The Straw Chair

by Sue Glover

19 April - 14 May 2022

“There is a lesson you should learn from your stay on Hirta: the danger of being too troublesome a wife.”

The English premiere

We regret that, due to Covid, the previously announced January production of The Straw Chair has been postponed and will now play at the Finborough Theatre from 19 April–14 May 2022. The new dates are now on sale, and all ticketholders will be refunded in full.

1735. Isabel, barely seventeen, is sent from Edinburgh and the life she has always known, to live with her new husband on Gaelic-speaking St Kilda, an island on the furthest edges of the Outer Hebrides, in the storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Struggling to adapt to island life, Isabel meets Rachel – a wild, seemingly mad woman, shunned by the local inhabitants. Over time, Isabel learns that Rachel is none other than the infamous Lady Grange, kidnapped by her husband following their bitter divorce and long imprisoned on the island. Lady Grange clings with tragic dignity to the two things she has left in the world – a consuming rage and an old straw chair.

Inspired by a true story, The Straw Chair is a modern Scottish classic, exploring liberty, marriage, madness and incarceration, and female empowerment, against the backdrop of the lost way of life of the Western Isles.

First performed in 1988 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in a co-production between Focus Theatre and the Traverse, and revived on an extensive Scottish tour in 2015, The Straw Chair finally receives its English premiere at the Finborough Theatre.

COVID SAFE
As an intimate theatre venue, we are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of performers, staff, and audience members during the current pandemic. We are asking audience members to provide a Covid pass proof of double vaccination or negative test within the last 48 hours or evidence of infection in the past 180 days on arrival at the theatre, in addition to wearing a face covering throughout their visit including during the performance. We have reduced our audience capacity to 80% and temporarily increased our ticket prices to reflect this. We have been reviewing these protocols every month and will lift them as soon as it is safe to do so. For full information, please see our Covid-19 policy page.

About The Director Polly Creed

Director Polly Creed is a theatre director, playwright, and filmmaker. Polly is a founder of Power Play, a production company that tells women's stories of injustice on stage and on screen. Power Play's debut site-specific showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018 won a Fringe First for Emma Dennis-Edwards’ play, Funeral Flowers. Polly’s directorial debut, Next Time received an ‘Outstanding Show’ accolade at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Polly is also writer of Humane, shortlisted for the Charlie Hartill Award and published by Aurora Metro Books. It has also been adapted into an audio drama. The play version will have a stage run at The Pleasance in November 2021. Her play, The Empty Chair, was shortlisted for a Sit Up Award and won Best New Writing at LSDF 2018.  In 2016-2020, she ran a successful petition and media campaign, calling for Harvey Weinstein to be stripped of his honorary CBE.

About True Name Productions

True Name Productions was founded by Imy Wyatt Corner and Polly Creed in 2019, making work exploring social injustice, connecting places and people. Previous work includes All Rise’, an immersive co-production with Plan B Earth about climate change at the Tate Modern. and Humane, adapted as an audio drama for Theatre Deli Sheffield, the Arcola Theatre, Omnibus Theatre and Compassion in World Farming, with a stage run at the Pleasance, London in Autumn 2021.

The Press on The Straw Chair

“Miss Havisham meets King Lear…” The Guardian

★★★★ “Richly enjoyable…a play that demands attention for bringing so many unheard and marginalised voices – Gaelic, St Kildan, and intensely female – to the very centre of the stage.” The Scotsman

★★★★ “An exposé of the arrogance and need of control of both class and religion over women in particular at the time that holds timeous echoes for the present day.” Edinburgh Guide

“A vivid portrayal of St Kilda, an evocation of 18th century Edinburgh (with a hint of turbulent Jacobite politics), and added to this 3 strongly drawn female characters. This is a play that will certainly stand the test of time.” Lothian Life

“Glover’s play is notable for its superb structure and balance.” Scottish Stage

“An unassuming little gem of a play…Sue Glover’s script weaves together Lady Grange’s experience with those of three very different characters she encounters there, and captures the loneliness, desperation, and surprising tenderness of an existence on the edge of civilisation and sanity.” Qmunicate Magazine

“One of the most powerful and contemporary plays by Sue Glover…rich with diverse and relevant themes regarding the place of women in society.” The Wee Review

The Straw Chair has authentic power…A play about women, about freedom and about communication” Ian Bell, Glasgow Herald

“Though Sue Glover’s The Straw Chair deals in other times and is set in a wild place, it is very much a play for us today…written with conviction and a deceptive simplicity.” John Fowler, Glasgow Herald

“Very sensitively written.” Allen Wright, The Scotsman

“There is much to admire in the way the dramatist establishes the feeling of being on the edge of the world and yet being part of a more civilised society than that of supposedly sophisticated Edinburgh.” Allen Wright, The Scotsman

“Its strength…lies in its beautiful, lilting use of language and its humour.” Sarah Hemming, The Independent

“A little gem…The dialogue is crisp and telling and has no truck with the whimsy and feyness which so often bedevils Scots writing about the past.” Robert Dawson Scott, The Times

The Press on director Polly Creed

“Important and hard-hitting theatre” Fringe Guru on Next Time

“Polly Creed’s direction shines....truly magical” ERA Journal on As You Like It

“Joyful and defiant” Sally Stott, The Scotsman on Next Time/Power Play Showcase

“Compelling and serious drama…an outstanding show” Fringe Review on Next Time

19 April - 14 May 2022

Weeks 1 and 2

Prices until 1 May 2022

Tickets £23, £20 Concessions

Concession Details

Tuesday evenings £20 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £23 all seats. Previews (21 and 22 April) £14 all seats.
£10 tickets for Under 30s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.
£14 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 23 April at 7.30pm when booked online only.
Pre-bookable concessions are available for the following groups:
Children aged 16 and under
Students in full-time education
Jobseeker’s Allowance and low income benefits claimants
Disability Benefit claimants
Senior Citizens aged 60+
and Equity, BECTU, MU and other entertainment union members in full benefit on Sunday matinees only.

Weeks 3 and 4

Prices from 3 May 2022

Tickets £25, £23 Concessions

Concession Details

Tuesday evenings £23 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £25 all seats.
Pre-bookable concessions are available for the following groups:
Children aged 16 and under
Students in full-time education
Jobseeker’s Allowance and low income benefits claimants
Disability Benefit claimants
Senior Citizens aged 60+
Equity, BECTU, MU and other entertainment union members in full benefit on Sunday matinees only.

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

PLEASE NOTE THAT LATECOMERS CANNOT BE ADMITTED AND TICKETS CANNOT BE EXCHANGED OR REFUNDED.

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm
7:30pm
Sunday 3:00pm

Approximately two hours with one interval of fifteen minutes