Autumn Season | September to November 2013


by J. B. Priestley

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 September 2013

The first London production in over 60 years

★★★★ The Guardian

THE ENTIRE RUN IS NOW SOLD OUT - RETURNS ONLY. For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here.

“I spent more than half my life, when I ought to have been enjoying myself, arguing and planning and running around like a maniac, all to sell a lot of things to people I didn't know, so that I could buy a lot of things that I didn't have time to use. Sheer lunacy. And it took nothing less than and atom bomb to blow me out of it.”

First performed in 1949, Summer’s Day Dream is set in the post apocalyptic future – 1975. 

Following a devastating nuclear war which has seen Britain bombed back into the pre-industrial past, Stephen Dawlish and his family live a quiet rural life. Until their quiet, agrarian existence is disrupted by the appearance of three representatives of the New World Order – an American, a Russian and an Indian – who have devastating plans that will end their new peaceful way of life forever...

Summer’s Day Dream is another Finborough Theatre rediscovery from J.B. Priestley, following the huge critical acclaim for the sell-out production and New York transfer of Priestley's Cornelius, and the recent sell-out production of Laburnum Grove. This production marks its first London production since the original. It was also filmed for BBC TV in 1994 starring John Gielgud as Stephen Dawlish.


Playwright J.B. Priestley was born in 1894 in Bradford, Yorkshire. His plays dominated the London stage from the 1930s to the 1950s with such classics as Dangerous Corner, Eden End, Laburnum Grove, Cornelius, I Have Been Here Before, Time and the Conways, When We Are Married, Johnson Over Jordan, They Came to a City, An Inspector Calls, The Linden Tree and The Glass Cage. His many novels include The Good Companions, Angel Pavement, Bright Day and Lost Empires. During the Second World War, he also gained a new reputation as a broadcaster and social commentator. He died in 1984.


Director Alex Marker's direction at the Finborough Theatre has included staged readings of Atman, starring Jasper Britton and Alan Cox, and Colleen Murphy’s Pig Girl as part of the Finborough’s Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights (2010 and 2012) as well as a sell-out revival of William Douglas Home's Portraits (2011). He is also Director of the Questors Youth Theatre, the largest youth theatre in London. Alex has been Resident Designer of the Finborough Theatre since 2002 where he has designed over 25 productions while his other designs have been seen in the West End, on tour and in regional theatres across the UK. His work has a;sp been extensively featured in exhibitions, most recently as part of the Transformation and Revelation: UK Design for Performance in Cardiff.


Lisa Armytage | Margaret Dawlish

Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Theatre includes The Provok’d Wife (Bristol Old Vic), Glaspell Shorts – The Outside and Chains of Dew (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), No Expense Spared (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Sutton Hoo Mob (Eastern Angles Theatre Company), Coralie Lansdowne Says No (Playbox Theatre, Melbourne), A Cuckoo in the Nest (Melbourne Theatre Company) and The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice (Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston). Film includes Cool Change. Television includes Neighbours, The Lancaster Miller Affair, The Miraculous Mellops, All Saints, Police Rescue 2, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, Cop Shop and Prisoner Cell Block ‘H’. Radio includes Minna Von and Footmarks in the Sand. She has also recorded audio books including Da Vinci’s Last Commission and Into the Forest, voiced animations for CBBC, listener’s letters for BBC Radio 4 and read numerous short stories for

Kevin Colson | Stephen Dawlish

At the Finborough Theatre, Kevin has appeared in The Destiny of Me (2002), Allport’s Revenge (2003), The Gabriels (2005), Blackwater Angel (2006), Mass Appeal (2006) and The Beautiful People (2008). After establishing a successful career in Australia, Kevin moved to the UK in 1965 and has since performed world wide in TV, film and theatre, creating leading roles in many world premiere musicals for the West End and Broadway. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Aspects of Love and honoured with a Variety Club Award for services to Australian Theatre. More recently, he has been seen in the West End in Murderous Instincts and Imagine This at New London Theatre. He has just returned from filming the feature Hepzibah in Prague.

Tom Grace | Christopher Dawlish

Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. 
Theatre includes Poilu and Tommy (Théâtre Volière), Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho (Theatre503), Fire Island (Charing Cross Theatre), The Proper Boundaries (Theatre503), Henry V (UK Tour) and That Face (Tara Arts). Roles during training include The Seagull, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Way of the World and Antigone. 
Film includes Beneath a Neon Tide.

Helen Keeley | Madame Irina Shestova

Read Drama at the University of East Anglia and then trained at Drama Studio London where was the Spotlight Prize Nominee. Theatre includes The Importance of Being Earnest (UK and Ireland Tour for London Classic Theatre). Summer Day’s Dream is her London stage debut.

