You are currently viewing the transitionary archive pages. Please be patient while we transfer this information into our new website format.

Return to Archive 2010

A DAY AT THE RACISTS

by Anders Lustgarten
Directed by Ryan McBryde
Designed by Mila Sanders. Lighting by Dan Hill.
Sound by George Dennis. Produced by Charlie Payne.
Produced by Rogue State Theatre Company in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre
Cast: Zaraah Abrahams. Vanessa Havell. Nick Holder. Thusitha Jayasundera. Julian Littman. Gwilym Lloyd. Sam Swainsbury. Trevor A Toussaint.

The world premiere of a stunning new piece of political theatre from award-winning playwright Anders Lustgarten

[ NEW YEAR | NEW PLAYS SEASON ]
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Finborough Theatre
Tuesday, 2 March – Saturday, 27 March 2010
Post-Show Discussions –
The post-show discussions are free to all same-day ticket holders and take place after directly the 7.30pm performance.
Thursday 18 March (Anders Lustgarten with Patrick Neate, Karena Johnson, Dan Rebellato and Justin Baidoo)
Wednesday 24 March (Dan Rebellato with Margaret Hodge MP, Justin Baidoo, Anders Lustgarten)
Supported by THE ROYAL BOROUGH OF KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA

Cos we made the Labour Party, do you know what I mean? Froze our bollocks off on picket lines, went on strike and lived off fresh air and f***k all for six months at a time. And now we’ve turned to dust in their eyes, ain't we? We’re the f***ing  problem now: chav scum, ASBO meat. A source of laughter. Prime time TV entertainment. I hate them for it. I bloody hate them for it.”

A Day at the Racists is a devastatingly timely examination of the rise of the BNP in London.

Pete Case used to be something – a leading Labour Party organiser in the local car factories. Now he struggles to get by as a decorator as immigrant workers undercut his best mate’s firm, his son Mark can’t get a job or onto the housing list and nobody, from his Labour MP to his granddaughter’s teacher, seems to care.

Then Pete finds unexpected hope: Gina is young, mixed race and standing for Parliament on a platform of helping the local community. She is standing for the British National Party.

As Pete’s rage and despair gradually overcome his longstanding loathing of the BNP, he is drawn into the world of Gina’s campaign and finds himself entangled in a nightmare of political machinations that pit his closest relationships – son, best mate, lover – against his longest-held beliefs and newfound aims.

Set in the very Barking constituency that BNP leader Nick Griffin is to stand for in the forthcoming General Election, A Day at the Racists is a uniquely brave and perceptive piece of political theatre that both attempts to understand why people might be drawn to the BNP and diagnoses the deeper cause of that attraction – the political abandonment and betrayal of the working class by New Labour.

Supporting the play, two hotly topical post-show discussions will take place on 18 and 24 March, probing issues raised by A Day at the Racists. Drawing on the play, each post-show discussion will explore the function of political art in the 21st Century, in relation to British identity, nationalism and working class voices, attempting to question the underlying social and cultural issues behind the rise of the BNP in London. The discussions will be chaired by playwright and lecturer Dan Rebellato and Anders Lustgarten, with panellists including Margaret Hodge MP, Andi Osho, Patrick Neate, Karena Johnson, Justin Baidoo and members of the cast.

Dan Rebellato is a playwright and Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London and has published a number of works on contemporary theatre and society including 1956 and All That and British Theatre since the Seventies: Playwriting, Art and Politics,Theatre & Globalization.
Margaret Hodge MP has been Labour MP for Barking since 2004 and is currently Minister of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport; Nick Griffin announced in November 2009 that he will be contesting her Barking seat in the General Election.
Patrick Neate is an award-winning writer, journalist and playwright, having written widely on culture seen from alternative perspectives.
Karena Johnson is Artistic Director of the Broadway Theatre Barking, having previously worked as Head of Programming at Oval House, where she was then Britain’s only black arts programmer and was nominated for the Carlton Multicultural Awards.
Justin Baidoo is an activist, and is a key member of the Hope Not Hate anti-racism campaign working in Barking and the South London Anti-Fascist Group.

