Autumn Season | October - December 2017


by Keith Bunin

Friday, 6 October – Saturday, 25 November 2017

The European premiere of the acclaimed Off-Broadway play

“If you take God away, the world is no less horrible”

The European premiere of a new play by the acclaimed American playwright Keith Bunin in his UK debut, The Busy World is Hushed.

Hannah, a widowed Minister and Bible scholar, finds her faith at odds with that of her long estranged gay son, Thomas. She has recently hired an inquisitive young writer, Brandt, to assist with her book about a newly discovered manuscript that appears to be a lost gospel, one that may predate those in the Bible itself. As she notices the chemistry brewing between Brandt and her son, she decides to risk all on an unconventional opportunity for reconciliation that has unexpected consequences for all three of them.

Originally premiered at New York City’s Playwrights Horizons, The Busy World is Hushed examines – with wisdom, humour and insight – the contradictions we find in our faith, our families and ourselves…

Founding Artistic Director of Theatre503, and 2017 OffWestEnd Award winner, Paul Higgins returns to direct at the Finborough Theatre.


Playwright Keith Bunin’s other plays include The Credeaux Canvas and The World Over (Playwrights Horizons), 10 Million Miles (Atlantic Theatre Company), Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir (La Jolla Playhouse and City Theatre), Vera Laughed (New York Stage and Film), The Principality of Sorrows (Pure Orange Productions), The King of Clocks, (Lincoln Center Lab) and A Joke (Malaparte). Television includes In Treatment (HBO). Film includes Horns, starring Daniel Radcliffe. His essays have been published in American Film Magazine and on the web at McSweeney's. He received his B.A. from Goddard College and his M.A. from Columbia University.


Director Paul Higgins trained at RADA. Paul founded the award-winning Theatre503 and won the Peter Brook Empty Space Award during his tenure. Theatre includes Dog Well Done, Wendell Ash Was Here (Finborough Theatre), Breathing, Talkin' Loud, Fishbowl, Futures (Theatre503), Address Unknown, Last Tuesday (Minerva Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre), A Doll's House (National Theatre), So Close To Home (Arcola Theatre and Brighton Festival). Associate and Assistant Direction includes assisting Robert Delamere on On The Third Day (Ambassadors Theatre), and Anthony Page on The Lady From Dubuque (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Rosmersholm (Almeida Theatre) and Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company). Opera includes Madama Butterfly (Opera Holland Park), Così fan tutte (English Touring Opera), Cosi fan Tutte for which he won OffWestEnd Award for Best Opera Production 2017 (King’s Head Theatre) and Madam Butterfly (Kings Head Theatre). As a Revival Director, work includes revising Nicholas Hytner’s Don Carlo and Jonathan Kent's production of Manon Lescaut (Royal Opera House). He has worked as assistant or revival director for Teatro Dell'Opera di Roma, La Scala Milan, Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Saito Kinen Festival Japan, Royal Opera Copenhagen and the Royal Opera House in Tokyo. Assistant Direction for Film includes assisting Michael Apted on Enigma, George Lucas on Star Wars Episode I, John Badham on Incognito, Christopher Morahan on A Dance to the Music of Time, George Sluizer on Crimetime, Franco Zeffirelli on Jane Eyre, Screen Two, Nicholas Hytner on The Madness of King George and Martin Clunes on Staggered.


Michael James | Thomas

Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts where he was the recipient of the 2015 Gyearbour Asante Prize for Acting.
Theatre includes Four Play (Theatre503), The Last Days of Troy (Shakespeare’s Globe), Three (Hen and Chickens Theatre) and Karagula, Her Naked Skin and As You Like It (Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts).
Television includes Our Girl and Doctors.
Radio includes being a finalist for the BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award.

