September - December 2017

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Phoon.




Curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson

Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays
7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, 25 October 2018

Our annual explosion of new writing returns for the tenth consecutive year

“The jewel in the crown of the London fringe... Probably the most influential fringe theatre in the world” Time Out 

Plays by
Ayad Andrews
Rachel Anthony
Jonathan Gillis
Tim Jeal
Emma Kinane
Hannah Morley
And a new musical by
Sonum Batra
Phil Willmott

Chloe Christian, Melissa Dunne, Simon Greiff, Courtney Larkin, Fay Lomas, Caitlin McLeod and Phil Willmott.

Now in its tenth consecutive year, the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre presents Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, its annual explosion of new writing, running between 7-25 October 2018.

This year’s highlights include the winner of this year’s RADIUS Playwriting Competition, an award winning new play from New Zealand, and a unique opportunity to watch the birth of a new British musical, in an eclectic and idiosyncratic selection of staged readings.

As part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring diversity and opportunity, particularly in those areas neglected by other UK theatres, this year’s playwrights embraces all age groups, and all of our new British playwrights (except one) are over 40.

Concentrated solely on full length works for the stage, Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights continues to introduce you to some of the fascinating diverse vibrant voices we have discovered, developed and championed.

A unique opportunity to see behind the scenes at one of the UK's most exciting theatres as we continue to discover and develop tomorrow's plays today, brought to life by some of the UK's most talented actors and directors.

Since our first festival in 2009, our Vibrant festivals have included well over one hundred new plays, twenty four of which have gone on to be produced in full productions at the Finborough Theatre including Mirror Teeth by Nick Gill, The Man by James Graham, And I And Silence by Naomi Wallace, Black Jesus by Anders Lustgarten, Carthage by Chris Thompson, Nona Shepphard and Craig Adams' musical version of Thérèse Raquin, This Heaven by Nakkiah Lui and Booby’s Bay by Henry Darke. Plays that went on to be produced by other theatres have included Bull by Mike Bartlett at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, and The Stock Da’Wa by David Eldridge, and Acceptance by Amy Ng at the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.

Despite remaining completely unsubsidised, the Finborough Theatre has an unparalleled track record of discovering new playwrights who go on to become leading voices in British theatre. Under Artistic Director Neil McPherson, it has discovered some of the UK’s most exciting new playwrights including Laura Wade, James Graham, Mike Bartlett, Chris Thompson, Jack Thorne, Alexandra Wood, Al Smith, Nicholas de Jongh and Anders Lustgarten; and directors including Blanche McIntyre, Robert Hastie, Kate Wasserberg and Sam Yates.

Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights is again curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson, winner of The Writers’ Guild Award for the Encouragement of New Writing, and twice winner of the OffWestEnd Award for Best Artistic Director.



Sunday, 7 October 2018 at 7.30pm

by Rachel Anthony. Directed by Chloe Christian.

Katherine and Oliver are media students at a prestigious American university. When their romantic hook-up takes a sinister turn, Katherine calls on her seminar group to support her. Into the ensuing explosive debate over coercion, pornography and consent, a mysterious figure arrives — to confront the strange gender games we all play, in the era of Trump and #metoo.

Playwright Rachel Anthony is best known for her television work including Bodies (BBC2), Being Human (BBC3), Mistresses, which she also co-created (BBC1), Lip Service (BBC3) and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (Sky 1). She has recently completed two feature film scripts and a novel. Lock Her Up! is her first theatre play.