In an unique and significant collaboration with the Broadway Theatre Barking, A Day at the Racists will transfer to the theatre for a one-off performance on Friday 16 April, as a core part of a festival of arts events coinciding with the run-up to the General Election, including a youth-led political debate by local young people entitled Silence is Not Golden and a concert organised by charity Love Music Hate Racism.

www.adayattheracists.wordpress.com

Anders Lustgarten is Pearson Playwright-in-Residence at the Finborough Theatre, where his first two plays – The Insurgents (2007), a comic drama about Kurdish immigration and political resistance to globalisation, and Enduring Freedom (2008), a powerful portrayal of the Bush years – were produced, while Torture Comedy, a satire on rendition and the War on Terror, was part of Vibrant! – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights in 2009. From 2007-8, Anders was on attachment at the Soho Theatre. He is taking his new play, You Cannot Escape Our Love, about Zimbabwe after Mugabe, to the Harare International Festival of Arts in April 2010. Anders is under commission to the Bolton Octagon. Other work includes The Punishment Stories, about black prisoners and Islam (shortlisted for the 2007 Verity Bargate Award), and an adaptation of Slawomir Mrozek’s The Police (BAC 2007). Anders works as a political activist; he has also taught on Death Row, been arrested by the Turkish secret police, and holds a PhD in Chinese politics from the University of California.

Director Ryan McBryde has directed the German premiere of The Full Monty (Frankfurt English Theatre), Hamlet! – The Musical (Apollo Theatre) Terry Johnson’s Hysteria, Hair – The Musical, Ira Levin’s Deathtrap (Frankfurt English Theatre), Maria Stuart (Union Theatre), Tonight – The Musical (Royal Concert Hall, Oslo), Marry Me A Little (King’s Head Theatre), and Terje Vigen (Arts Theatre). He was Associate Director on The Common Pursuit (Menier Chocolate Factory), and Resident Director on Billy Elliot – The Musical (Victoria Palace) and on Bat Boy – The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Shaftesbury Theatre). As Assistant Director, he worked on Driving Miss Daisy (National Tour) with John Harris and Cinderella (The Old Vic) with Fiona Laird. He co-founded Rogue State Theatre Company in 2002 and has produced and directed four of their productions – Heart of a Dog (The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh), The Adding Machine (Courtyard Theatre), Gogol’s Underdogs (Edinburgh Festival) and The Jabberwocky (Arcola Theatre).

