions), The Race (Go- Kart Productions) and Marú (TG4).

Listings Information


A new play by Don Cotter

Produced by Ray Rackham Productions

London Theatre Workshop: Leadenhall Market, 88 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0DN (above the New Moon Pub).

27th November – 16th December, 2017 (Press Nights on 30th November and 1st December at 7:30 p.m.)

Monday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Additional Saturday matinee on 9th December at 2:30 p.m.

Preview Tickets

27th November – 29th November £10 flat rate. Thereafter Standard Ticket Price £16. Concessions £12.


Freddie: Robert Styles

Ted: Eoin McAndrew

Dilys: Helen Sheals

Glenn: Perry Meadowcroft


Written by: Don Cotter

Director: Ray Rackham

Set Design: Justin Williams Design

Assistant Design: Jonny Rust

Costume Design: Millie Hobday

Hair & Makeup: Leanne Steedman

Casting: Michelle Hutchings, for Ray Rackham Casting


Tickets can be purchased at LTW’s online box office:



Full Casting Announced on Glenn Waldron’s The Here and This and Now at Southwark Playhouse

Simon Stokes directs Simon Darven as Niall, Becci Gemmell as Helen, Tala Gouveia as Gemma and Andy Rush as Robby in Glenn Waldron’s dark and enigmatic comedy The Here and This and Now at Southwark Playhouse.  The play takes an intriguing and intelligent look at the medical industry and asks in these politically uncertain times, how high is the price of progress?

An office away-day. A newly recruited sales team for a pharmaceutical company learns the ropes.  But does their work really make a difference? What exactly is the drug they are selling? Change is swiftly coming and they asking all the wrong questions…

Science and civilisation collide in Glenn Waldron’s darkly funny play. Fiendishly original, The Here and This and Now interrogates office workplace culture and the cataclysmic consequences of antibiotic resistance.

A former journalist and editor of i-D magazine, Waldron’s first play Forever House was also commissioned by Theatre Royal Plymouth and premiered at the Drum in 2013. Waldron’s Natives opened to great acclaim at Southwark Playhouse last year.

 Simon Darwen’s theatre credit’s include Our Country’s Good (Out of Joint/Toronto/Tour), Flare Path (Tour), Lizzie Siddal (Arcola), Catch 22(Northern Stage/Birmingham Rep/National Tour), Virgin (Watford Palace), King Lear (Theatre Royal Bath), Mad About The Boy (Young Vic), Love, Love, Love(Paines Plough/Drum Theatre /National Tour), Unrestless (Old Vic Tunnels), Accolade (Original Revival Cast) (Finborough Theatre),Ramshackle Heart (Public Theatre New York) Arse, Shove (Theatre 503), The Merchant of VeniceThe Tragedy of a Thomas HobbesThe Taming of the ShrewA Midsummer Night’s Dream(RSC), 1 in 5 (Hampstead Theatre), Fanny & Faggot (Trafalgar Studios). His television credits include Call the MidwifeSilent WitnessThe Bletchley Circle and The Bill.

Andy Rush’s theatre credits include Love Lies and Taxidermy (Paines Plough/Clwyd Theatre Cymru/Sherman Cymru), Growth (Paines Plough), Tipping The Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith), Twelfth Night (The Lamb Players), Jumpers For Goalposts (Paines Plough), and The Kitchen Sink (Bush Theatre). His television credits include Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This, CasualtyWaterloo Road, and Wizards Vs Aliens; for film, ID2: Shadwell Army and Here and Now

Becci Gemmell’s theatre credits include Noises Off (Nottingham and Tour), Forever House (Plymouth Drum), Walking The Tightrope (Offstage Theatre), Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe), Much Ado About Nothing (Manchester Royal Exchange), Taming of The Shrew (International Tour and Shakespeare’s Globe). Her television credits include CasualtyDoctorsCall the MidwifeCode of a Killer and Land Girls (Series 1-3); for film, Red Lights.

Tala Gouveia’s theatre credits include The Mountaintop (New Vic Theatre), Husbands & Sons (National Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Orange Tree), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeares’s Globe) and White Tuesday (Arcola Theatre).  Television credits include Plebs (ITV), The Tracey Ullmann Show (BBC), Love Sick(Channel 4).  Film credits include Before We Grow OldThe Revenger: An Unromantic ComedyScream Street, Thunderbirds Are Go

Directed by Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Artistic Director Simon Stokes, who is recognised as one of the country’s leading pioneers of new writing and experiment in British Theatre.  He was an Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in the 70’s and 80’s and since then has directed in the West End, elsewhere in the UK, in Europe and in America.  Since he has been Artistic Director, Theatre Royal Plymouth has won, or been nominated for, over 30 major awards for producing new plays. A maverick director of ground-breaking, bold innovative new work, Stokes has consistently surprised audiences with his many ambitious collaborations.

As well as a wide commissioning programme for local and national writers, the Drum has long-standing co-production relationships with companies ranging from Frantic Assembly and Paines Plough to Told by an Idiot and Belgian radicals, Ontroerend Goed.



Southwark Playhouse

77-85 Newington Causeway
London SE1 6BD


The Here and This and Now and The War Has Not Yet Started will be performed in rep at the venue.  Please see the website for the performance schedule.

Nearest Tube: Borough / Elephant and Castle

Box Office

Online www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk


By Telephone:  020 7407 0234


Ticket Prices

Previews £12

£20, £16 (concs)


Students, Under 16’s, Unwaged, Registered disabled, Over 65’s

Registered disabled patrons can bring one companion free of charge.