Director Chloe Christian currently works as Staff Director to English National Opera. She is the youngest member of the JMK Fuse Directors at West Yorkshire Playhouse, and a Director for Kalon, a New Diorama Emerging Company 2017. Direction includes When Five Years Pass (Cervantes Theatre), Temporary Autonomous Zones (The Ron Cooke Hub, University of York), Child’s Play (New Diorama Theatre and Zoo Venues, Edinburgh) and Mortified (Theatre Delicatessen). Assistant and Staff Direction includes Paul Bunyan (Wilton’s Music Hall), Masterpieces (Finborough Theatre), Research and Development for M.E.H (Lyceum Theatre Rehearsal Rooms), Return to the Forbidden Planet, Top Hat and Treating Odette (Upstairs at The Gatehouse), 12 Million Volts (New Diorama Theatre), Musical Differences (Crucible Studio, Sheffield) and Departures (Pleasance London). Forthcoming productions include assisting ENO Artistic Director Daniel Kramer on War Requiem (London Coliseum).

Monday, 8 October 2018 at 7.30pm

RELATIVITY – The Einstein Musical 
Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott. Music by Phil Willmott and Sonum Batra. Directed by Phil Willmott.

An exciting opportunity to see a script in hand presentation of a new musical, in the early stages of development, exploring Albert Einstein’s stormy first marriage to the pioneering physicist, Mileva Marić. Their witty and passionate collaboration unlocked the secrets of the universe, yet ended in a devastating act of cruelty that ensured she would never eclipse her husband’s genius. Your feedback will help shape this tuneful new musical’s future. A unique opportunity over three performances to see the birth of a new British musical.

Composer, Writer and Director Phil Willmott’s musicals include two seen at the Finborough Theatre – Lost Boy which transferred from the Finborough Theatre for an extended run at the Charing Cross Theatre, and Princess Caraboo. Both recently published by Samuel French. Phil Willmott’s first musical was a finalist for the prestigious Vivian Ellis prize, and his subsequent, internationally published and regularly revived musicals include Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi, commissioned by Liverpool Playhouse (TMA award winner and WhatsOnStage nominee for Best Musical Production in the UK) and its U.S. version Once Upon A Time At The Atlantic City which premiered in Connecticut and won five Spirit of Broadway Awards including Best Score and Best Direction, Around The World In Eighty Days, written for BAC and revived at Liverpool Playhouse, for a National Tour, and a two-year German tour, the Dick Barton Special Agent Trilogy originally commissioned by Croydon Warehouse and revived at Oldham Coliseum, Nottingham Playhouse, the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, Greenwich Theatre, New Wimbledon Theatre and at Southwold Rep; and adaptations of Treasure Island and Jason And The Argonauts, all of which continue to be licensed regularly by Samuel French across the globe.

Composer Sonum Batra studied music at King’s College London, specialising in piano and composition with tutors at the Royal Academy of Music. Composition includes Not the End of the World (Edinburgh Festival), Rare Dreams and Persona (Youth Music Theatre UK) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Warhorse Theatre Works). Musical Direction and Pianist work includes Aladdin (Embassy Theatre, Skegness), Fatbusters the Musical (St Giles-in-the-Fields, London), Katt In Kixx (Stratford Circus), Bend it Like Beckham (Dominion Theatre), Shakin' The Blues Away (London Metropolitan University), Flo White and the Seven Dawgs and Syn-da-Rilla (Dugdale Centre, Enfield), They're Playing Our Song (Catford Broadway Theatre) and John and Jen (Rosemary Branch Theatre). She was also Assistant Musical Director on Swallows and Amazons (Bristol Old Vic). She regularly teaches piano and singing and works nationwide as an audition pianist and accompanist.

Thursday, 11 October 2018 at 3.00pm

by Jonathan Gillis. Directed by Courtney Larkin.

Palestine, 1946. Julius Jacobs, former Mancunian, is Assistant Chief Secretary at the British Mandate and has just received an OBE for services to His Majesty. He is also a staunch Zionist, and counts the leaders of the Zionist movement among his closest friends. His loyalties to his employers are strained in the face of Britain’s failing mission in Palestine. But the discovery of a secret pact between his friends and local terrorist groups makes him reassess his loyalties to them too. Torn between the two, his open opposition to his friends leaves him isolated as the danger draws ever closer to himself, his workplace – and the house that has come to symbolise his entire world. Based on a true story.

