by Richard Kalinoski

Tuesday, 29 January – Saturday, 23 February 2019

The first London production in more than 20 years

“So some are beheaded and some are crucified and some are slaughtered,

and who wins the battle of who died the worst death? Who wins?”

Milwaukee in the 1920s. Aram believes he will begin a new life when his teenage ‘mail-order’ bride, Seta, arrives to join him. They are a couple united by history – both survivors of the Armenian Genocide. But their painful, shared experience does nothing to promote domestic harmony as Aram is obsessed with creating a family to replace the one he lost in such savage circumstances, and Seta, just fifteen and trapped by the traditions of the old ways, struggles to embrace her new life in a new country…

Richard Kalinoski’s beautifully written, universal story of hope and healing, has been performed in more than twenty countries. It returns to London in a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, where it was last performed in the 1990s. Beast on the Moon remains a play for our times – a powerful exploration of legacy for so many refugees.

The Armenian Genocide of 1915-16 was perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government against the Armenians, a Christian minority in a Muslim state. Up to one and a half million people died. To this day, the Turkish government refuses to admit that genocide ever took place.


Playwright Richard Kalinoski’s Beast on the Moon, won the 2001 Best Play from the Repertory prize at the Moliere Awards and four other Moliere Awards. Since emerging as a “triumph” (Ben Brantley, The New York Times) at the 1995 Humana Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, Beast on the Moon has been translated into twenty languages and produced in venues all over the world including Athens, Brussels, London, Moscow, New York (Off-Broadway), Prague, Sao Paolo, Toronto and Tallinn, Estonia. It has garnered a host of awards including the Osborn Best New Play in America by an Emerging Playwright, awarded by the American Theatre Critics Association in 1996, and, in 2001, five Ace Awards including Best Play in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2005, the President of Armenia Robert Kachadarian awarded Kalinoski the Khorenatsi Medal for Contribution to the Arts from the Country of Armenia.

His other plays include Between Men and Cattle developed at the National Playwrights Conference (1995) and later produced at the Detroit Repertory Theatre and at Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre (2004), My Soldiers, a play about a female soldier returning from Iraq which was produced at the Detroit Repertory Theatre (2010) and was featured at the Regional American College Theatre Festival of the Kennedy Center at Michigan State University (2011), The Boy Inside which earned Second Place in the Kennedy Center’s Mark David Cohen National Playwriting Contest (2016) and Front Room (2018) which was named as one of only eighteen new plays to be audio produced by the Ashland New Plays Festival in Ashland, Oregon, the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Wisconsin native Richard Kalinoski is Resident Playwright at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in Northeastern Wisconsin where he teaches playwriting and theatre history.


Director Jelena Budimir returns to the Finborough Theatre following her acclaimed production of Bruce Graham’s White Guy on the Bus which was nominated for four Off West End Awards including Best Director in 2018. She also directed Athena Stevens’ new play Genie for Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. Recently, she also devised and directed Back to the Future – a Celebration of Education with members of Clean Break Theatre. Jelena was Associate Director at Chickenshed Theatre for 22 years where she developed the Studio Theatre, and led on Chickenshed’s emerging writers’ programme Write Here, Write Now. Direction includes Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy adapted by Lemn Sissay, Sarah Daniels’ Gut Girls, The Comedy of Errors, Dario Fo’s Can't Pay! Won't Pay!, Lysistrata, Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Yard Gal by Rebecca Prichard and Ariel Dorfmen’s Widows (Chickenshed) and Life After Death by Antuneil Thompson (Camden People’s Theatre). She has also written extensively for young people and children. Jelena originally trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – her performance work includes fringe, rep and West End alongside film, TV and radio.


“Humane, funny and touching, Beast on the Moon presents the claims of both past and future with fairness and empathy.” Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Beast on the Moon builds with such tension and heartbreak, celebrates the gift of life with such wisdom and power, that an audience simply has no recourse but to shout its joy and gratitude...You can’t afford to miss it.” William Mootz, Louisville Courier Journal

“The play has garnered worldwide acclaim. New York was long overdue… simply magnificent.” Harry Forbes, BackStage

“This is a deep and moving piece that educates while it entertains.” Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Newcity Stage

“Compassionate and humane” The New Yorker

“One of five must-see plays in New York...The play moves from tragedy and turmoil to a profound sense of promise.” Howard Kissel, The New York Daily News


“Jelena Budimir’s lean, swift production is very well acted… It’s a play that provokes thought while keeping you entertained.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Philadelphia-based Graham deftly crystallises the characters’ surface-deep prejudices and privileges, asking big questions about power and race. It’s politically charged and exhilarating.” ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Fergus Morgan, The Stage

“Thought-provoking, surprisingly unpreachy and will live in the mind long after other plays have faded.”  ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆  Gary Naylor, Broadway World UK


Tuesday, 29 January – Saturday, 23 February 2019

Tuesday to Sunday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees at 3.00pm. (from 9 February 2019)

Performance Length: Approximately two hours with one interval of fifteen minutes.

Prices until 10 February 2019

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
Previews (29 January and 30 January) £14 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's 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, 2 February 2019 when booked online only.

Prices from 12 February 2019

Tickets £20, £18 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £18 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £20 all seats. 

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



Book Tickets for Beast On The Moon

Tuesday, 29 January – Saturday, 23 February 2019

Please note that if a show is marked as Sold Out, there are no more tickets available. Please do NOT contact the theatre as we have no more tickets left for these shows. Please see our returns and exchanges policy for more information.

Directed by Jelena Budimir

Presented by All Ignite Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

Casting to be announced.