The cast includes Zaraah Abrahams, Vanessa Havell, Nick Holder, Thusitha Jayasundera, Julian Littman, Gwilym Lloyd, Sam Swainsbury and Trevor A Toussaint.
Zaraah Abrahams' extensive television credits include Waterloo Road, Coronation Street, Girls in Love, Teen Species and Viking in My Bed. Film includes Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In 2008, Zaraah took part in ITV1’s hit show Dancing on Ice and placed third out of twelve contestants. She subsequently joined Torvill and Dean on the Dancing on Ice Live Tour and then competed in the Dancing on Ice Christmas Special.
Vanessa Havell’s theatre credits include The King and I (BAC), White Folks (Tricycle Theatre), Property (National Theatre Studio), The Set (Old Vic), The Dark Dark (Theatre 503), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Watford Palace and National Tour), A Chorus Line (Jersey Opera House), This Is My World (Bridewell Theatre) and A Homage Behind (Criterion Theatre). Television includes Crooked House, Ladies in Waiting and Dead Ringers.
Nick Holder’s stage credits include Little Fish (Finborough Theatre), South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, L’Assommoir, The Wind in the Willows, The Miser and Wolfpit (National Theatre), The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello Theatre), Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse), Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyceum Theatre), Les Miserables (Palace Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra, The Beggar’s Opera, As You Like It (Royal Shakespeare Company), Miss Saigon (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and Richard III, The Music Man (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park). Film includes Clubbed, Lady Godiva: Back in the Saddle, Sex Lives of the Potato Men, Four Feathers, The Final Curtain, The Criminal and Evita. Television includes Psychoville, Respectable (Fallen), Holby City, Planespotting, Born and Bred, Doctors, ‘Orrible, EastEnders, London’s Burning and The Fast Show.
Thusitha Jayasundera recently appeared in War Horse (National Theatre). She has worked extensively with the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. Other theatre credits include As I Lay Dying, Twelfth Night (Young Vic Theatre) and Dreams of Violence (Soho Theatre). Film includes The Tempest and Signal to Noise. Television includes House Across The Street, Goodnight Sweetheart, Holby City, Doctors, Above Suspicion and The Bill. Radio includes Midnight’s Children, Arabian Nights and A Broken Nest.
Julian Littman’s theatre credits include 125th Street (Shaftesbury Theatre), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Dreams of Violence (Soho Theatre), The Hot Mikado (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Peer Gynt (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Man Who Had All The Luck (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Return to the Forbidden Planet (Cambridge Theatre and Japan Tour), Face, The Comedy of Errors, Sweeney Todd (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), Kafka’s Dick (Salisbury Playhouse), Time’s Up (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford) and The Pianist (New Vic Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent). Film includes Evita, Mad About Mambo, Al’s Lads, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Running Scared. Television includes Holby City, Doctors and The Bill. Radio includesThe Truth About Walter Legge.
Gwilym Lloyd’s theatre credits include The Time Of Your Life (Finborough Theatre), As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe), Wired (King's Head Theatre), Black Light and After Everything (Union Theatre), The Bear (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), Bacchaefull (Area 10 Project Space), Measure for Measure (Rosemary Branch Theatre), Caesar (Broadway Studio Theatre, Catford) and The Odyssey (London Tour).
Sam Swainsbury’s theatre credits include The Rivals (Southwark Playhouse), Burial At Thebes (Nottingham Playhouse and Barbican), Slope (Tramway Theatre, Glasgow), The Merchant of Venice (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Hysteria (Birmingham Rep). Television includes Harley Street and Jekyll.
Trevor A Toussaint’s theatre credits include 125th Street (Shaftesbury Theatre), Lost in the Stars (BAC), I Can Get It For You Wholesale, Kismet (Arcola Theatre), Rebellion (Hackney Empire), One Dance Will Do, The Harder They Come (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Threepenny Opera (Pimlico Opera), Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Bridewell Theatre), The Jungle Book (Bloomsbury Theatre), Ska Ba Day, An African Cargo (Greenwich Theatre), Club Kangaroo (The Brunswick Centre), and The Palace In The Sky (English National Opera). Television includes Sofia’s Diary and Crisis Control.

The Press on Ryan McBryde
“Directed with creative flair by Ryan McBryde.” The List on Heart of a Dog
“Using puppetry, mime, African song, a set that twirls around the stage and plenty of subversive humour, Rogue State has created a show as enjoyable as it is peculiar.” Metro on Heart of a Dog
“The staging by Ryan McBryde is clever, combining physical elements with broad verbal comedy and something more sinister.” The British Theatre Guide on Heart of a Dog
“Ryan McBryde’s production…very nearly achieves sublimity.” Time Out on Maria Stuart
“Inventively directed by Ryan McBryde…A fascinating production.” What’s On on Maria Stuart
“Ryan McBryde’s production for Rogue State is bold, brave and imaginative. A real discovery.” The Guardian on The Adding Machine
“Cunningly contrived…brutally realised…smoothly executed. The way Rogue State do it, I could watch for hours.” Time Out on The Adding Machine
“Star of the show, however, has to be McBryde who has made this a showcase not only for his own impressive technique but also for his sensitivity to writer, performers and audience. And so the result, for hardly the easiest of plays to stage, is a textbook production for this welcome revival.” The Stage on The Adding Machine


The Press on A Day at the Racists

“Anders Lustgarten's A Day at the Racists is the best new political play of recent times.” John Nathan, The Jewish Chronicle

