The Sweethearts

by Sarah Page

22 September – 17 October 2015

“These charity gigs are always in bloody awful countries. I wish someone would fight a war in Marbella. I wish there were starving people in bloody Hawaii.”

The World Premiere

A world premiere, originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant 2014 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.

Coco, Mari and Helena are The Sweethearts, a manufactured girl band who are rarely off the front page of the tabloids. In need of some positive publicity, they travel to Afghanistan to do a special gig for the troops at Camp Bastion before the base is handed over to Afghan officials. A group of battle weary soldiers, chosen to protect these three beautiful celebrities, eagerly await their arrival. But when there’s an attack on the base, The Sweethearts and the soldiers are thrown together and forced to wait it out in very close quarters…

Marking the first anniversary of the departure of British Troops from Afghanistan after a thirteen year campaign and the deaths of 453 British service personnel, The Sweethearts is a new play about the people we choose to make into our heroes and how we tear them back down…

Suitable for ages 15+

Alongside The Sweethearts, Raise Dark Theatre Company are running the Battle Lines New Writing Programme giving current and ex-service personnel the skills to write a play. All the Battle Lines participants have had little or no previous involvement in the arts and will be mentored by Sarah Page and professional playwrights Miran Hadzic and Sarah Hamilton. Thanks to the support of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Arts Grants Scheme, Battle Lines is completely free for those taking part. On Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October, after the performance, and free to ticketholders for those performances, there will be a free 40 minutes post-show rehearsed reading of a selection of the Battle Lines writers’ plays.

About the Playwright Sarah Page

Playwright Sarah Page returns to the Finborough Theatre where she was formerly a script reader. Sarah was a member of the Royal Court Theatre's Young Writers' Group, before being invited to join their Studio Writers' Group in 2013. She recently participated in the Milano Festival Playwriting Scheme in association with the Finborough Theatre. Her first full length play Pilgrims (Etcetera Theatre), débuted last year to critical acclaim, and Sarah has also had performances of her work at the Arcola Theatre, Curve Theatre Leicester, Old Vic Tunnels, Hampstead Theatre and Soho Theatre. Sarah was a contributing writer for BBC Radio 4's new comedy series The Show What You Wrote, and her first television drama pilot GYPPO made it to the final stage of the BBC's Scriptroom 4 Prize. The Sweethearts was a finalist in the Curve Leicester Playwriting Competition, whose judges included the Finborough Theatre's Artistic Director Neil McPherson, and was also supported by IdeasTap, Writing East Midlands and BBC WritersRoom. The play had its first performance as a sell-out staged reading at the Finborough Theatre's Vibrant 2014 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.

About the Director Daniel Burgess

Director Daniel Burgess returns to the Finborough Theatre where he directed the critically acclaimed UK premiere production of Suzan-Lori Parks' In the Blood. He was previously a Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre where he assisted on A Day at the Racists, Moliere or the League of Hypocrites and Too True to be Good. Trained at Middlesex University. Direction include The Little Blue Boat and the Secret of the Broads (New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, and Latitude Festival) Starting Tomorrow, Guardian Angel (Park Theatre) The Pillowman (Norwich Playhouse),To Defend Freedom, Waterton's Wild Menagerie (Theatre503), Days of Significance, Nativity, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Theatre Royal Norwich Youth Company), The Dispossessed (Etcetera Theatre), Coming and Going (Lighthouse Theatre, Poole) and Christie in Love (Edinburgh Festival). Associate Direction includes working with James Dacre on As You Like It (Shakespeare's Globe) and Orpheus and Eurydice (National Youth Theatre). Assistant Direction includes assisting John Dove on Anne Boleyn (English Touring Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe), James Dacre on As You Like It (Shakespeare's Globe) and Peter Wilson on Skylight (Norwich Playhouse).

The Press on Playwright Sarah Page

“Exceptionally well written... Hilarious, but believable, characters and a plot with a seemingly infinite number of twists and turns. Page is clearly a writer to look out for; audiences should make the pilgrimage to this production.” ★★★★ One Stop Arts on Pilgrims

"Sarah Page looks to be a playwright of promise..A play about a recent event is always interesting, and tying it in with a smaller, personal story is a masterstroke... A strong play that has well-rounded characters that are emotionally engaging." ★★★★ Everything Theatre on Pilgrims

The Press on Director Daniel Burgess's Production of In The Blood at the Finborough Theatre

“Mesmerising production that mixes Old Mother Hubbard and Medea.” Michael Billington, The Guardian on In the Blood

“Burgess’ production is raw and emphatic, the cast are terrific, doubling as Hester’s broadband as her tormentors, blunt and bleak, but undeniably affecting” Sam Marlowe, The Times on In the Blood

The Press on The Sweethearts

★★★★★ London Theatre 1
★★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★ The Arts Desk
★★★★ Exeunt

“A riveting production, a first-rate cast, a strong script, and a credible storyline, The Sweethearts provides an insightful look at life on the battlefield. This is theatre as it should be: absorbing, perceptive, and above all, entertaining.” Chris Omaweng, London Theatre 1

“A play crammed full of ideas, and immensely enjoyable in the lighter moments.” Amy Stow, Last Minute Theatre Tickets

“An insightful look into war, all whilst retaining its comedic value.” Joe Hodgson, A Younger Theatre

“Tragedy and comedy come together beautifully…leaves you feeling uncomfortable but enlightened…A serious and profound take on celebrity culture, the nature of heroes and how our media treats famous young women” James Tennent, Everything Theatre

“This play leaves shrapnel in both heart and mind.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Great writing, thought-through direction and brilliant casting.” James Tennent, Everything Theatre

“The dialogue is sharp, funny – moments of stillness (such as Corporal Rachel Taylor’s retelling of the Captain’s latest heroic event) are beautifully poignant.” Amy Stow, Last Minute Theatre Tickets

“This funny, relevant and thrilling script.” Joe Hodgson, A Younger Theatre

“Full of sassy commentary on established stereotypes.” Honour Bayes, Time Out

“Many laugh-out-loud scenes.” Partially Obstructed View

“A powerful drama with a powerful message.” Ed Nightingale, Exeunt

“Laura Hanna’s Corporal Rachel Taylor and Joe Claflin’s Private David Robins especially compelling.” Chris Omaweng, London Theatre 1

“Doireann May White is a delight as Welsh band member Mari.” Amy Stow, Last Minute Theatre Tickets

“Maria Yarjah and Doireann May White as the other members of the band – that is, not the lead singer – were stage-commanding and attention-grabbing.” James Tennent, Everything Theatre

“Maria Yarjah and Doireann May White deliver serious laughs and Sophie Stevens evokes real ennui as the disaffected lead singer.” There Ought To Be Clowns

“An endearingly Tiggerish Jack Bannon.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Sophie Stevens in particular showing emotional strength as lead singer Coco.” Ed Nightingale, Exeunt

“Daniel Burgess's production gets off to a great start and maintains a good mix of silly lines and darker humour.” Partially Obstructed View

“In director Daniel Burgess’ production the drama is intense, gripping and funny, the jokes coming thick and fast.” Ed Nightingale, Exeunt

22 September – 17 October 2015

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm (from 3 October 2015)
7:30pm
Sunday 3:00pm

Approximately 90 minutes with no interval