Mateo Oxley | Brandt

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include After Orlando International Theatre Action as part of Vibrant 2016 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.
Trained at the Arts Educational London School of Acting.
Theatre includes Angels in America and Three Days in the Country (National Theatre), The Drowned Man and A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk and National Theatre), Shock Treatment (King’s Head Theatre), Alice: A New Musical and California Suite (St. James Theatre), Scenes From 68* Years (Arcola Theatre) and Draw Me Close: A Virtual Reality Memoir (National Film Board of Canada and National Theatre).
Workshops and readings include The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Wig Out! and The Cherry Orchard (National Theatre Studio), This Much (Park Theatre) and Wonderboy and Olympic Fencing (Soho Theatre).
Film includes Magpie.

Kazia Pelka | Hannah

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Sons of York and The Delicate Lines as part of Vibrant 2010 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.
Trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where she was the recipient of the Wilfred Foulis Prize. Theatre includes  Anna Karenina (Palace Theatre, Watford), Journeyman Jack (Everyman Theatre, Liverpool), Great Expectations, Caste and 84 Charing Cross Road (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Beauty Game (Forum Theatre, Manchester), The Importance of Being Earnest, The Passion and Identity Unknown (Swan Theatre, Worcester), The Police (Theatre Royal, Plymouth), The Wizard of Oz (Clwyd Theatr Cymru) and She Stoops To Conquer, Amadeus,  Seasons Greetings and Annie (Redgrave Theatre, Farnham).
Film includes Dirty Dozen: The Final Mission.
Television includes regular roles on Heartbeat, Brookside and Family Affairs for which she won two 2005 British Soap Awards including Best Dramatic Performance, as well as The Bill, Urban Jungle, Casualty, Doctors, Rides, Holby City, Peak Practice 
and Coronation Street. 
Radio includes Lives Out of Step.


“Mr. Bunin manages to explore the serious idea of how faith is discovered, maintained or abandoned by thoughtful people today without cheapening the discussion with strident polemics.” The New York Times

“Dramatically and emotionally absorbing, it’s smart, contemplative dialogue flowing naturally from the articulate characters.” Variety

“One of New York’s essential playwrights, Bunin has written wonderful roles for his actors” Time Out New York “This is the sort of play that validates that level of commitment to this thoughtful young playwright.” CurtainUp

“Provocative and moving new play… fresh and engaging.” Theatre Mania

“Bunin's ruthless consistency in presenting them lends compelling, unyielding authority... prospective audiences can be assured that if they will be tried along the way, their faith in Bunin will not ultimately be misplaced.” Talking Broadway

“Excellent new drama. This young man is a fresh new voice adept at discussing complex subjects through developed characters in intelligent plots." Chicago Critic

“Complicated people with believable motivations that lead to unbelievable actions. And it’s a pleasure to hear intelligent debate about religion.” Time Out Chicago

“Bunin’s effortless emotional accuracy is marvellously captured.” Chicago Free Press


“A superb production. Higgins' direction is creative and intelligent.” The Stage on Talkin’ Loud

“Director Paul Higgins has coaxed astonishing performances.” The Stage on Fishbowl

“Higgins' beautifully acted production… a quality of silence that is rare in the theatre.” The Guardian on Futures

“Resourcefully staged, exceptionally cast and very entertaining.” The Stage on Cosi fan Tutte

“Higgins’ production conveys its strange dynamics with such skill and care.” Theatre Cat on Cosi Fan Tutte

“Perfect. We think Mozart would have loved it.” Rageoffstage on Cosi Fan Tutte


Friday, 6 October – Saturday, 25 November 2017

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (No Matinees on 7 October and 28 October).

Performance Length: Approximately 2 hours 10 minutes including one interval of 15 minutes.

Prices until 15 October 2017

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (6, 7 and 8 October) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's 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 Saturday, 7 October 2017 when booked online only.

Prices from 17 October 2017

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here


Directed by Paul Higgins

Designed by Marco Turcich

Lighting by Matt Cater

Presented by Arsalan Sattari Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.