Bush Theatre announces 2018 season – Meet the Writers

The Bush Theatre has announced 8 plays as part of its 2018 season – including 2 new commissions, 3 world premieres and 1 UK premiere

  • This season sees the launch of Passing the Baton –a 3-year programming initiative dedicated to revivals of work by BAMER artists beginning with Winsome Pinnock’s Leave Taking and including a mentoring scheme to nurture the next generation of BAMER writers
  • The season continues the theatre’s commitment to producing the best new playwrights and speaking up for diversity in all its forms 
  • Announcement includes portraits of the season’s writers in collaboration with photographer Bronwen Sharp
Madani Younis © Richard Davenport

Madani Younis © Richard Davenport

The Bush Theatre today announced their 2018 season with Artistic Director Madani Younis affirming their commitment to discover, nurture and produce the best new playwrights from the widest range of backgrounds, in a bold season of plays for year two in its recently refurbished home.

The theatre’s new building, designed by Haworth Tompkins, opened in March and since then over 20,000 people have seen a show there, 56% of whom were first-time visitors.  Shows such as Black Lives, Black Words and Hijabi Monologues London have brought international movements to the immediate community and have been met with capacity audiences. The revitalised building has also enabled the theatre to broaden its talent development work, which includes the continuation of the Associate Companies, schemes Project 2036 and Up Next, as well as the Bush Theatre’s community work – including young people’s new writing initiative NT Connections and the theatre’s Community Associate Companies scheme.

Artistic Director Madani Younis said,

‘I am so proud to be announcing yet another season of bold new plays for our newly revitalised home, with the new initiative of ‘Passing the Baton’ at its heart. ‘Passing the Baton’ is a yearly commitment by the Bush Theatre to celebrate and put centre-stage one play a year from the extraordinary body of work of British writers of colour from the 20th century.

 This is not simply about reviving a play we think is important. This is about confronting the fact that this work has often been relegated to the footnotes of the theatrical canon. It’s about saying we’re going to take this play and make it new again. And at the same time, we’re looking forward – by introducing a play to new audiences and inspiring the next generation of writers to pick up the baton. That’s why the initiative includes a mentoring scheme that launches alongside it.

 I’m honoured that this year we will be introducing new audiences to Leave Taking by Winsome Pinnock, a playwright on whose shoulders we now stand and who paved the way for many of the writers and performers who will appear in our 2018 season. I’m so excited by the dialogue this will create between artists, audiences and within the industry.’

Elsewhere in the season artists include: theatre-maker Javaad Alipoor, who pushes boundaries in both subject and form; local actress and first-time writer Monica Dolan, who will appear in her one-woman play The B*easts, which premiered at the Bush before a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe and winning an Edinburgh Stage Award; actor-turned-writer Arinzé Kene, whose new play Misty straddles music, spoken word and performance; and writer Vinay Patel, whose epic play An Adventure crosses both time and continents to tell a story of technicolour romance.

2018 season

Javaad Alipoor presents

THE BELIEVERS ARE BUT BROTHERS written and performed by Javaad Alipoor

Co-directed by Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housely

Stage and Lighting Design by Ben Pacey

Dramaturgy by Chris Thorpe

Sound Design by Simon McCrorry

Video Design by Jack Offord and Adam Radolinski

Produced by Luke Emery

Associate Director Natalie Diddams

Assistant Director Heather Knudtsen

24 Jan – 10 Feb

Press Night 26 Jan

Writer and theatre maker Javaad Alipoor presents his 2017 Scotsman Fringe First Award winning play. Resident Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres, and an Associate Director of Theatre in the Mill, his work comes from discussions and workshops with communities that don’t usually engage with mainstream theatre.

An electronic maze of meme culture, 4chan, the alt-right and ISIS

We live in a time where old orders are collapsing: from the postcolonial nation states of the Middle East, to the EU and the American election. Through it all, tech savvy and extremist groups rip up political certainties.

Amidst this, a generation of young men find themselves burning with resentment, without the money, power and sex they think they deserve. This crisis of masculinity leads them into an online world of fantasy, violence and reality.

The Believers Are But Brothers envelops its audience in this digital realm, weaving us into the webs of resentment, violence and power networks that are eating away at the structures of the twentieth century. This bold one-man show explores the smoke and mirrors world of online extremism, anonymity and hate speech.

Suzanna Rosenthal for Something For The Weekend, in association with the Bush Theatre, presents

THE B*EASTS written and performed by Monica Dolan

Directed by John Hoggarth

Designed by James Button

Lighting Design by Tom Clutterbuck

Produced by Something For The Weekend

12 Feb – 3 Mar

Press Night 15 Feb

BAFTA-winning actress Monica Dolan has starred in W1AAppropriate Adult, The Witness For The Prosecution and Strike: The Silkworm. She brings her first play, The B*easts, to London following a hit run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it won a Stage Edinburgh Award 2017.

A searing ‘What If?’ exploration of the pornification of our culture and the sexualisation of our children.

Setting the modern obsession with putting your own child first against our responsibility as a society towards our children as a whole, this dark tale, written by and starring Monica Dolan, explores how far one mum will go to give her child what she wants.

A Bush Theatre production

MISTY written and performed by Arinzé Kene

Directed by Omar Elerian

Designed by Rajha Shakiry

Dramaturgy by Kirsty Housely

Sound design by Elena Peña

Lighting design by Jackie Shemesh

15 Mar – 21 Apr

Press Night 21 Mar

Arinzé Kene is a star in the making, whose accolades as an actor for stage and screen include Girl From The North Country at the Old Vic and One Night In Miami at the Donmar Warehouse. He is best known as Simba in The Lion King, for BAFTA-nominated film The Pass alongside Russell Tovey, and as Connor Stanley in EastEnders. Arinzé’s writing credits include good dog (Watford Palace Theatre, UK tour) and God’s Property (Soho Theatre, The Albany).

