by Athena Stevens
27 April - 14 May 2016
“I never wanted to change, in case you didn’t like it.”
The world premiere
Failed architect Harrison has plans to make tonight the last night of his life. What he doesn’t need is Katherine, a young student with cerebral palsy, breaking into his house in her wheelchair begging for his help…
As their chaotic first encounter turns into the beginning of a twenty year relationship, the unlikely couple grow to realise that they are capable of either building something great together – or absolutely destroying each other.
Written and co-performed by acclaimed playwright with a disability Athena Stevens, Schism is the world premiere of a stunning new play about two people finding each other, and what happens when their dream becomes unrealistic and out of date.
About Playwright Athena Stevens
Playwright Athena Stevens' previous plays include The Amazing Vancetti Sisters (Tristan Bates Theatre), Detours Ahead (Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago) and two online series – Assistive Devices and Vote Z. Her first online series Day of Small Things was commissioned as a full length documentary by Channel 4. Stevens is a TEDx Speaker and a member of the Golden Egg Academy.
About Director Alex Sims
Director Alex Sims’ work includes War Horse (UK and Ireland Tour and National Theatre of China), Yellow Face (National Theatre Shed and Park Theatre), The Promise (Donmar Warehouse at Trafalgar Studios), Coalition and Dov and Ali (Theatre503) and Jordan (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh). Associate Direction includes War Horse (New London Theatre and Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto). He was Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse during 2007-08 and worked with, among others, Michael Grandage, Douglas Hodge and Charlotte Westenra, where he worked on Othello, Parade, Absurdia, Betrayal, Kiss of the Spider Woman and John Gabriel Borkman. He has been Assistant Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Young Vic and the Almeida Theatre, working with Rufus Norris, Marianne Elliot and Josie Rourke, among others, including Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and War Horse (National Theatre), King John and Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company), Phaedra’s Love (The Young Vic) and Blood Wedding (Almeida Theatre).
The Press On Athena Stevens' The Amazing Vancetti Sisters
"This is a promising and highly enjoyable debut from Stevens” The Stage
"Full of spark and insight...It makes you look forward to Stevens' next theatrical trick." Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
"I recommend that you run and buy your tickets… Stevens' work is beautifully intelligent.” London Fringe Review
“A gem of talent – vulnerable and ferocious, intelligent and instinctive with a detailed approach” Chè Walker
“Athena Stevens is a marvelous young talent.” Ben Okri
The Press On Director Alex Sims
On The Promise
“Alex Sims … certainly seizes his chance with both hands and comes up with a cracking account of this triangular friendship between two men and a girl across two decades in Leningrad.” The Independent
“Well directed by Alex Sims” The Guardian
On Yellow Face
“Slickly choreographed by Alex Sims” The Telegraph
“Alex Sims's enjoyably slick British premiere of David Henry Hwang's comic drama from 2007 is particularly timely” The Guardian
“Alex Sims's production...is both inspired and inspiring in its sometimes dizzying, always dazzling folding together of the play's complicated and competing strands.” London Theatre.co.uk
The Press On Schism
“Remarkable...both candid and brave.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“It has a palpable authenticity... a testament to the drive and willpower of disabled people.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Refreshing honesty.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“An intriguing psychological drama.” Jane Kemp, WhatsOnStage
“Offers a seldom seen perspective on lives which are too often overlooked and stereotyped.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“Schism is inspired by the social mobility difficulties faced by those who are impaired, but it also deals with the compelling, universal and cosmic themes of success and failure, love and duty, vision and its oppression.” Verity Healey, Exeunt Magazine
“Schism's narrative presents a steady string of preconceptions ready to be toppled – disability doesn't mean you can't fall in love with your former teacher, be the one to buy the condoms, have sex – and deal with the consequences with brusque efficiency.” Jane Kemp, WhatsOnStage
“The world needs authentic stories about disability, and ‘Schism’ is as authentic as they come.” Louise Schwartzkoff, Time Out
“Beautiful writing, funny bits and great performances.” Vesna Hauschild, London Pub Theatres
“Drawing on her own experiences of life with cerebral palsy, Athena Stevens gives a hugely committed performance in this engaging two-hander about expectation and ambition.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“Stevens delivers...with aplomb.” Daniel Perks, A Younger Theatre
“Stevens has written herself a superb role in the irascible, irrepressible Katherine, a disabled student desperate for autonomy.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“Stevens gives Katherine compelling vitality: she’s opinionated, angry and funny.” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“Stevens’ portrayal of Katherine verges on the anti-heroic.” Verity Healey, Exeunt Magazine
“Stevens brings out all of Katherine’s inner strength and sexual need.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Its gutsy heroine is hard to resist.” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“Stevens’ characters are ferociously well observed, defying lazy assumptions or easy categorisation.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“As the writer-actor of Schism, Stevens has a unique insight into both characters. She seems to pour real life experience into the story yet not make the play one-dimensionally centred on her disability.” Daniel Perks, A Younger Theatre
“Tim Beckman is equally good as the dispirited teacher.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“A nuanced Tim Beckmann.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“Alex Sims directs sensitively.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Skilfully directed by Alex Sims.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network
“Director Alex Sims…allows Stevens’ sardonic humour to shine through.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“Directed with finely nuanced skill by Alex Sims.” Jane Kemp, WhatsOnStage
“Sims’s production is deft, with an elegant set by Alex Marker.” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“Katherine’s fractious and divisive inner and outer lives are brilliant evoked by Alex Marker’s set.” Verity Healey, Exeunt Magazine
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Beating Heart Cadaver.
Trained at Central School of Speech And Drama
Theatre includes Pressure (Chichester Festival Theatre and Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), The Nature of Things (The Place), Teenager of the Year (Latitude Festival), Laughing Wild (English Theatre, Frankfurt), The Philadelphia Story (The Old Vic), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Criterion Theatre), All The Great Books (Reduced Theatre Company), A Foolish Fancy (Etcetera Theatre), Creeps and Welcome to the Moon (Gastown Theatre) and Life and Limb (Vancouver Festival).
Film includes Hyde Park on Hudson, Hanna, Swinging with the Finkels, A Solution to Writer’s Block, Separation and Nathan.
Television includes Londongrad, Rosemary’s Baby, Ocean of Fear, Alive! Crash in a Volcano and Alive! Avalanche Alley.
Radio includes The Right Things to Say and Catholics.
Theatre includes The Amazing Vancetti Sisters (Tristan Bates Theatre), Detours Ahead (Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago), The Death of Hector (Sadler’s Wells) and Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).
Film includes We Are the Freaks.
Television includes The Conference.
Web Series includes Vote Z and Assistive Devices.
27 April - 14 May 2016
Tickets and Times
Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.