“ The real "wow" of the week is A Day at the Racists by Anders Lustgarten, a political activist turned breathtakingly confident playwright” Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“ A Day at the Racists   is probably one of the best pieces of political theatre you'll see this year... Another hit at the Finborough Theatre...Simultaneously hilarious and disturbing...Studded with moments of endearing comedy ” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“A Day at the Racists marks Anders Lustgarten as a real star in the making. He is that rarity, a playwright with the ability to drill down into the major issues of the day using razor sharp dialogue and allusions from the front pages of the last few weeks, while at the same time keeping the audience on the edges of their seats.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“ A potent and timely state of the nation play…A triumph - a splendid play that deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.” Evelyn Curlet, The Stage

“This play, which represents a major contribution to the debate about multiculturalism, is yet another success for the Finborough, a theatre that has a great record of discovering fresh talent and belies its size with the consistent programming of the highest quality and deserves a sell-out run… For anyone who regards political theatre as dry and worthy, a trip to see A Day at the Racists should prove a shocking but enthralling eye-opener...the kind of political fantasy that socks you straight between the eyes.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“As a General Election looms, this tiny little theatre comes up trumps yet again with a large cast and a big subject in Anders Lustgarten’s extremely well acted and topical new play”. Louise Kingsley, TNT

“Timely, controversial and thought-provoking, Anders Lustgarten’s new play is a must-see…It is rare to see a truly engaging piece of political theatre that steers clear of tub-thumping, but this is it…It will be a terrible shame if it doesn’t transfer after its initial run at the Finborough…You’ll kick yourself if you miss it.” Deborah Klayman, The Public Reviews

“A Day at the Racists is more than a match for Richard Bean's NT satire, England People Very Nice, and better than some of David Hare's state-of-the-nation plays.” Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“Ryan McBryde's production is terrifically fluid, with gripping performances” Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“ The production succeeds not only through the writing, which is provocative, angry, funny and spare, but also through the energised direction of Ryan McBryde and the superb performances from the entire cast, who operate as a tight-knit ensemble and bring to gutsy life characters that are as sympathetic as they are disturbing…A must-see”. Jo Caird, WhatsOnStage.com

“This telling and moving new drama announces the definitive arrival, after a few earlier plays, of a very talented and important young writer…that very rare thing, a thesis-driven political play whose debate is intellectually stimulating and engrossing while its characters are real, rounded and believable…A Day at the Racists deserves a longer life than its month at this tiny Earls Court pub theatre. But just in case it doesn't get it, I encourage you to rush to the Finborough to see it.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreGuide.London

“The acting in Ryan McBryde’s production is astoundingly good” Jeremy Kingston, The Times

“Powerful, urgent, contemporary stuff…If there is any justice, then A Day at the Racists will get a transfer…and run right up until polling day.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“It is all to the credit of Julian Littman that he manages to elicit sympathy for a character who should be pretty detestable” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Thusita Jayasundera delivers a finely nuanced performance” Evelyn Curlet, The Stage

“Nick Holder is wonderfully reptilian as the Machiavellian BNP leader.” Evelyn Curlet, The Stage

“The standout turn of the evening comes from Sam Swainsbury as Pete’s son Mark, whose infectious, energised performance lights up the stage.” Evelyn Curlet, The Stage

“Director Ryan McBryde’s fluid production demands attention, with particularly strong performances from Julian Littman’s angry, disillusioned Pete and Sam Swainsbury as his thwarted son Mark“ Louise Kingsley, TNT

“Ryan McBryde directs a sassy production with eight sparky actors.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“Impressively directed by Ryan McBryde” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Ryan McBryde directs an excellent cast…with real dynamism, and the stage is alive with ideas and debate” Sam Marlowe, Time Out

“Superbly acted and paced under Ryan McBryde's direction, Lustgarten's play brilliantly makes you feel empathy for a cause you hate” John Nathan, The Jewish Chronicle

“I’ve been to the Finborough Theatre twice before. The first,   Apart from George, was the heartbreaking story of a man unable to cope after losing his job. The second,   Hurried Steps, exposed the realities of domestic violence in a powerful verbatim performance..On the surface, two very unrelated subject matters; but there is a common theme that runs through both that paints a picture of what the Finborough Theatre represents – both plays were a mirror on the world today. Extremely relevant, with a concerted effort to mesh the performance with the education, the Finborough ends up producing hard-hitting and thought-provoking theatre.” Jafar Iqbal, Extra! Extra!