Playwright Jonathan Gillis’s first full-length play, Close to Home, drawing on his experiences as an IDF reservist in a prison in the Negev in the 1990s, debuted at Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. His one-man play, The Dreamer, which he performs himself, was a sell-out at the Khan Theatre in Jerusalem and the Leeds International Festival for the Performing Arts in 2011 and at Cambridge Limmud in 2013. Born in Sunderland in 1958 and educated at Manchester, Oxford and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jonathan received an MA with distinction in creative writing from the UEA in 2010. He currently works as a lawyer and teacher, and with teenagers at risk in Jerusalem.

Director Courtney Larkin trained at East 15 Acting School and GITIS, the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts. She is the Deputy Artistic Director of Theatre N16 and is the driving force behind the First Credit, a project which gives fresh graduates their first paid credit on a London stage. Theatre includes Last Man Standing (Theatre N16), Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Old Red Lion Theatre), Satisfied (Theatre503) and Why Women Don’t Like Me (n) (Southwark Playhouse). Assistant Direction includes assisting Nancy Meckler on The Good Person of Setzuan (Central School of Speech and Drama), and development readings of Stephen Unwin’s Immigrant (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Anthony Clark’s No Case (The Print Room). She has attended Springboard director training at The Young Vic and the Young Directors Programme at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Forthcoming work includes short film Keywords along with a Northern Ireland repertory tour of Antigone and Romeo and Juliet.


Sunday, 14 October 2018 at 7.30pm

by Hannah Morley. Directed by Melissa Dunne.

Chloe Bradley has the keys to a home she can’t walk into, and both her shoes – and her mother – are missing. When a chance encounter with a Street Pastor gives her temporary shelter from the streets, she is given a lifeline. In a town of locked doors and forbidden rooms, Chloe is forced to question whether there can be a path back home, or whether home was all an illusion in the first place. Set on the streets of Doncaster, Petrichor explores whether our loss of faith is more of a loss than we want to admit. Petrichor won this year’s Spotlight on Humanity: Radius Playwriting Competition, judged by Neil McPherson and Sue Healy, Artistic Director and Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre. The next Radius Playwriting Competition will take place in 2020, and will be announced in December 2019.

Playwright Hannah Morley was born in Doncaster in 1992. Petrichor is her first play, originally written as part of the Writer’s Lab course at Soho Theatre. It was longlisted for both the Verity Bargate Award and the Bruntwood Prize. She trained as an actor at Guildford School of Acting.

Director Melissa Dunne returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed Just to Get Married, named in The Observer’s ‘Best Theatre Of 2017’ list, and Sarah Daniels’ Masterpieces. She is Artistic Director of Papercut Theatre and has directed work in venues as diverse as Theatre503, Arcola Theatre, the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Festival Hall. Theatre includes I’m Not Jesus Christ (Theatre N16, supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute), I Still Get Excited When I See A Ladybird (Theatre503), Extraction (Etcetera Theatre) and The Space Between My Head and My Body (Theatre503 and Edinburgh Festival). She founded and continues to creatively manage the acclaimed XY playwriting festival which has been produced at Hackney Showroom, Latitude Festival, Pleasance Edinburgh and Theatre503. She has read scripts for the literary departments of the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, the Verity Bargate Award and Soho Theatre. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Monday, 15 October 2018 at 7.30pm

RELATIVITY – The Einstein Musical
Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott. Music by Phil Willmott and Sonum Batra. Directed by Phil Willmott.
See Monday 8 October.

Thursday, 18 October 2018 at 3.00pm

by Tim Jeal. Directed by Simon Greiff.

It is 1914, and the war hero, Robert Baden-Powell, has already founded the Boy Scouts, and married a desirable younger woman. He has also been knighted by the King. So why isn’t he happy? For a start, he is suffering from mystifying headaches – which is why his wife has referred him to a ‘mind doctor’ who admires Freud and doesn’t believe in will-power. But how can that help him get better and father the son he longs for? Or stop his male private secretary being killed in France, and the government stealing his Scouts? But where there’s a will, there’s a way…isn’t there?