“Here is the city that we live in

Notice that the city that we live in is alive

Analyse our city and you’ll find that our city even has bodily features

Our city’s organs function like any living creature

Our city is a living creature

And if you’re wise enough, you’ll know not all of us are blood cells…

Some of us are viruses.”

 Arinzé delivers an epic, lyrical journey through the pulsating heart and dark soul of inner city London. An inventive blend of gig theatre, spoken word, live art and direct address, Misty confronts the assumptions and expectations underpinning the act of telling a story.

Misty is directed by Bush Theatre Associate Director Omar Elerian (NASSIMOne Cold Dark Night, Islands) and will feature an original musical score performed live during the show.


A Bush Theatre production

Passing the Baton

LEAVE TAKING by Winsome Pinnock

Directed by Madani Younis

24 May – 30 Jun

Press Night 31 May

Winsome Pinnock is ‘the godmother of Black British playwrights’ (The Guardian) who defined and inspired a generation with her work for the stage. She won the George Devine Award for Leave Taking in 1991 and was the first black British woman to have a play produced at the National Theatre. She has written numerous, award-winning plays that put black experiences centre-stage. In 2017, Winsome’s short play The Principles of Cartography opened the newly refurbished Bush Theatre as part of Black Lives, Black Words.

“That girl heading for big trouble. I try to warn her but she won’t take telling. She think she know everything. Think she a woman.”

A single mother travelled to England determined to make a good life for her family. Now Enid and her two daughters search for a way to feel rooted in a land where they’re invisible.

With one daughter prepping for university happy to lead “a quiet life” and the other doing anything but, what’s a mother to do except call upon the local ‘obeah’ woman for some traditional Caribbean soul healing. Family secrets are soon revealed and tragedy rekindles Enid’s longing for home.

Leave Taking is a beautifully observed, moving account of a second generation immigrant family navigating the familial conflicts between generations and cultures. The play was first produced at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1987. Bush Theatre Artistic Director Madani Younis (The Royale) directs the contemporary revival of this classic, award-winning play.


A Bush Theatre production

AN ADVENTURE by Vinay Patel

Co-directed by Madani Younis and Omar Elerian

6 Sep – 20 Oct

Press Night 11 Sep

Vinay’s recent BBC drama Murdered by My Father was one of the smash-hits of 2016. Having broken onto the scene with the critically acclaimed True Brits, An Adventure is his biggest and boldest play yet. A drama of unprecedented scope and heart, spanning seven decades and three continents, inspired by the experiences of his immigrant grandparents.

A borrowed suit. A half-remembered film. A life of homecomings.

“I’m not much now, I know, but I will be. So pick me Jyoti and I swear I will make us the greatest adventure you ever have.”

On a stormy night in 1954, a woman doomed to marry one of five men discovers the wildcard choice might just be the person she’d been hoping for all along. An Adventure follows headstrong Jyoti and her fumbling suitor Rasik as they ride the crest of the fall of Empire from the shores of post-Partition India to the forests of Mau Mau Kenya onto the industrial upheaval of 1970s London.

But what happens when youthful ambitions crash hard against reality? When you look back at the story of your time together, can you bear to ask yourself: Was it all worth it?

Witty, charming and full of fearless historical insight, An Adventure is an epic, technicolour love story from one of the country’s most promising young writers about the people who journeyed to our shores in hope and shaped the country we live in today. This world premiere will be co-directed by Bush Artistic Director, Madani Younis (The Royale) and Bush Theatre Associate Director Omar Elerian (NASSIM, One Cold Dark Night, Islands).

An Adventure has been made possible by a lead gift from Charles Holloway and the generous support of the Peter Wolff Theatre Trust.



Mark Cartwright, in association with the Bush Theatre, presents

JELLYFISH by Ben Weatherill

Directed by Tim Hoare

26 Jun – 21 July

Press Night – 29 Jun

Ben Weatherill is winner of the Pitch Your Play Award and Curve Theatre Leicester Playwriting Competition. He established the Old Red Lion Writers’ Group, was part of the National Theatre’s New Views Programme and acted as dramaturg at Curve Theatre Leicester. Ben’s new play Jellyfish has its world premiere at the Bush Theatre in 2018.

“What about people who can’t make friends? Or who don’t laugh and are full of no love? They’re the real disabilities. I think.”

Agnes and her daughter Kelly have walked the same stretch of Skegness beach every day for fifteen years. They devour ice cream, hunt for crabs and watch as things mysteriously vanish along the shoreline. But when Kelly meets Neil, their cosy world soon begins to unravel.

With her mum struggling to understand the needs of a maturing daughter with Down’s Syndrome, Kelly and Neil have to fight for their right to be together.  While Agnes and her daughter drift further and further apart, an event is coming that will change all of their lives forever.

Jellyfish is the story of a first kiss, chips by the beach and coming of age in modern Britain. It’s a unique romance across unchartered waters which asks; does everyone really have the right to love as they choose?


