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Finborough Theatre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Finborough Theatre
Finborough Theatre, near Earl's Court, London.JPG
LocationWest Brompton
London, SW10 9ED
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°29′12″N 0°11′24″W / 51.486599°N 0.190107°W / 51.486599; -0.190107
Public transitLondon Underground Earl's Court London Underground London Overground National Rail West Brompton
TypeOff West End theatre
Capacity50 seats
Current useTheatre
ProductionShort seasons
Opened24 June 1980
RebuiltInternal reconstruction, 1983
Years active1980–present
ArchitectGeorge Godwin and Henry Godwin

The Finborough Theatre is a fifty-seat theatre in the West Brompton area of London (part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) under artistic director Neil McPherson. The theatre presents new British writing, as well as UK and world premieres of new plays primarily from the English speaking world including North America, Canada, Ireland, and Scotland including work in the Scots language, alongside rarely seen rediscovered 19th and 20th century plays. The venue also presents new and rediscovered music theatre.

The Finborough Arms

The Finborough Arms was built in 1868 to a design by George Godwin and his younger brother Henry. It was one of five public houses built by Corbett and McClymont in the Earls Court area during the West London development boom of the 1860s. The pub opened in 1871. The ground floor and basement of the building was converted into The Finborough Road Brasserie from 2008 to 2010 and The Finborough Wine Cafe from 2010 to 2012. The pub reopened under its original name of The Finborough Arms in February 2014.


June Abbott opened the theatre above the Finborough Arms Public House in June 1980. In its first decade, artists working at the new theatre included Clive Barker, Kathy Burke, Ken Campbell, Mark Rylance, and Clare Dowie who appeared in the world première of her own play Adult Child/Dead Child.[1]


From 1991 to 1994, the theatre was best known for new writing with Naomi Wallace’s first play The War Boys; Rachel Weisz in David Farr’s Neville Southall's Washbag,[2] Elton John’s Glasses;[3] Holding Back the Ocean by Godfrey Hamilton; and three plays by Anthony Neilson: The Year of the Family; Normal: The Düsseldorf Ripper; and Penetrator, which transferred from the Traverse and went on to play at the Royal Court Upstairs. From 1994, the theatre was run by The Steam Industry under Artistic Director Phil Willmott. Productions included new plays by Tony Marchant, David Eldridge, Mark Ravenhill, and Phil Willmott. New writing development included Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and F*cking[4] (Royal Court, West End and Broadway) and Naomi Wallace's Slaughter City (Royal Shakespeare Company), the UK première of David Mamet’s The Woods,[5] and Anthony Neilson's The Censor, which transferred to the Royal Court.


Productions since 2000 have included the UK premières of Brad Fraser’s Wolfboy; Lanford Wilson’s Sympathetic Magic; Tennessee WilliamsSomething Cloudy, Something Clear; and Frank McGuinnessGates of Gold[6] with William Gaunt and the late John Bennett in his last stage role which transferred to the West End; the London première of Sonja Linden’s I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda;[7] the specially commissioned adaptation of W.H. DaviesYoung Emma by Laura Wade and directed by Tamara Harvey; the first London revival for more than 40 years of Rolf Hochhuth’s Soldiers;[8] Keith Dewhurst's Lark Rise to Candleford, performed in promenade and in repertoire; the Great War drama Red Night,[9] and five first plays by new writers: Jason Hall's Eyes Catch Fire; Chris Dunkley’s Mirita; Dameon Garnett's Break Away ,[10] Simon Vinnicombe's Year 10, Joy Wilkinson's Fair which transferred to the West End; Waterloo Day with Robert Lang; Sarah PhelpsModern Dance for Beginners, subsequently produced at the Soho Theatre; Carolyn Scott-Jeffs' comedy Out in the Garden, which transferred to the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh; the London premiere of Larry Kramer's The Destiny of Me ; The Women's War – an evening of original suffragette plays; Steve Hennessy’s Lullabies of Broadmoor[11] (about the Finborough Road murder of 1922); the Victorian era comedy Masks and Faces;[12] Etta Jenks[13] with Clarke Peters and Daniela Nardini; The Gigli Concert[14] with Niall Buggy, Catherine Cusack and Paul McGann which transferred to the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh); Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams[15] with Linda Bassett, Albert's Boy[16] by James Graham starring Victor Spinetti, Peter Oswald’s Lucifer Saved[17] with Mark Rylance, Blackwater Angel,[18] the UK debut of Irish playwright Jim Nolan with Sean Campion, the first London revival for over seventy years of Loyalties[19] by John Galsworthy, the world premiere of Plague Over England[20] by Nicholas de Jongh which subsequently transferred to the West End at the Duchess Theatre, the first revival of Hangover Square,[21] adapted by Fidelis Morgan from the novel by Patrick Hamilton, the UK premiere of the musical Ordinary Days[22] by Adam Gwon and a season of plays by William Saroyan.