Keith Parry | Fred Voles

Theatre includes An Inspector Calls and The Caretaker (Horseshoe Theatre Company, Cambridge), The Elephant Man and A View from the Bridge (Broadway Theatre, Catford) and The Merchant of Venice (Camden People's Theatre). Television includes Doctor Who - Planet of the Dead, Doctors, EastEnders and The Jury.

Patrick Poletti | Franklyn Heimer

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Patrick has appeared in F***king Men (2008) – which subsequently transferred to the King’s Head Theatre, the Arts Theatre and The Lowry, Manchester – and The American Clock (2012).
Trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre includes Of Mice and Men and All My Sons (Octagon Theatre, Bolton), A Few Good Men (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Baby Doll (National Theatre and Albery Theatre), On Golden Pond (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick), Broken Glass (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (UK Tour), A View From The Bridge (Harrogate Theatre and Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) and Earth And Sky (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton). Film includes Summer Solstice, The Tailor of Panama, Brideshead Revisited, and Knife Edge. Television includes Derren Brown: The Guilt Trip, Moonshot, Jonathon Creek Christmas Special, Mind Games and A Wing and a Prayer. Radio includes Empire Of Liberty, Some Kind of Accident, Other Voices and Poor Pen.

Peter Singh | Dr Bahru

Theatre includes Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Snookered (Bush Theatre and UK Tour for Tamasha Theatre). Film includes Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Television includes Hollyoaks Later, Doctors, Count Arthur Strong, C-Bomb, Gigglebiz and The Syndicate. Radio includes Pursuits of Darleen Fyles, Tiger Wings, Writing the Century, and An Imam and A Rabbi (all for BBC Radio 4).

Eleanor Yates | Rosalie Dawlish

Trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre includes London Wall (St James' Theatre), The Cherry Orchard (Rose Theatre, Kingston and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory), King Lear (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory), Microwave (National Theatre Studio), The Borrowers, Alchemy in the UK (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton) and Love Song (Pleasance London). Film includes Untitled Mike Leigh Project 13. Television includes The Crimson Petal and The White, Case Histories, Midsomer Murders, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Derren Brown: The Guilt Trip.


“After two very successful revivals of neglected J.B. Priestley classics -Laburnum Grove and Cornelius, the Finborough tackles A Summer's Day, a play that has not been performed on stage in more than 60 years...Thought-provoking and well worth seeing.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“A strangely compelling play from the heart of an anguished romantic.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Priestley explores a surprisingly modern take on global politics and the role of the national versus the international” Seb de Montmorency, The Public Reviews 

“Inside that burly pragmatist, JB Priestley, there was always a mystic struggling to get out. It is the latter that finally gains control in this extraordinary futuristic fantasia that has not been seen in London since its 1949 premiere.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Priestley’s strong moral message and criticisms of class systems shine through, and the audience is captured by the strangeness and drama of this wonderful play.” Alice Fitzgerald, The Upcoming

“The play not only has strong echoes of A Midsummer Night's Dream in its faith in rural magic and of Shaw's Heartbreak House in its vision of a natural kinship between age and youth. It is also uncannily topical at a time when Britain is being forced to ask whether its real influence lies in its cultural values rather than its militaristic posturing.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“A well-constructed and well-timed revival, and inspires questions in the audience of what exactly our place is in global society, and it is certainly immensely enjoyable for its performances and individual nuances” Kirsty Emmerson, A Younger Theatre

“Kevin Colson is Priestley's voice in the play. Tired of his former life that revolved around obtaining riches, he has now found the peace that he has craved for so long. Colson and Keith Parry, as the seemingly simple minded but wise farm bailiff Fred Voles, live their characters.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“It is Colson’s performance that holds the entire production together.” Alice Fitzgerald, The Upcoming

“Eleanor Yates is lovely as the vivacious and stubborn Rosalie” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Patrick Poletti’s Yankee industrialist, Peter Singh as the Indian scientist and particularly Helen Keeley as the Soviet commissar make strong impressions as the interlopers” Seb de Montmorency, The Public Review

“There is strong support, in Alex Marker's production, from Lisa Armytage as Dawlish senior's daughter-in-law and from Helen Keeley as the iron Soviet lady who melts under the influence of rural life.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Alex Marker, who is better known as a wondrous designer, directs a capable cast” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“The Finborough Theatre has done a splendid job at bringing this eerie classic to life” Alice Fitzgerald, The Upcoming


Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 September 2013

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm

Tickets £16, £14 concessions


Performance Length: TBC.

Directed by Alex Marker

Designed by Philip Lindley

Costume Design by Josie Thomas

Lighting Design by Simeon Miller

Presented by Kathryn Rosendale for Rosendale Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.