A co-production with the Institut Français du Royaume Uni as part of its Cross Channel Theatre and En Scène! programmes

GOING THROUGH by Estelle Savasta

Translated by Kristen Hazel Smith

Directed by Omar Elerian

3 Oct – 3 Nov

Press Night 5 Oct

Writer and director Estelle Savasta runs ‘Hippolyte a mal au cœur’, a company creating ground-breaking bilingual work based in France. Her first play Seule dans ma peau d’âne received acclaim at the 2008 Molière awards. Going Through (originally Traversée) premiering at the Bush Theatre is her second play.

The little box is on the shelf. She is allowed to look at it and to touch it.

I am not allowed to open it.

She is not allowed to open it.

                I  promised.

She promised.

 For as long as she can remember, Nour has lived with Youmna. Youmna is beautiful and gentle and good, and she smells like the wind. She’s also deaf. But Youmna is not Nour’s mother, even though she wishes she was.

Youmna’s journey begins without warning. The men come to drive Nour to a new life faraway, in a better place for girls like her. All she can take with her is a little box and the memory of Youmna’s loving hands.

Going Through is a poetic and touching story of one girl’s journey through adolescence, across borders and through a well-guarded secret. This bilingual production seamlessly mixes English and British Sign Language and is directed by Bush Theatre Associate Director Omar Elerian (NASSIM, One Cold Dark Night, Islands).

Thank you to the Dorsett Shepherds Bush for their support in-kind.

A Bush Theatre and Antler co-production

LANDS by Antler

Created by Jaz Woodcock-Stewart with Sophie Steer and Leah Brotherhead

Directed by Jaz Woodcock-Stewart

Cast includes Sophie Steer and Leah Brotherhead

Additionally devised with Richard Perryman and Nasi Voutsas

13 Nov – 8 Dec

Press Night 15 Nov

Jaz Woodcock-Stewart is co-artistic director of Bush Associate Artist company Antler who tell stories through theatre and film. Antler are winners of an IdeasTap Underbelly Award, winner of Pulse Festival Suitcase Prize, nominees for The Stage Best Ensemble Award, and winner of Best Short Fiction at BFI Future Film Festival. They have transferred shows to the Bush, Soho Theatre and toured the UK.

Leah and Sophie have been together, here, for a long time. They are happy here.

But there’s a problem. There’s a fucking massive problem and soon they’re going to have to talk about it. From their own lonely lands, Leah and Sophie seek to help each other, without quite knowing how.

The award-winning Antler return with a playful, intimate dissection of a relationship teetering on the edge of collapse. Lands is an absurd tragicomedy, exploring the impossibility of relationships and our inability to understand one another. This moving play arrives at the Bush following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017.

Bush Associate Artists are kindly supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.


Ticket prices

Count Me In: £10 (Theatre)

Adult: From £20 (Theatre) and £10 (Studio)

Count Me In tickets are just £10 and are available for performances in the Theatre. These are unreserved tickets which will be allocated to a seat on the day of performance. Audience members might not be sitting next to the people they booked with but will be guaranteed a seat.

Concessions: Bush Locals, Senior Citizens, Disabled and Unemployed patrons, and Bush Connect (Students and U26) members will be eligible for concession prices.


Phone                   020 8743 5050

In person             Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, W12 8LJ

Online                  bushtheatre.co.uk

National Theatre Wales announces its 2018 Season

  • Kully Thiarai announces her first full season as the company’s Artistic Director
  • It includes collaborations with female artists from across the south Asian diaspora, Migrations, Quarantine, Junoon, Oily Cart, Gruff Rhys and Elis James
  • Multi-artform work including new writing, contemporary dance, music, comedy, sensory theatre and visual art
  • Performances in hospitals, schools and theatres, on a boat, underwater and at locations across Wales
  • The company also welcomes its first ever Associate Artists; theatre makers Mike Pearson & Mike Brookes, digital installation artist Shanaz Gulzar and television drama executive producer Bethan Jones

Kully Thiarai

National Theatre Wales today (Thursday 23 November 2017) announced its 2018 season of productions, including a month-long festival to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, two productions reflecting on the migrant experience in and beyond Wales, the first two productions in a three-year cycle of experimental works, and a work-in-progress.

Making the season announcement, Kully Thiarai, National Theatre Wales’ Artistic Director, said: “Our 2018 season is all about People and Places. We’re inviting audiences to join us in locations across Wales and take a moment to walk in others’ shoes, be they south Asian women or migrants from all over the world, NHS staff or patients past and present.

“These productions will be experimental, political, diverse and provocative. All of them will explore the human condition, what effect places have on our identities, and our impressions of others’ identities. Join us next year for this exciting new season of work, and see Wales, the world and its people through fresh eyes.”

National Theatre Wales present
Created by Mike Pearson & Mike Brookes
Locations across Wales

Theatre-makers Mike Pearson & Mike Brookes, who have created some of National Theatre Wales’ most critically-acclaimed work to date, will join the company as Associate Artists and begin an extraordinary, three-year collaboration with NTW in 2018.

The Storm Cycle will be a series of six productions conceived, designed and directed by Pearson & Brookes. These multimedia works will be performed at different locations across Wales, at a variety of scales and sizes, and will explore two key themes; truth and testimony. They will culminate in 2020 with the creation of a major, new, large-scale production for NTW’s 10th anniversary programme.

There is a storm coming…
We live in tempestuous times: an era of climatic and environmental uncertainty and of 
social and political upheaval. Perhaps it was always so.
But what new forms can theatre develop and adopt: to engage with and to reflect the temper of our times?
An urgent theatre: fit for purpose, addressing and expressing our present realities
Of living in the eye of the storm

The Storm Cycle will build on the approaches and techniques that Pearson & Brookes have brought to their trilogy of groundbreaking NTW productions, The Persians (2010), Coriolan/us (2012) and Iliad (2015), while also drawing on their own histories and experiences as theatre-makers in Wales over the past 40 years.

