Summer Season | May to August 2016


by Michael Healey

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31 July, 1 and 2 August 2016

★★★★ London Theatre 1
★★★★ London Pub Theatres

The European Premiere

“Nothing happens when there's a crisis except for work on that crisis, You’re a politician now, figure out what your beliefs are and get back to me.”

In a new production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, the European premiere of Proud by Michael Healey runs at the Finborough Theatre, playing Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees from Sunday, 17 July 2016.

Shortly after the Conservatives win a majority government, the prime minister discovers a secret weapon in his caucus – Jisbella Lyth, a single mother with a limited understanding of her role as a MP. Using her ignorance to his advantage, the PM hatches a plan to have Jisbella front and center in a campaign of misdirection and distraction...

A stunning new play from multi-award-winning Canadian playwright Michael Healey, Proud explores the corrosive nature of the politics of division and asks what we actually want out of our politics and our politicians.

Continuing the Finborough Theatre's acclaimed discoveries of new work from Canada, Proud is the third in a trilogy of award-winning plays about contemporary values (including the play Generous which was a sell-out success at the Finborough Theatre in 2010).


Playwright Michael Healey is one of Canada’s leading theatrical voices. His first play, Kicked, was produced at the Fringe of Toronto Festival in 1996, toured Canada and internationally, and in 1998 it won Canada’s leading theatre award – the Dora Mavor Moore Award – for Best New Play. His plays include The Road To Hell (co-authored with Kate Lynch), Plan B (which again won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play), Rune Arlidge (nominated for the Governor General’s Award), The Innocent Eye Test (Manitoba Theatre Centre and Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre), Generous (winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play) which received its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre in 2009 and was revived by popular demand for a full length run in 2010, and Courageous (winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play). His best known play is The Drawer Boy (Dora Mavor Moore Award, Chalmers Canadian Play Award and the Governor General's Literary Award) which has received international acclaim and productions all over the world, including by Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and its London premiere at the Finborough Theatre in 2012. It was the fourth most-produced play in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century.

Michael Healey was Playwright-in-Residence at the Tarragon Theatre from 2000-2011, until he resigned his post after controversy arose over programming Proud which satirises Canada's previous political administration. Proud received its world premiere in 2012 in Toronto.


Director Jonny Kelly trained at East 15 Acting School and previous work includes Assistant Direction for The Hard Man and Unscorched at the Finborough Theatre. Direction includes A is for Ali (Old Red Lion Theatre), Money Womb (Theatre503), The Special Relationship (Southwark Playhouse), Boys Will Be Boys (Soho Theatre), Lies (VAULT Festival), and Call Centre (New Wimbledon Theatre). Associate and Assistant Direction includes Flare Path (National Tour) and Donkey Heart (Trafalgar Studios). For two years, he was also the Assistant Director of Papatango Theatre Company.


“Funny and foul-mouthed, yet surprisingly sweet.” The Globe and Mail

“Dazzlingly witty, surgically precise and scathingly satirical.” ★★★★ Toronto Star

"Deftly written and often laugh out loud funny, Healey's script keeps surprising us, taking unexpected turns both in its narrative and character development." Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine

“Proud is thought-provoking, intelligent and layered with wit and subtle political humour.” Mooney on Theatre

“You don’t need to know much about Canadian politics to enjoy Michael Healey’s laugh and thought provoking new play Proud. It’s an examination of politics that skewers both ends of the political spectrum.” NCPR


"A landmark in Canadian theatre” The Guardian

Time Out Critics' Choice ★★★★★
WhatsOnStage ★★★★
Time Out ★★★★
The Public Reviews ★★★★
The Times ★★★★

“Amusing, affecting and evocative... Satirical yet tender, this is a small delight.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“A modern classic-in-the-making that deserves to be seen more widely, Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy won multiple awards when it opened in Canada in 1999, but is only now receiving its London premiere, thanks to the Finborough’s consistently excellent work championing underexposed gems.” Sally Stott, The Stage

“Canadian writing has largely been ignored in British theatre, to its great detriment. Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy at the Finborough Theatre shows us why the stories and secrets underpinning these Canadian-dwelling characters are worth revealing, layer by layer.” Amy Stow, WhatsOnStage


Time Out Critics' Choice
★★★★★ WhatsOnStage, Time Out

“Why is Michael Healey’s play receiving a mere handful of performances at the Finborough? Can’t we be bothered because it’s about Canada? A severe mistake, for it has a lot to say indirectly about British society...Surely this fine play and production will be seen again?” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“The dialogue and performances in this constantly surprising dramatic investigation into benevolence (think Neil LaBute, only warmer and funnier) are as good as anything you’ll find in the West End.” Robert Shore, Time Out

“Delivered here in a polished European premiere at the Finborough, Generous is a great play gone outstanding.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Canadian playwright Michael Healey has rarely been performed in Britain, but Generous suggests that he’s too intriguing a writer to ignore forever…Strikingly intelligent fun.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times


