Finborough Theatre Reopening Season – September-December 2021
Artistic Director Neil McPherson says:
“After a closure of sixteen months, we are thrilled to announce our first season of live theatre in 2021, featuring – as always – vibrant new writing and unique rediscoveries that you can’t see anywhere else. This season, we rediscover an award-winning play from 1980, the year that we opened; introduce UK audiences to new female playwrights from both Canada and Australia; and premiere a stunning black comedy from one of Northern Ireland’s most acclaimed recent playwrights.
During lockdown, we have built back better. Literally. The Finborough building was purchased earlier this year by entrepreneur and property investor Jason Collins – who has been and continues to be hugely supportive of the theatre. During the past six months, the entire building has been extensively renovated and refurbished. We now boast an entirely new roof which will end the water leaks which made backstage life a misery; the staircase to the theatre has been transformed including the addition of a stunning skylight; all the windows in the theatre have been completely replaced with double glazing, substantially reducing noise from the street during performances; and our electrics have been upgraded and replaced, with the support of The Theatres Trust, enabling us to be far more ambitious in the future with the technical needs of our productions. We are also very happy to report that a new management for the pub will shortly be announced, and that the pub’s disabled toilet will be fully reinstated.
During lockdown, our acclaimed #FinboroughForFree series has released monthly free-to-view archive recordings of previous Finborough Theatre productions, as well as original online content including new plays, rediscoveries, community festivals, and the Finborough Forum, our invitation-only group for theatre creatives. Our online work saw us awarded London Pub Theatres’ Award for Pub Theatre of the Year 2020. We have also cemented further our links with our local community with the creation of a local history blog and regular monthly magazine columns on the rich, vibrant and diverse history of Earl’s Court and the local area. We are very happy to announce that both initiatives will continue once we reopen, and our online content will remain – as it has been throughout lockdown – entirely free to view. We will also be continuing our ongoing partnership with Scenesaver to provide subtitles for our free online content.
On a more personal note, both myself and our Executive Director Livvy Perrett would like to profoundly thank all of you who have contributed to our fundraising appeals during lockdown – it is the magnificent support of our audiences that has allowed us to survive lockdown. With your help, we have managed to survive, but we also want to do more than that. In January 2022, we will be announcing a new business model for the theatre with a primary focus on making our theatre even more accessible to emerging artists, and finally delivering disabled access to our 150 year old building.
We look forward to seeing you all again.”
The autumn season opens with the final two weeks of the production that was playing to sell-out houses when we closed down last March – the first new UK production for 40 years of Paul Kember’s Not Quite Jerusalem, an award-winning comedy-drama from 1980, the year the Finborough Theatre first opened, in celebration of our 40th anniversary year. Set on an Israeli kibbutz in 1979, Mark Lawson of The Tablet said of our 2020 production: “Stormingly performed by a cast inhabiting their characters with absolute authenticity, and ingeniously realised on the Finborough’s tiny stage by Peter Kavanagh, this is a bruisingly funny, sharply intelligent evening.” Not Quite Jerusalem plays 14-25 September 2021.
The UK premiere of Jordan Hall’s romantic comedy for the end of days, How To Survive An Apocalypse, plays 28 September-23 October 2021. Jen and Tim are a successful urban millennial couple who become convinced that the end of the world is coming. As they start hoarding supplies and learning to hunt, both are forced to imagine the apocalypse without the love of their life. A tender, hilarious, and touching story about dreams, love and the desire to survive. Another in the Finborough Theatre’s acclaimed discoveries of new plays from Canada, How To Survive An Apocalypse premiered at the Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver, where it broke all box office records.
The season continues with the European premiere of Alana Valentine’s The Sugar House, the UK debut of a multi-award winning Australian playwright, which plays 26 October–20 November 2021. Focusing on three generations of remarkable women, The Sugar House is a deeply moving family drama that distils the conflict of how we are raised against what we choose, and how embracing the future sometimes means losing forever what created us. A hit at Sydney’s renowned Belvoir Street Theatre in 2018, The Sugar House was nominated for Best New Australian Work in the Sydney Theatre Awards, and now receives its first production outside Australia at the Finborough Theatre.
The season comes to an end with the Great Britain premiere from David Ireland, the multi-award-winning author of Cyprus Avenue. Coinciding with the centenary of the partition of Ireland and the foundation of Northern Ireland, Yes So I Said Yes is a blackly comic, ferocious, dystopian satire about what it’s like to feel alone in a place where everyone else is conspiring to erase you and your history. It runs from 23 November-18 December 2021.
We also announce the fourth consecutive year of the ETPEP Award, a playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP). Entries open on 8 November 2021, and close on 30 April 2022. For 2022, the prize money has been increased to an £8000 top prize, alongside 10 £400 runner up prizes. The winner will also receive a development relationship with the Finborough Theatre, a staged reading performance of the winning play, and publication by Salamander Street, independent publisher of theatre, performance and live art.
We are also very happy to announce the longlist for the ETPEP Award 2021. All these longlisted writers will be awarded £300, and one will go on to win the main prize of £6000 in September this year, and receive a staged reading on 8 November 2021. The winning plays – all judged anonymously until the final interview stage – are:
A Far Cry From Home
The Brown Doll
Ghosts Of Spirits
Like. Share. Kill
We Go Again
As an intimate theatre venue, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of performers, staff, and audience members during the current pandemic. We have reduced our audience capacity to 80% and temporarily increased our ticket prices to reflect this. Due to the size of our auditorium, we will ask audiences to wear a face covering throughout their visit including during the performance. We will also be asking audience members to provide the following evidence on arrival at the venue of either double vaccination, negative test results, or a recent infection. We will be reviewing these protocols every month and will lift them as soon as it is safe to do so. For full information click here.
For more information and to book tickets for our reopening season, please click here.