The works will draw on dramatic, literary, mythological, cinematic and artistic sources; historical and contemporary, local and international, fictional and documentary. They will include original texts, specially-created soundtracks, innovative scenic designs and novel physical activities.

Tickets for the first two productions in the cycle are on sale from today.

STORM.1: NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME will be a poetic yet cinematic reimagining of the first two books of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

STORM.2: THINGS COME APART will be a vivid evocation of the Cardiff riots of June 1919 – as reported in the local press (‘Wild Scenes at Cardiff’, South Wales Echo, Thursday 12 June 1919).

Mike Pearson was a member of Transitions (1971-72) and R.A.T. Theatre (1972–73), and an artistic director of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (1973–80) and Brith Gof (1981–97). He currently makes performance as a solo artist, with artist Mike Brookes as Pearson/Brookes (1997–present), and with senior performers’ group Good News From The Future. For NTW, he co-directed The Persians (2010), Coriolan/us (2012) and Iliad (2015). He is author ofTheatre/Archaeology (2001); In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape (2006); Site-specific Performance (2010); MIckery Theater: an imperfect archaeology (2011); and Marking Time: performance, archaeology and the city (2013). He is Emeritus Professor of Performance Studies, Aberystwyth University.

Mike Brookes is an award-winning artist, director and designer, whose work has always bridged media. He co-founded the performance collective Pearson/Brookes in 1997, focusing on intermedial and located performance work, most recently co-creating a series of acclaimed large-scale works in collaboration with NTW. Over the past decade, his work has centred on the production of context-specific and interventional public art works within his long-term collaboration with artist Rosa Casado; their work together having been widely commissioned and presented across Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America, and the USA.

Listings Information

Dates: 15-17 February 2018
Time: 8pm
Location: Pafiliwn Bont, Pontrhydfendigaid, Ceredigion
Tickets: £10, £7.50 conc and £5 for preview (15 February)

Dates: 21-24 March 2018
Time: 8pm (plus 3pm matinee on 24 March)
Location: The Tabernacl Church, Cardiff city centre
Tickets: £10, £7.50 conc and £5 for preview (21 March)

Box Office
By phone: 029 2037 1689


National Theatre Wales with Junoon present
Created by Kully Thiarai, Sameera Iyengar and other female artists from the South Asian diaspora
Date: 20 April 2018
Time: 8pm
Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Sisters is a conversation across continents about the richness, complexity and diversity of being a south Asian woman today. Stories recalled and half-remembered, embedded in objects, left behind on trains and in airport lounges. Journeys and conversations between women in India and Wales.

Sisters is us at our best, our worst, our strongest, our weakest. Unadorned and visible, we just are.

This all-female work-in-progress by leading British-Asian and Indian artists aims to hold a mirror up to life as a south Asian woman today, wherever she lives; the echoes and the contradictions, the (in)visibility and the comradeship, all told with playfulness, honesty and humour.

Sisters is part of India Wales, a major season of artistic collaboration between the two countries to mark the UK-India Year of Culture, and is supported by British Council Wales, the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International.

Director Kully Thiarai has worked in the performing arts for many years as a theatre maker, Artistic Director and arts consultant. Her early career was largely in new writing with national touring companies like Red Ladder Theatre Company and Major Road, both based in Yorkshire. She has since led a number of organisations and companies including as Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester, Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Theatre Writing Partnership and Red Ladder Theatre Company; commissioning, producing and directing work nationally and internationally. Kully has been Artistic Director and CEO of National Theatre Wales since May 2016.

Sameera Iyengar is co-founder of Junoon, an organisation that focuses on creating access to theatre and the arts. She is also currently Course Director of SMART (Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre), a capacity-building course designed specifically for theatre-makers in India, offered under the aegis of the India Theatre Forum (ITF). As a core member of the ITF till 2014, Sameera was involved in diverse efforts to strengthen the theatre environment in India. Previous to Junoon, as Director of Projects at Prithvi Theatre, Sameera was involved with running the Prithvi Theatre Festivals and Summertime programme of shows and workshops for children. She has co-edited Our Stage: The Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India Today (Tulika 2009). Her PhD thesis was Performing Presence: feminism and theatre in India.

Junoon seek to weave arts experiences into the fabric of society. Working closely with artists from theatre and allied arts fields, they strive to build a world imbued with the spirit of the arts, a world where curiosity, imagination, empathy, resolve, courage and possibility are celebrated, nurtured and valued. Junoon is about creating access to theatre and the arts. Bringing the arts into the spaces of our daily lives. Bridging the gap between arts, artists and audiences. They do this through a variety of arts experiences and engagements carefully designed and curated. Engagements include free public programmes as well as programmes designed for specific audiences. Junoon work with one eye on the present and another on the future, with a strong focus on sharing the arts with children and young people as well. junoontheatre.org

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. They create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. They work in more than 100 countries and their 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes. The British Council is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant-in-aid provides less than 20% of their turnover which last year was £864m. The rest of its revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All of its work is in pursuit of its charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally. wales.britishcouncil.org/en

Wales Arts International is the international team of Arts Council of Wales. It aims to increase the value of international cultural exchange to Wales by facilitating and supporting opportunities for international artistic collaboration and market development. Wales Arts International work closely with Welsh Government, British Council and other UK and international partners.


