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The Seventh Year: Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 30th Sep 2015 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the Finborough Theatre – the coalface of British Theatre – presents its annual explosion of new writing – Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, running on Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday and Thursday matinees between 25 October–12 November 2015.

This year's festival features an eclectic and idiosyncratic selection of twelve staged readings of new works by UK and international playwrights, both established and new, all discovered, developed or championed by the Finborough Theatre.

Concentrated solely on full length works for the stage, this year's Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights includes playwrights from England, Scotland, Wales, the United States and New Zealand featuring 50% female playwrights, together with work from African-American, East Asian, British-Lebanese, British-Israeli and Māori playwrights.

Accompanying this year's Vibrant Festival is a new initiative for writers who have never previously submitted work to the Finborough Theatre –Introduce Yourself.  Submissions must be made between Sunday, 25 October through to Thursday, 12 November 2015. (See for further details.)

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 and Sam Yates.

Vibrant 2015 – 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, 25 October 2015 at 7.30pm
by Carmen Nasr. Directed by Stephen Whitson.

An oasis of free enterprise, no income taxes, no unions, no opposition parties. A paradise of consumption. A skyline on crack. Urban planning on steroids - Dubai. On the 88th floor of an unfinished skyscraper in the Emirate’s glittering skyline, the life of a migrant labourer becomes fatefully intertwined with that of Jamie, a British expat with his eye on the big time. Exploring the plight of Dubai’s migrant labour force, this urgent new play asks how much longer we can look the other way.

Monday, 26 October 2015 at 7.30pm

The Halting
by Amy Evans. Directed by Suba Das.

The 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. David, a non-disabled professional sprinter, has never won a single medal. When his best friend Puma, a double-amputee, miraculously starts breaking one record after another, David fears he’s reached the limits of what his biological body is capable of. In a last desperate attempt at gold, David comes up with a secret plan that he hopes will give him one last chance at success – and change his life forever.

Tuesday, 27 November 2015 at 3.00pm
by Natalie Mitchell. Directed by Alex Thorpe.

1974. Greek Cypriot Demetria is adamant she wants to celebrate her birthday with her Turkish neighbours the Ibrahim’s. But as war breaks out, friendships and relationships are tested to the limit as neighbour turns on neighbour...
2015. Leon and June are hoping to live out their retirement dreams in the sunny climes of Kyrenia. When a stranger claims the legal ownership of their new house, Leon, June and Firat all find their worlds thrown into chaos. But is he who he says he is? Displaced is a play about love, identity, and the continuous ripple of consequences that conflict can bring. 

Thursday, 29 October 2015 at 3.00pm
by Steven Hevey. Directed by Harry Mackrill.

Armed with a new job, new suit, and new girlfriend, Paul finally feels strong enough to see his daughter Emily. Having not seen her for the past few years following a difficult divorce from her mother, Paul is keen to make up for lost time. But, as the weekend unfolds, the pressures of his new life with his new girlfriend, Amy, soon prove difficult to balance, and he is made to question whether he's cut out for fatherhood at all.

Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 7.30pm
The Abundant Everlasting
by Chris Dunkley. Directed by Chelsea Walker.

Jimmy believes the conspiracy theory and is taking steps. The post office must be saved from closure, not to help pensioners collect their money, but to prevent the wholesale destruction of everything he holds dear. But he cannot save the world alone. He needs the help of Elise, a fractious laundrette operative whose mother is on her deathbed. The future of the civilised world may just rest upon Elise’s safe return from Stevenage. The Abundant Everlasting is an imagined post-capitalist near-future tragicomedy in which a conspiracy theorist and a laundrette operative attempt to take their place in the resistance against an increasingly violent middle-class revolution making its way in all directions from Didcot.

Monday, 2 November 2015 at 7.30pm
Te Karakia
by Albert Belz. Directed by Andrew Twyman.

Te Karakia is a love story of religious and racial challenge, forgiveness and hope, set amidst the maelstrom of the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand. Excommunicated during his childhood from his family and faith, Matthew Connell has found a home within the New Zealand police force, quickly rising to the elite ranks of the Red Squad. However, Matthew's regimented existence is threatened when Ranea, a young Māori woman from his past, re-emerges to challenge his future. With precipitating civil unrest spreading across the country, Matthew is forced to confront his long-absent father and his childhood past.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 3.00pm
by Joy Wilkinson. Directed by Carla Kingham.

Anti-Matter charts the rise, fall and transformation of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky – how the poor boy who dreamed of being a red director became the richest man in Russia, then seemed to throw it all away to take on Putin and become a political prisoner, making mittens for less than a dollar a month. Theatrically inventive, the play puts the former Yukos Oil chief in the dock again, examining his hubris and hope as the story of our global age, from the boom of the ‘80s through the turmoil of the 2000s to today. When old political certainties have crumbled, what is left, and what is right?

Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 3.00pm
Honest Poverty
by Felix O’Brien. Directed by Joshua McTaggart.

A Scotsman and an Englishman – one a reclusive modern artist, the other a starstruck art student – get into a van. MacGlashan's going home and needs a driver, so Richie's coming with him on the long drive across The Border. As far as Richie's concerned, they're collaborating on 'Project Albion', MacGlashan's incendiary comeback to the art world after more than a decade. But what exactly is Project Albion? Who is exactly is the famed MacGlashan? And what exactly is Irn-Bru supposed to taste of? Honest Poverty is a funny and poignant meditation on art, authenticity, and our complicated relationships with the places we choose to think of as home. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 7.30pm
Close To Home
by Jonathan Gillis. Directed by Tommo Fowler.

A routine morning count in a prison in Israel. Nine years on, two men – an English-born Israeli former guard and a Palestinian former prisoner – continue to wrestle with the memories and fall-out from the event. Preparing to face one another again, their dramatic stories unfold, along with the questions unresolved, over who they are and where they belong.

Monday, 9 November 2015 at 7.30pm
by Amy Ng. Directed by Rebecca Manson Jones.

A Chinese musician applies for a scholarship at the ultra-prestigious Eliot University.  A brilliant student, a world-class violinist, she’s the perfect candidate — but also the alleged victim of sexual abuse by her boarding school teacher. Is she a victim of the white male establishment? An oriental seductress? A deluded nymphomaniac? An attention-seeking liar?   Worldviews clash, prejudices are exposed, values are tested and racial and sexual anxieties come to a head as the admission committee struggles.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at 3.00pm
The Gift
by Alan Harris. Directed by George Perrin.

Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. Ashley needs to find some cash to save her father’s failing ice cream business. New to the town and the son of a Welsh mum and a Polish dad, Valentyn is trying different ways to fit in – tough when you’re called Valentyn. His dad’s best advice is to get a hobby (the British can relate to someone with a hobby). But Valentyn’s not interested in taking up taxidermy with his father, he’d rather give Ashley a gift so he can save her from taking her top off in front of a webcam – a decision that has far-reaching consequences. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015 at 3.00pm
Lost At Sea
by Morna Young. Directed by Liz Carruthers.

An epic tale spanning forty years of the fishing industry, told through the eyes of one family and the surrounding community. Fishing is still the most dangerous job in the UK – there is fifty times more risk of being killed than in any other profession. Lost At Sea is the story of two brothers experiencing the extremes of the industry – one is lost to the ocean, the other makes his fortune – and features the verbatim voices of fishermen and their families with an added element of ocean mythology. Inspired by the loss of Morna Young’s own father to the ocean, it is a personal tribute to the fishing communities of the North East of Scotland.

Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Book online at
Telephone Booking 0844 847 1652 (calls will cost 7ppm plus your network access charge). 



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