In March 2010 the theatre presented the world premiere of A Day at the Racists,[23] a new piece of political theatre by Anders Lustgarten, charting the rise of the BNP in Barking. In 2011 productions included a critically acclaimed production of Mixed Marriage by St John Ervine, as well as Dawn King's Foxfinder, as well as revivals of Emlyn Williams's Accolade and Caryl Churchill's Fen. Air conditioning was also installed in 2011. In 2012 productions at the theatre included John McGrath's Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun and revivals of Arthur Miller's The American Clock and J. B. Priestley's Cornelius which subsequently transferred Off-Broadway. In November 2012, the theatre presented twelve new plays as part of its fourth annual Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.[24] The plays include The Andes by Alexandra Wood, The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie by Anders Lustgarten and Pig Girl by Colleen Murphy. 2012 saw transfers of London Wall by John Van Druten to St James' Theatre, and Cornelius by J.B. Priestley to Off-Broadway. From 2009–12, the Finborough Theatre awarded the Leverhulme Emerging Directors Bursary in collaboration with the National Theatre Studio. The recipients of the award were Blanche McIntyre, Ria Parry and Andrea Ferran.[25]

Musical theatre

The Finborough Theatre has also presented musical theatre, including Schwartz It All About which transferred to Edinburgh and the King's Head Theatre, the world premiere of Charles Miller and Kevin Hammonds' When Midnight Strikes,[26] the UK premieres of Lucky Nurse and Other Short Musical Plays by Michael John LaChuisa, Darius Milhaud’s opera Médée, Myths and Hymns[27] by Adam Guettel, John and Jen by Andrew Lippa and Three Sides by Grant Olding, and an acclaimed series 'Celebrating British Musical Theatre' from the Victorian and Edwardian era with Florodora,[28] Our Miss Gibbs,[29] The Maid of the Mountains and A Gilbert and Sullivan Doublebill featuring Sweethearts, a play by W.S. Gilbert, The Zoo, an operetta by Arthur Sullivan and Bolton Rowe, the opera The Boatswain's Mate by Ethel Smyth and two rare musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein – the UK premiere of State Fair[30] which transferred to the West End, and the European premiere of Me and Juliet.[31]


Productions in 2020:

7 January – 1 February 2020. Scrounger by Athena Stevens. Directed by Lily McLeish. World premiere.[32]

4 – 29 February 2020. On McQuillan's Hill by Joe Crilly. Directed by Jonathan Harden. English premiere.[33]

3 – 15 March 2020. Not Quite Jerusalem by Paul Kember. Directed by Peter Kavanagh. First new UK production in 40 years.[34]

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, the Finborough Theatre temporarily closed, cancelling its remaining productions for 2020.[35]

From May 2020, the Finborough Theatre began its #FinboroughForFree programme of archive productions streamed online:

