Autumn Season | August - October 2016
(c) Image: james-drury.com
The world premiere
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ The Reviews Hub
★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★ London Pub Theatres
How do you open a door when there is no key?
You burn down the whole room…
And so I stood at the edge of my family with two choices.
Jump through an open window. Or stay. And burn with the rest of them…
And so I jumped.” ”
Inspired by a true story.
On the afternoon of Saturday, 25 March 1911, someone screamed “Fire!” on the eighth floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Within ten minutes, 146 workers, many of them young women – and most refugees from some of the world's most oppressed countries – lay dead, either on the floor of the sweatshop or on the street eight storeys below.
Winner of the 2015 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, and a finalist in the 2015 Henley Rose Playwriting Competition for Women, The Great Divide tells the individual stories of just a few of these doomed young female workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
Full of heart, music and history, The Great Divide is an emotional and heartfelt insight into the immigrant and refugee experience of the early 20th Century, and those who paid the ultimate price for seeking opportunity and a new life across the ocean.
The world premiere of the award-winning new play The Great Divide by acclaimed new American playwright Alix Sobler
Playwright Alix Sobler is a writer and performer from New York City and Canada. Her play The Secret Annex was produced in 2014 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, received a public reading at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2015 and was produced at the Segal Centre in Montreal earlier this year. The script is published in Canada by Scirroco Press. Alix Sobler is the author of five solo shows which she has toured extensively throughout Canada and the United States. She has had work read or produced in theatres across North America including Theatre Seven, Chicago; Mad & Merry Theater Company, New York City; Winnipeg Jewish Theatre; Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg; Brown Trinity Playwright’s Rep, Providence, Rhode Island; The Tank, New York City; Theatre Or, Minneapolis; Looking Glass Theatre, New York City; Elmwood Playhouse, Nyack, New York; and Intrepid Theatre, Victoria, British Columbia. She is a graduate of Brown University and will receive an MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University in 2017.
Director Rory McGregor is a British theatre director currently based in New York City. Trained in Theatre Directing at Columbia University under the tutelage of Anne Bogart, he is an Artistic Associate of Classic Stage Company and a Directing Mentor at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, and will be joining the Roundabout Theatre in the autumn as the Artistic Apprentice. In New York City, direction includes Balm in Gilead, The Unfinished Life of Bertolt Brecht and Ward Six (all at the Schapiro Theatre, Columbia Stages). He is also a playwright, having written as well as directed The Unfinished Life of Bertolt Brecht and Ward Six. He is currently further developing Ward Six and a new play Gil under the mentorship of David Henry Hwang. Rory has also directed plays around the UK including The Greenville Ghost (Theatre503 and C Venues, Edinburgh Festival), Contrast and God of Carnage (both at the Edinburgh Festival). This is his second collaboration with playwright Alix Sobler having worked together last year developing sleep wake hope and then, a short play based on the e.e. cummings poem anyone lived in a pretty how town.
Josh Collins | Jacob/Avram
Trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Richard III (Almeida Theatre), Bully Boy (Mercury Theatre, Colchester) and Romeo and Juliet (Riverside Studios).
Film includes Between the Lines, Our Shining Sword, The River and Loulou.
Television includes Doctors.
Hannah Genesius | Rosa
Trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and is a Carleton Hobbs BBC Bursary Award winner.
Theatre includes Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare in the Squares), Telescope (Testbed1), London Road (Bristol Old Vic), and The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Redgrave Theatre, Bristol).
Theatre whilst training includes Normal, The Merchant of Venice and Three Sisters. Film includes London Road.
Radio includes Homefront, A Christmas Carol, The Archers, The Rivals and the five part Doctor Who adventure Doctor Who: The Genesis Chamber.
Michael Kiersey | Max/Papa/Lustig/Samuel Gompers/Policeman /Judge/Others
Trained at Drama Centre, London, and the Boris Schukin Institute, Moscow.
Theatre includes An Apple A Day, The Playboy of the Western World, So An Englishman Walks Into An Irish Bar (London Irish Rep), Our House: The Madness Musical (Olympia Theatre, Dublin), Cinderella (University Concert Hall, Limerick) and High School Musical (Liberty Hall, Dublin) and The Promise (Helix Theatre, Dublin).
Film includes Love to Leave.
Television includes Wurky World, Vikings and Crimecall.
Music Videos include Blonde featuring Craig David’s Nothing Like This.
Concerts include Rhythm of the Dance, The Late Late Show, The Voice of Ireland and Christmas on Broadway.