Playwright Tim Jeal is Baden-Powell’s biographer, and has also written lives of Dr Livingstone and H.M. Stanley, the last of which was Sunday Times Biography of the Year in 2007 and won the US National Book Critics Prize. His last three books were all BBC Radio 4 Books of the Week. He is also a novelist and a former winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His memoir Swimming with My Father was serialised in The Times and short-listed for the J. R. Ackerley Prize.

Director Simon Greiff trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and worked as an actor for twelve years before moving into directing. Direction includes work at Pleasance London, Soho Theatre, Riverside Studios, St James Theatre, 45th Street Theatre New York (part of New York Musical Festival), Waterloo East Theatre, Theatre Royal Windsor, and developing new work for Perfect Pitch and the Ambassador Theatre Group. Drama School direction includes productions at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London College of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the Musical Theatre Academy, Bird College, alongside workshops at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Arts Educational, Associated Studios and Guildford School of Acting. Simon has also worked as an Associate/Resident Director on numerous commercial productions and he is currently responsible for the Tim Firth / Take That musical The Band (National Tour and Theatre Royal Haymarket).


Sunday, 21 October 2018 at 7.30pm

by Ayad Andrews. Directed by Fay Lomas.

2003. Basra, Iraq. For young Iraqi student Tawfeeq, the Second Gulf War is the chance to be a part of revolutionary change, an opportunity to help set all Iraqis free from the tyranny of Saddam's reign. All he has to do is assist the Coalition Forces by being a terp - an interpreter. But that fateful decision is about to change his and his family's life forever… 

Playwright Ayad Andrews was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and lived there until the early 1970s when his family were forced to flee the country. In 2016/17, he was a member of the Oxford Playhouse Playmakers scheme under the tutelage of John Retallack. Before that, he was a student on John Burgess' playwriting course held at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. He is currently a member of the Royal Court Theatre's Introductory Writers Group. TERP is his first full-length play.

Director Fay Lomas returns to Vibrant where she directed Outcaste for Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. She trained on the MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck University. Theatre includes The Crucible, The Selfish Tortoise and Young Cast Director on The Grapes of Wrath (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton), Out of the Dark (Scene Gym Shorts at the Arcola Theatre),The Winter’s Tale (St Peter’s Church, Northampton), Left Behind (Camden Fringe), a reading of Death of a Salesman: Birth and Afterlife (Oxford Playhouse), Lunch Hour (Southwark Playhouse), Three Way (Theatre503), Balloon (Vault Festival), Blood Wedding (Bread and Roses Theatre) and Berenice (The Space), both of which she also translated. Assistant Direction includes Trouble in Mind (The Print Room), Death of a Salesman (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton, and National Tour), Great Expectations (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton), Annie Get Your Gun (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and Half Life (Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath). She is currently the Assistant Director on Macbeth (National Theatre Tour).

Monday, 22 October 2018 at 7.30pm

RELATIVITY – The Einstein Musical
Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott. Music by Phil Willmott and Sonum Batra. Directed by Phil Willmott.
See Monday 8 October.

Thursday, 25 October 2018 at 3.00pm

by Emma Kinane. Directed by Caitlin McLeod.

A European debut for an exciting new voice from New Zealand. 11-year-old Harry Hunter is missing. While they wait for news, Anahera – a newly qualified Māori social worker – supports Harry’s distraught parents. But as the hours pass and the situation pushes everyone to their limits, Anahera is forced to take a stand. 
Anahera was chosen for Auckland Theatre Company’s workshop The Next Stage in 2015 and was a finalist in the Adam NZ Play Awards in 2016. It premiered in September 2017 at Circa Theatre in Wellington, receiving rave reviews, and won Most Outstanding New New Zealand Play at the Wellington Theatre Awards 2017.