7 May – 7 July 2020. It Is Easy To Be Dead by Neil McPherson. Directed by Max Key. World premiere production from 2016.[36]

18 May – 31 December 2021. Continuity by Gerry Moynihan. Directed by Shane Dempsey. World premiere production from 2017.[37]

5 June – 5 August 2020. Jane Clegg by St John Ervine. Directed by David Gilmore. First London production in over 75 years from 2019.[38]

2 July – 2 September 2020. Blueprint Medea by Julia Pascal. Directed by Julia Pascal. World premiere production from 2019.[39]

1 – 3 and 31 August 2020. Scrounger by Athena Stevens. Directed by Lily McLeish. World premiere production from January 2020.[40]

7 September – 7 October 2020. Death of a Hunter by Rolf Hochhuth. Directed by Anthony Shrubsall. UK and English language premiere production from 2018.[41]

1 October – 12 November 2020. Adding Machine (musical) by Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt. Directed by Josh Seymour. UK premiere production from 2016.[42]

1 November – 31 December 2020. I Wish To Die Singing – Voices From The Armenian Genocide by Neil McPherson. Directed by Tommo Fowler. World premiere production from 2015.[43]

1 December 2020 – 1 February 2021. S-27 by Sarah Grochala. Directed by Stephen Keyworth. The world premiere of the winner of Amnesty International’s first Protect The Human Playwriting Competition.[44]

From January 2021 the Finborough Theatre began to produce new original online content as part of its #FinboroughForFree programme:

1 February – 30 April 2021. Late Night Staring At High Res Pixels by Athena Stevens. Directed Lily McLeish. The world premiere of a new play repurposed for online viewing.[45]

1–8 April 2021. Playfight by Julia Grogan. Directed by Blanche McIntyre. The world premiere rehearsed reading of the winner of the 2020 ETPEP Competition.[46]

24 May – 20 June 2021. A Brief List of Everyone Who Died by Jacob Marx Rice. Directed by Alex Howarth. The world premiere rehearsed reading.[47]

22 June – 20 July 2021. Leather by Peter Scott-Presland. Directed by Patrick Kealey. The first production in more than thirty years.[48]

28 July – 25 August 2021. Masks and Faces or, Before and Behind the Curtain by Charles Reade and Tom Taylor. Directed by Matthew Iliffe. The online premiere of a unique rediscovery.[49]

In September 2021, the Finborough Theatre reopened for live performances:

28 September – 23 October 2021. How To Survive An Apocalypse by Jordan Hall. Directed by Jimmy Walters. UK premiere production from 2016.[50]

26 October – 20 November 2021. The Sugar House by Alana Valentine. Directed by Tom Brennan. The European Premiere.[51]

23 November – 18 December 2021. Yes So I Said Yes by David Ireland. Directed by Max Elton. The Great Britain premiere.[52]

28 January – 25 February 2022. An Earl's Court Miscellany devised and directed by Catherine Harvey. The online world premiere.[53]

31 January – 28 February 2022. How To Make A Revolution by Einat Weizman with Issa Amro. Directed by Tommo Fowler. The online world premiere.[54]

1 March – 2 April 2022. Bacon by Sophie Swithinbank. Directed by Matthew Iliffe. The world premiere.[55]

19 April – 14 May 2022. The Straw Chair by Sue Glover. Directed by Polly Creed. The English premiere.[56]

17 May – 11 June 2022. Bliss by Fraser Grace. Directed by Paul Bourne. The world premiere.[57]

14 June - 9 July 2022. "Darkie Armo Girl" by Karine Bedrossain. Directed by Anastasia Bunce. The world premiere. [58]

12 July - 6 August 2022. "Pennyroyal" by Lucy Roslyn. Directed by Josh Roche. The world premiere. [59]


The Finborough Theatre has won the Pearson Award bursary for playwrights nine times for Chris Lee in 2000, Laura Wade in 2005, James Graham in 2006, Al Smith in 2007, Anders Lustgarten in 2009, Simon Vinnicombe in 2010, Dawn King in 2011,[60] Shamser Sinha in 2013 and Chris Thompson in 2014 – as well as the Pearson Award for Best Play for Laura Wade in 2005 and – under its new name – the Catherine Johnson Best Play Award in 2007 for James Graham[61] and for Anders Lustgarten in 2010.[62] Anders Lustgarten also won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwrights Award for the same play, A Day at the Racists, in 2011.[63]