National Theatre Wales & Quarantine present
with Wales Millennium Centre
Part of Festival of Voice 2018
June 2018
Dance House, Cardiff

English is spoken by 1.75 billion people worldwide – that’s one in every four. Non-native speakers far outnumber first-language English speakers.

What happens to your sense of self when you move someplace where you don’t really know how to say who you are?

It’s said that by the end of this century, we’ll have lost more than half the world’s languages. In June, National Theatre Wales – which itself operates in a bilingual country – will collaborate with Quarantine to create a brand new production exploring language, migration and identity, how we learn to speak, and how we learn to listen.

Quarantine was formed in 1998 by artists Simon Banham, Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea. Over the past 19 years, the Manchester-based company have developed an international reputation for their pioneering work in re-shaping who gets seen and heard in performance, and are widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading contemporary theatre companies. Working with a shifting constellation of collaborators, the company makes theatre and other public events that are characterised by their intimacy, fragility and a playful instinct to place everyday life side-by-side with moments of rare, crafted beauty. Quarantine work with virtuosic performers and with people who have never done anything like this before – electricians, philosophers, families, soldiers, chefs, children, florists, opera singers and countless others. qtine.com

Wales Millennium Centre is the nation’s home for the performing arts, situated at the heart of Cardiff Bay. One of the UK’s top cultural attractions, the Centre showcases Welsh creativity and talents, provides an extensive programme of world class entertainment, partners with international artistic companies, and offers creative learning opportunities that aim to increase accessibility to art and culture.

Created by Wales Millennium Centre, Festival of Voice Cardiff is an international arts festival that celebrates the voice in all its forms. Festival of Voice is about discovery through participation and immersion – about finding voices; bringing artists and audiences together to hear and be heard. The festival commissions new work and brings together unique collaborations in contemporary and classical music, opera, theatre, talks and visual art.


July 2018
Locations across Wales

On 5 July 1948, one of the biggest ideas ever to come out of Wales was born. The brainchild of Ebbw Vale MP and the UK’s Health Minister Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, the National Health Service was a revolutionary idea, formed along with the Welfare State during Britain’s austere post-war period, and under the principle of collective responsibility.

National Theatre Wales will celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday in July 2018 with a month-long festival, inspired by some of the founders, staff and patients of this unique institution. This countrywide tribute to the NHS will feature seven multi-platform productions and events, made and performed live across the country and online:

  1. Theatre company Oily Cart will create Splish Splash; a multi-sensory, underwater, touring production for young people aged 3-19, performed in schools and hospitals. There will be three versions: one for those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, another for those on the autism spectrum, and a third for the deafblind. Their aim is to present a watery wonderland, a magical space where every sense is delighted. Hydro-therapy pools will be transformed by underwater lighting, clouds of bubbles drifting from below, curtains of perfumed spray, and live music played on floating pipes, with a sound that can be felt as much as heard.

Writer Tim Webb is Artistic Director of Oily Cart, and over the past 36 years has written and directed over eighty shows for the company. Webb co-founded the company with Musical Director Max Reinhardt, who has written and arranged the music in every production and performed in many shows. Reinhardt has co-composed the music for Splish Splash with percussionist George Panda, who will perform live on a specially constructed, marimba-like set of tuned pipes that float on the water. Designer Jens Cole will join the Oily Cart team again, having most recently worked with the company on their acclaimed show Kubla Khan.

Since 1981 Oily Cart has been taking its unique blend of theatre to children and young people in schools and venues across the UK. Challenging accepted definitions of theatre and audience, they create innovative, multi-sensory and highly interactive productions for the very young and for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. By transforming everyday environments into colourful, tactile ‘wonderlands’, Oily Cart invite audiences to join them in a world of the imagination. Using hydro-therapy pools and trampolines, aromatherapy, video projection, and puppetry together with a vast array of multi-sensory techniques, they create original and highly specialised theatre for young audiences.

  1. Love Letters to the NHS will be a series of five, new, solo shows written by five writers and performed in community spaces the length and breadth of Wales. These extended monologues will be intimate, heartfelt love letters to an institution with which all of us have had – or will have – a relationship, at some stage of our lives.
  2. National Theatre Wales will team up with arts organisation Migrations, French choreographer and dancer Julie Nioche and choreographers Filiz Sizanli and Mustafa Kaplan from Turkey, to create Touch, a site-specific, interactive and tactile dance piece about the therapeutic aspects of dance and the social place of the body. Made and performed in a medical facility in north Wales, the piece will be made with local, professional and non-professional dancers.

Founded in 2004, Migrations brings international contemporary arts to Wales while developing innovative collaborations, commissions and partnerships in Wales and further afield. To create unique experiences rooted in Wales, they collaborate with challenging and inventive artists, local communities and groups, national and international partners.

Migrations’ projects come in all sort of sizes and shapes, from large-scale site-specific commissions to dance film production with 100 amateur participants and interactive installations, variously using empty shops, rural landscapes and urban architecture as a stage.

Julie Nioche created A.I.M.E. in 2007 with a team of teacher-researchers, community leaders and active practitioners. The association’s mission statement speaks of its goal, the creation of choreographic works and the development of a citizen art, consisting of sharing and touring dance and the knowledge linked to this practice, notably somatic practices in the socio-medical sector. Seeing another way of considering a space for senses in our daily lives, she anchors her projects in different environments, so that they may take diverse forms and be seen by as many kinds of audiences as possible. She steps away from theatres in order to adapt to different spaces, producing many in situ projects.