Nicholas Cass-Beggs | Prime Minister

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Velocity.
Trained at Oxford School of Drama.
Theatre includes Dracula (Bristol Old Vic and National Tour), Four Days in Hong Kong (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Zero Hour and 6 Degrees (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Contact Theatre Manchester and National Tour), Carousel (Barbican Theatre, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris and The Lowry, Manchester), The Temperamentals (Greenwich Theatre), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), Ménage à Trois (Cochrane Theatre), Antigone (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Snowman (Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Seoul, Korea), Park Avenue (Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler's Wells), The Pajama Game (Union Theatre), Kismet (London Coliseum), Trailer (Camden People’s Theatre) and La Fille du Régiment, Tamerlano, The Rakes Progress and Orlando (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden).
Prior to becoming an actor, Nicholas had a career as a contemporary dancer including five years as a soloist with Ballet Theatre Munich from 1997 to 2002 and three years with Ballett Nordhausen from 1994 to 1997. Nicholas has performed in works choreographed by Kim Brandstrup, Mark Bruce, Philip Taylor, Jiri Kylian, Rui Horta, Jonathon Lunn, Stefan Haufe and Henning Paar.

Will Firth | Jake

Trained at East 15 Acting School.
Theatre includes King Lear and Little John, A Musical Retelling of Robin Hood (Corbett Theatre) and Blood Wedding (Tristan Bates Theatre).
Film includes Love Type D.

Emily Head | Jisbella Lyth

Theatre includes Gaslight (Ed Mirvish Theatre,Toronto) Abigail’s Party (The Curve, Leicester), Coram Boy (Bristol Old Vic), Third Floor (Trafalgar Studios) and An Inspector Calls (National Tour).
Television includes The Inbetweeners, M.I.High, The Invisibles, Doc Martin and Trial and Retribution.
Film includes The Inbetweeners Movie and Ma Part Du Gateau.

Jude Monk McGowan | Carey

Theatre includes The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk and National Theatre), A Farewell To Arms (Dukes Theatre Lancaster, Birmingham Rep and National and Italian Tour), Faith, Hope and Charity (Southwark Playhouse), The Sam Wanamaker Festival 2011 (Shakespeare’s Globe), Oh What A Super Injunction! (Old Vic 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic), The Royal Duchess Superstore (Half Moon Theatre Company) and A Christmas Issue (The Old Vic Tunnels).
Film includes Anna Karenina and Christian.
Television includes Little Britain and Silent Witness.


“A thrilling satirical piece” Emma Zadow, London Pub Theatres

“An original, entertaining and intelligent play.” Ginni Trickett, London Theatre 1

“Possessing the insights, wit and classic one-liners of Drop The Dead Donkey and The Thick Of It, Proud taps into the zeitgeist as one woman exposes the workings of the Political Machine from within.” Michael Davis, Female Arts

“An acute comment on not just Canadian politics, or western politics, but also gender politics.” Emma Zadow, London Pub Theatres

“Very funny and worryingly convincing... A very thought-provoking satirical play, which deftly captures the reasons behind the current mood of public mistrust for politicians.” Aliya Al-Hassan,

“Vigorously performed.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Rapier sharp repartee.” Ginni Trickett, London Theatre 1

“The eloquent rants from Harper in particular provide a fascinating into the private headspace of a very public politician.” Ginni Trickett, London Theatre 1

“Full of profanity, wit and political insight, artfully portrayed by a cracking cast.” Aliya Al-Hassan,

“Funny and thought-provoking with an outstanding cast.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Emily Head is wonderful as the foul-mouthed, indiscreet and sexually liberal Jisbella.” Aliya Al-Hassan,

“Head performs with utter conviction and strength…A fantastic performance.” Jay Mullinger, A Younger Theatre

“The chemistry between Nicolas Cass-Beggs as the self-confident yet somewhat sexually inhibited PM and Emily Head as the sexually liberated straight-talking Jisbella works very well.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Great comic timing from Head and endearing sensitivity from Cass-Beggs.” Emma Zadow, London Pub Theatres

“Beggs is a charming Prime Minister.” Emma Zadow, London Pub Theatres

“The chemistry between Head and Cass-Beggs is flirtatious, but also often hilarious.” Aliya Al-Hassan,

“Perhaps best known for playing Carli D'Amato in The Inbetweeners, Head's performance in Proud is nothing less than remarkable.” Michael Davis, Female Arts

“Carried off with slick aplomb by Jude Monk McGowan.” Aliya Al-Hassan,

“Jonny Kelly directs a production which relies on the chemistry and relationships of its actors and particularly excels” Emma Zadow, London Pub Theatres

“An intelligent, well directed and informative piece of theatre that must be seen by anyone wishing to open their minds to the world of politics and the world that we currently live in.” Jay Mullinger, A Younger Theatre

“Kelly draws us in with acute detail, a director with an eye for nuance in comedy.” Emma Zadow, London Pub Theatres

“With its savvy writing, assured direction and well-rounded characters, Proud works on all fronts, entertaining and thought-provoking in equal measure.” Michael Davis, Female Arts

“The intimacy of the venue only highlights every facial nuance and subtle gesture.” Aliya Al-Hassan,

“Fizzing energy.” Ginni Trickett, London Theatre 1

“The backstabbing, dirty deals and moral compromises are inescapably familiar.” Sam Marlowe, The Times


Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31 July, 1 and 2 August 2016

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

Performance Length: 90 Minutes with no interval.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

Full booking information

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


Directed by Jonny Kelly

Designed by The Alchemist

Lighting by Venus Raven

Visual and Sound Design by Luay Eljamal

Presented by The Alchemist in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.