Emma King | Manya
Trained at Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 (Royal Shakespeare Company and Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City) Death Of A Salesman (Royal Shakespeare Company and Noël Coward Theatre), The Wall (The Hope Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It (Sprite Productions), The Hairy Ape (Southwark Playhouse), Blondie (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Timon Of Athens, Round 2 and Cymbeline (The Factory), A Will And No Will and Miss In Her Teens (White Bear Theatre), 50/50 (Hampstead Theatre), Butter No Parsnips (Arcola Theatre), Phaedre (Off Stage Theatre Company), Three Sisters, Too Late For Logic and Cinderella (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh) and The Tempest (Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh).
Film includes Two Down, Miss In Her Teens, End Of The Road and Blooded.
Miztli Rose Neville | Sadie/Sophie/Clara/Others
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes How The Vote Was One and Pot Kettle (Bloomsbury Festival), The Pursuit of App-iness and Birdwatching (RADA Festival).
Film include Crown for Christmas.
Miztli is the founder of the monthly scratch event CreativeNights.
On The Secret Annex –
“Sobler skilfully weds the power of historical fact with the allure of a what-if scenario.” ★★★★ Four stars, Winnipeg Free Press
“A thoughtful, often poignant mix of mourning and celebration.” Montreal Gazette
“This production is truly poignant from beginning to end, and simply cannot disappoint.” Orcasound.com
On The Cloud Factory –
“This woman is a swift, capable and, most of all, sincere story writer.” DC Theatre Scene
“The playwright exhibits breathtaking clarity and nuance…” The Uptown Winnipeg
On Jason Neufeld is Impotent –
“The talented Alix Sobler gives us a funny, sweet, and carefully crafted work.” The Uptown Winnipeg
“Sobler’s writing displays experience, understanding and above all, wisdom.” The Winnipeg Sun
On Flavor of the Week –
“Sobler’s writing and performance are as measured and thoughtful as they are snortingly funny.” Eye Weekly Toronto
On God of Carnage –
“McGregor orchestrates the discord with relish, letting it rise and fall, bringing emotions to sudden fury…highly recommended.” The Stage
“Brave, unflinching and unintimidated. I wish I'd seen it before doing it myself!” Matthew Kelly, Olivier Award Winning Actor.
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ The Reviews Hub
★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Jewish Renaissance
★★★★ Paul in London
“Alix Sobler’s new play could hardly be more topical” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“The Great Divide is a fantastic display of reviving those forgotten by history and allowing them to continue living” Molly Lempriere, The Upcoming
“It is engaging and evocative” Molly Lempriere, The Upcoming
“Tough, confrontational, with a self-conscious, Brechtian theatricality, it’s unapologetically didactic. Yet its relevance to modern industrial exploitation and the mass movement of people has a fierce urgency” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“This is richly informative theatre — with a passion that’s almost incendiary” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“Exposing; intense; searing; the burn brightly and comes out of nowhere like an inferno” Daniel Perks, Exuent Magazine
“They’re telling the story about a New York garment factory fire in 1911 that took the lives of 146 workers, mainly young women and Jewish refugees from Russia. Such is the power of Alix Sobler’s storytelling and the lyrical intensity of director Rory McGregor’s cast that there is little need for much more” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance Blog
“Sobler and her company succeed in giving back beautifully-imagined full lives and identities to these long-dead young women and men” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance Blog
“Her play is a powerful and passionate reminder that small lives can make a big difference” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Sobler’s writing is angry and compassionate, but she finds room for humour and touching romance” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Alix Sobler’s play instead relies on the versatile dialogue and intense performances” Molly Lempriere, The Upcoming
“Sobler ensures that the script leaves its mark upon all those who bear witness” Daniel Perks, Exuent Magazine
“Lauded playwright Alix Sobler skilfully weaves human stories into the politics of the play” Annie Power, London Pub Theatres
“Thoughtful and well written with engaging performances” Keith McKenna, British Theatre Guide
“Under Rory McGregor’s direction, the ensemble playing is exemplary” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Rory McGregor’s rough-edged, vital production unfailingly grips” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“Skilfully and sensitively directed by Rory McGregor” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network
“Emma King as Manya providing a particularly heart wrenching interlude” Molly Lempriere, The Upcoming
“Emma King’s luminously poetic Manya” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance Blog
“Genesius’ performance is magnetic and filled with spirit” Daniel Perks, Exuent Magazine
“Hannah Genesius’s spiky, intelligent Rosa” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance Blog
“The cast was superb. Seamless performances, strong direction and thought-provoking writing made this a powerful production” Annie Power, London Pub Theatre
“A very important play with an impressive cast that should not be missed” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network
Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.
Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.
Tickets £18, £16 concessions