Choreographers and co-founders of TALdans, Mustafa Kaplan and Filiz Sizanly explore what two, interacting, brave bodies could produce as mixed mechanisms within an unstructured logic, while making cautious physical discoveries. They have produced numerous works which have toured extensively internationally and share a special history with Migrations as they launched its very first season, and performed again in a site-specific performance for the landscape with Simon Whitehead in 2007.

  1. Gruff Rhys will write, record and release a new song paying tribute to the NHS on its 70th birthday. Keep an eye on NTW’s website for more information about where and when to hear it first.

Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist as well as a singer and songwriter with Super Furry Animals and Neon Neon, and for his collaborations with Gorillaz, Mogwai, Dangermouse and Sparklehorse amongst others. The latest album by Neon Neon, Praxis Makes Perfect, based on the life of radical Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, was performed as an immersive gig, produced by National Theatre Wales and toured in 2013. In 2014, Gruff released his groundbreaking multimedia project American Interior – book, app, film and album. American Interior is published by Penguin and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2014 and shortlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize 2014. That same year, he wrote the soundtrack of Andy Goddard’s film Set Fire to the Stars. More recently. Gruff wrote music and lyrics for, and performed in, NTW’s The Insatiable, Inflatable Candylion, performed in Cardiff, Christmas 2015.

  1. Laughter is the Best Medicine will be a night of comedy, compèred by actor and comedian Elis James, at the Lyric Theatre in his hometown of Carmarthen.

Carmarthen-born Elis James has been performing professionally on the UK comedy circuit for over a decade. As well as a seasoned stand up, Elis currently can be seen alongside Josh Widdicombe in hit BBC sitcom Josh. He’s also recently starred in his own series on BBC2 with Miles Jupp (Jupp and James) plus numerous appearances on Mock the Week8 Out of 10 Cats and Dave’s One Night Stand. Elis is also the co-host of the Elis James and John Robins Show on Saturday afternoons on Radio X, and presented Elis in Euroland for BBC Radio Wales in 2016.

  1. Following National Theatre Wales’ 2017 listening project, in which they gathered stories about people’s experiences with the NHS in Wales, one of the seven events will be a participative, live event reflecting the breadth of experiences and stories told from across Wales. This event will incorporate digital storytelling, sound and music, and celebrate the human stories that put the heart into our National Health Service. It’s not too late to send in your stories about your experiences (as a patient, relative or staff member) of the NHS in Wales. Get in touch…
  2. And finally, NTW will commission a visual artist to make a brand new work inspired by the volume of data generated by NHS Wales. This work could sit in a museum, online, a found space, a hospital site or somewhere we have yet to imagine. More information about this opportunity can be found at www.nationaltheatrewales.org/nhs70-open-call-artists.


National Theatre Wales present
Written by Louise Wallwein
Directed by Kully Thiarai
Designed by Camilla Clark
September 2018
Tenby, Pembrokeshire

An immersive experience written by poet and playwright Louise Wallwein, The Tide Whisperer will tackle the global phenomenon of displacement and mass movement. Record numbers are on the move all over the world. What is it like to leave your home, and to live with the uncertainty of ever finding another?

The Tide Whisperer is full of stories, forever a nomad, having travelled the oceans and been carried by the tide to fresh new shores.

On the shores of Tenby, the audience gathers. The tide is turning fast and a storm is coming. The future feels uncertain – humanity is on the move and seeking refuge. Will we be met by kindness or rejection; offered sanctuary or forced to survive the perilous, treacherous sea?

The Tide Whisperer, in which audiences will take to the sea to explore the coast of Pembrokeshire by boat, will be made with a leading Welsh creative team including award-winning composer John Hardy, sound designer Mike Beer and theatre designer Camilla Clark, who grew up in the area.

A renowned and award-winning poet, playwright and performer from Manchester, Louise Wallwein has made a name for herself as an explosive artist that detonates her audiences’ imaginations. Louise was brought up in 13 different children’s homes and wrote her first play at the age of 17. Her career took off in 1998 when she performed an award-winning one-woman show on the wing of a World War II Shackleton reconnaissance aircraft, and her various experiences as a cleaner, club promoter and dancer at the Hacienda and activist for organisations such as Anti-Clause 28 and Viraj Mendis’ defence campaign have undoubtedly shaped her. Three radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC. Theatre includes Sydney Opera House, Royal Exchange, Contact Manchester and HOME mcr. She has written several outdoor spectacular shows for Walk The Plank. Glue, her acclaimed one-woman show is currently on tour was broadcast this year, when Louise was a BBC Contains Strong Language resident poet in Hull 17. Glue The Extended Remix published by Smith Doorstop is Louise’s first volume of poetry and is now on sale.


As well as Mike Pearson & Mike Brookes, television drama executive producer Bethan Jones and digital installation artist, stage designer and producer Shanaz Gulzar will become Associate Artists for National Theatre Wales. Bethan will be helping to develop new writing projects and broadcast opportunities, whileShanaz will focus on digital projects.

After training at RWCM&D, Bethan Jones worked as an actor in theatre and television, eventually turning to theatre directing. As Artistic Director first of Dalier Sylw, which evolved into Script Cymru, she developed and directed numerous productions and collaborated with Theatr Clwyd, Paines Plough, the Traverse Theatre and Soho Theatre. Theatre directing led to directing television drama for BBC Wales and S4C, and Bethan joined BBC Wales in 2002 as Producer in charge of local drama output. From 2005, as Executive Producer at BBC Wales Drama Department, Bethan worked on a number of award-winning television dramas including Merlin, Sherlock, A Poet in New York, The Long Walk to Finchley, Room at The Top, Hamlet, War and Peace and most recentlyAberfan: The Green Hollow. Bethan left BBC Wales in May 2017 and joined CUBA Pictures, where she is developing new network drama.