Playwright Emma Kinane is a graduate of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and has worked as an actor and writer in theatre, television, film and radio. She co-wrote the plays Turbine, Paua and The December Brother with the SEEyD Collective. Turbine was nominated for Best New New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards (now the Wellington Theatre Awards) in 2007. In 2009, Emma’s screen adaptation of Turbine was chosen for the NZ Film Commission’s First Writers Initiative. In 2011, she placed first equal in the NZ Writers Guild Scriptwriting competition with a TV series pilot episode. In 2013 she earned a Master's Degree in Scriptwriting from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, during which she wrote the play Hope. Full. Emma’s play Clouds aired on Radio NZ in 2014 and her short film Bastard is part of the anthology feature film Encounters, currently in post-production.

Director Caitlin McLeod returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed Returning to Haifa, Facts, Northern Star and And I And Silence which subsequently transferred to the Signature Theatre, New York City. She is the Artistic Director of new-writing company The Coterie (supported by a Sky Academy Scholarship) and has formerly been part of the Old Vic 12, Artistic Associate with HighTide and Trainee Director at the Royal Court Theatre. Direction includes Utility (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), One Flea Spare (Sheen Centre, New York City), A Further Education (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), BRENDA (HighTide Festival Theatre and Yard Theatre), Polar Bears (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Malcontent (Shakespeare’s Globe), Commonwealth (Almeida Theatre), HomeTruths (Cardboard Citizens at The Bunker) and The Children’s Hour (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama). Caitlin has been Assistant or Associate Director for Dominic Cooke, Jeremy Herrin, James Macdonald (all at the Royal Court Theatre), Simon Godwin (National Theatre), Hamish McColl (Hampstead Theatre), and Dominic Dromgoole (Shakespeare’s Globe).


Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, 25 October 2018

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Thursday matinees at 3.00pm.

Tickets £5 


Week One – 7–11 October 2018

Sunday, 7 October 2018 at 7.30pm. - Lock Her Up! by Rachel Anthony.

Monday, 8 October 2018 at 7.30pm – RELATIVITY – The Einstein Musical. Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott. Music by Phil Willmott and Sonum Batra.

Thursday, 11 October 2018 at 3.00pm – The House of Julius Jacobs by Jonathan Gillis.

Week Two – 14–18 October 2018

Sunday, 14 October 2018 at 7.30pm – Petrichor by Hannah Morley

Monday, 15 October 2018 at 7.30pm – RELATIVITY – The Einstein Musical. Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott. Music by Phil Willmott and Sonum Batra.

Thursday, 18 October 2018 at 3.00pm – The Chief by Tim Jeal.

Week Three – 21–25 October 2018

Sunday, 21 October 2018 at 7.30pm – Terp by Ayad Andrews.

Monday, 22 October 2018 at 7.30pm – RELATIVITY – The Einstein Musical. Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott. Music by Phil Willmott and Sonum Batra.

Thursday, 25 October 2018 at 3.00pm – Anahera by Emma Kinane.


Book Tickets for Vibrant 2018

7-25 October 2018

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.

Curated by
Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson

Produced by Nikki Hill

Supported by

Oberon Books Richard Carne Trust Hogarth Estates Samuel French Nick Hern Books Arts Council England

James Allen
Nicola Blackman
Iola Evans
Robert Ristic
Jamie Satterthwaite

Charlotte Bloomsbury
Ceris Hine
Thomas Mitchells
Dan Slade
Henry Townsend
Isabel Wroe Wright

Kiran L. Dadlani
Richard Evans
Benedict Martin
Julian Sims
Gianbruno Spena
Morgan Watkins

Lucy Avison
Grace Chilton
Aaron Douglas
Nick Malinowski

James Charlton
Harry Francis
Haydn Oakley
Matt Rixon
Charlotte Wakefield

Natasha Atherton
Finlay Bain
Lily-Fleur Bradbury
Ethan Kai
Shiv Rabheru
Hari Sajjan
George Savvides
Shiv Sharma

Acushla-Tara Kupe
Claire Lams
Skye Lourie
Nicholas Shaw
Patrick Toomey