Shanaz Gulzar is best known for creating work across disciplines to make innovative and challenging interventions. She works as a digital installation artist and stage designer also working as producer for specialist projects. Her work explores interactions between new technologies, film, theatre, place and identity. She has a clear and distinct artistic voice with a vision for producing ambitious, contemporary art that is accessible to both arts and non-arts audiences. Recent work includes Made in India (Tamasha Theatre), Mother Tongues from Farther Lands (at Alchemy Festival, The Southbank), Calderland (509 Arts Outdoor site specific Community Opera at The Piece Hall, Halifax) and HOME1947 with double Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen ObaId Chinoy forManchester International Festival.



Oscar Wilde’s ‘A Woman of No Importance’ will be Broadcast Live nationwide to over 400 cinemas from London’s Vaudeville Theatre on 28th November!

More2Screen will  distribute Classic Spring Theatre Company’s newly announced Oscar Wilde Season live to cinemas in the UK and Ireland, followed by a recorded roll-out internationally. The first of four plays by the Irish comic master, A Woman of No Importance, will be broadcast live on Tuesday 28 November 2017, followed by the celebrated Lady Windermere’s Fan on Tuesday 20 March 2018.

Classic Spring is the new theatre company from Dominic Dromgoole, former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. The company’s first season is a year-long celebration of the late genius Wilde, one aiming to provide a much fuller picture of the man and the artist, revealing this much-loved but complex playwright as the brilliant renegade he was in his own time.

Dominic Dromgoole will personally direct the first play A Woman of No Importance, starring Olivier Award-winning actor Eve Best as Mrs Arbuthnot and BAFTA-nominated Anne Reid as Lady Hunstanton, alongside Eleanor Bron and William Gaunt.

Multi-award-winning actor, director, comedian and playwright Kathy Burke will then direct Lady Windermere’s Fan. The Season will continue with the titles An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, with cinema broadcast dates to be announced in due course.

Christine Costello, CEO, More2Screen comments: “We’re completely delighted to be appointed as the theatrical distributor for this exciting theatre project. There’s a huge appetite for live theatre broadcasts from London’s West End and the Oscar Wilde Season will be a very strong offering to our cinema partners for their 2017-18 programme.”

Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Classic Spring, comments: “Oscar Wilde was a lover of the modern in all its forms, and I’m sure the idea that his plays could now be broadcast live to so many people, in so many places, would have delighted him. We are very pleased that these glorious plays are going to reach an even wider audience and have life beyond their runs in the West End.”

Wicked musical raises enchanting amount for the Woodland Trust



The cast and company of the smash hit musical WICKED have hosted a green theatre day and raised over £16,500 to help the Woodland Trust plant 11,000 trees at a St Albans forest.

2017 marks the seventh year of a partnership between the long-running musical and the Woodland Trust. The partnership has raised a total of over £58,000directly helping the Trust plant more than 39,000 trees at Heartwood Forest, St Albans.

This year saw theatregoers at the Apollo Victoria Theatre encouraged to mark the occasion with an ‘#ElphieSelfie’ snapshot of their visit in the WICKED photo booth.

The WICKED company created bespoke picture frames themed to the production, signed pictures and merchandise, as well as providing exclusive experiences – all of which were made available for auction on eBay. Experiences snapped up during the auction week included an afternoon tea with Elphaba and Glinda, a private singing workshop with the production’s Associate Musical Director, and a ‘Greenifying’ experience with the makeup department.

Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Wicked team and all the people who donated to our cause for getting more trees planted in the UK. Over the course of this partnership, the Wicked cast and company have done some amazing work to support us through their creative fundraising endeavours. It is a real achievement that they have helped us to plant 11,000 trees. A huge thank you to all those who got involved.”

Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of WICKED adds: We are proud to support the important conservation work of The Woodland Trust through this long-standing partnership. Our heartfelt thanks goes to the entire Wicked company whose passion and creativity enable us to continue raising funds for the planting of trees at Heartwood Forest. This is a legacy project that is very important to us all.”

The WICKED team also invited the public to sign the Tree Charter – a document that was launched at Lincoln Castle on 6th November. It has already gained over 300,000 signatures from the British public and calls for better protection for our irreplaceable woodlands across UK.

Trees that have been directly funded planted by money raised by WICKED have helped turn Heartwood Forest, St Albans into a thriving wood. Over half a million trees have been planted at the forest since 2009.


The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters.

The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

For more information visit: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk



 Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Now in its 12th year in London and acclaimed as “one of the West End’s true modern classics” (Metro), WICKED has already been seen by over 8.5 million people in London alone and is the recipient of over 100 major awards worldwide, including ten theatregoer-voted WhatsOnStage Awards (winning ‘Best West End Show’ on three occasions) and two Olivier Audience Awards in the UK.

For more information visit: www.WickedTheMusical.co.uk



Through its FOR GOOD programme and other charitable endeavours, WICKED is proud to support the remarkable work of the following UK charities: Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA); the Cybersmile Foundation; the Rainbow Trust Children’s CharityStonewall‘s ‘Education For All’ campaign; The Woodland Trust and the National Literacy Trust.

The production’s annual WICKED DAY supports The Woodland Trust, raising funds for the planting of trees and the creation of acres of new woodland space across the UK; and the annual Wicked Young Writer Awards champions creative writing in young people (aged 5-25) and is presented in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

Further information can be found at www.WickedForGood.co.uk