The Finborough Theatre won the Empty Space Peter Brook Award in 2010[64] and for a second time in 2012. It was also the inaugural winner of the Empty Space Peter Brook Award's Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award in 2005 which it also won again in 2008.[65] It has also won the Empty Space Peter Brook Mark Marvin Award in 2004 . The Finborough Theatre won four awards in total at the 2011 Off West End Awards,[66] and at the 2012 Off West End Awards, the Finborough Theatre won eight awards in total including Best Artistic Director and Best Director for the second year running, and Best Production, Best Male Performance and Most Promising New Playwright.

The Finborough Theatre was awarded The Stage 100's inaugural Fringe Theatre of the Year award in 2011.[67]

Neil McPherson was named as Best Artistic Director in the 2009 Fringe Report Awards[68] and both the 2011 and 2012 Off West End Awards,[69] and won an award for the Encouragement of New Writing from the Writers Guild of Great Britain in 2010.[70]

Artistic directors


  1. ^ Claire Dowie's page on Retrieved 17 April 2011
  2. ^ Neville Southall's Washbag – Finborough Arms, London, The Independent. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  3. ^ There's much ado, and it's all in perfect order, The Independent. Retrieved 17 November 2011
  4. ^ Finborough continues its award-winning ways, The Stage. Retrieved 17 November 2011
  5. ^ The Woods Finborough Theater, London, The Independent. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  6. ^ Gates of Gold, British Theater Guide. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  7. ^ I Have Before Me... Finborough, London, The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  8. ^ Soldiers, Finborough Theater, London, The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  9. ^ Red Night, Finborough Theater, London, The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  10. ^ Break Away, Finborough Theater, London, The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  11. ^ Lullabies of Boradmoor: A Broadmoor Quartet, British Theater Guide. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  12. ^ Masks and Faces, British Theater Guide. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  13. ^ Etta Jenks, British Theater Guide. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  14. ^ The Gigli Concert, British Theater Guide. Retrieved 15 November 2011
  15. ^ "Theatre review: Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams at Finborough Theatre". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Lalayn Baluch (12 November 2007). "The Stage / Reviews / Lucifer Saved". The Stage. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  18. ^ Alistair Smith (9 March 2006). "The Stage / Reviews / Blackwater Angel". The Stage. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  19. ^ Michael Billington (3 May 2006). "Loyalties, Finborough, London | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  20. ^ Michael Billington (March 2008). "Theatre review: Plague Over England / Finborough Theatre, London | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  21. ^ Lyn Gardner (15 July 2008). "Theatre Review: Hangover Square / Finborough, London | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  22. ^ Mark Shenton (5 November 2008). "The Stage / Reviews / Ordinary Days". The Stage. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  23. ^ Michael Billington (9 March 2010). "A Day at the Racists | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Vibrant – 2012 Productions". Finborough Theatre. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  25. ^ "Molière or The League of Hypocrites – Finborough Theatre". Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  26. ^ "Theatre review: When Midnight Strikes at Finborough Theatre". 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  27. ^ Mark Shenton (23 April 2007). "The Stage / Reviews / Myths and Hymns". The Stage. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  28. ^ George Hall (9 January 2006). "The Stage / Reviews / Florodora". The Stage. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  29. ^ Susannah Clapp (7 May 2006). "Theatre: Our Miss Gibbs, Loyalties and Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson | The Observer". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  30. ^ Rhoda Koenig (17 August 2009). "State Fair, Finborough Theatre, London – Reviews – Theatre & Dance". The Independent. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  31. ^ Paul Vale (8 October 2010). "The Stage / Reviews / Me and Juliet". The Stage. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  32. ^ Arifa Akbar (10 January 2020). "The Guardian / Reviews / Scrounger". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  33. ^ Rachel Halliburton (11 February 2020). "The Arts Desk / Reviews / On McQuillan's Hill". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  34. ^ Laura Fuller (8 March 2020). "Broadway World / Reviews / Not Quite Jerusalem". Broadway World. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  35. ^ Chris Wiegand (16 March 2020). "The Guardian / News / Finborough Theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  36. ^ Chris Wiegand (25 May 2020). "The Guardian / News / Finborough Theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  37. ^ Arifa Akbar (10 June 2020). "The Guardian / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  38. ^ LLoyd Evans (4 July 2020). "The Spectator / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Spectator. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  39. ^ Georgia Howlett (6 July 2020). "The Upcoming / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Upcoming. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  40. ^ Jesse Green (3 August 2020). "The New York Times / News / Finborough Theatre". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  41. ^ Brooke Snowe (8 September 2020). "The Upcoming / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Upcoming. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  42. ^ BWW News Desk (1 October 2020). "Broadway World / News / Finborough Theatre". Broadway World. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  43. ^ Michael Higgs (1 November 2020). "The Upcoming / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Upcoming. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  44. ^ John Nathan (4 December 2020). "The Jewish Chronicle / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  45. ^ Arifa Akbar (3 March 2020). "The Guardian / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  46. ^ Kate Pettigrew (17 April 2020). "London Pub Theatre Magazine / Reviews / Finborough Theatre". London Pub Theatre Magazine. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  47. ^ BWW News Desk (20 May 2020). "Broadway World / News / Finborough Theatre". Broadway World. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  48. ^ Kiefer Williams (15 June 2021). "North West End / Reviews / Leather – Finborough Theatre". North West End. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  49. ^ Mark Fisher (29 July 2021). "Guardian / Reviews / Masks and Faces". Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  50. ^ Carole Gordon (1 October 2021). "North West End / Reviews / How To Survive An Apocalypse". North West End. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  51. ^ "Review: THE SUGAR HOUSE, Finborough Theatre".
  52. ^ Mark Lawson (21 November 2021). "The Guardian / Reviews / Yes So I Said Yes". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  53. ^ David Guest (2 February 2022). "An Earl's Court Miscellany – Finborough Theatre". The Reviews Hub. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  54. ^ James Humphrey (3 February 2022). "How to Make a Revolution at Finborough Theatre online". The Upcoming. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  55. ^ Paul Vale (4 March 2022). "Bacon review". The Stage. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  56. ^ Gary Naylor (22 April 2022). review=Broadway World review=Broadway World. Retrieved 31 May 2022. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  57. ^ Sebastian Calver (22 May 2022). "Bliss review". London Theatre Reviews. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  58. ^ Jenny Booth. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  59. ^ John Groves. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  60. ^ "Finborough Theatre wins the Pearson Award Bursary for the seventh time – KensingtonChelseaToday". 23 December 2011. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  61. ^ "The British Theatre Guide: Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play 2007". 2 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  62. ^ "Finborough Theatre Wins Pearson Best Play Award". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  63. ^ "Harold Pinter Playwright Award won by Anders Lusgarten". 23 June 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  64. ^ WhatsOnStage, November 2010
  65. ^ "Finborough Theatre Fulham London | Nearby hotels, shops and restaurants". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  66. ^ "News – The definitive guide to London's Off West End theatre scene, featuring listings and details for over 80 theatres, news, discussion and exclusive special offers". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  67. ^ The Stage, January 2011 Archived 12 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  68. ^ Fringe Report, 2009
  69. ^ "News – The definitive guide to London's Off West End theatre scene, featuring listings and details for over 80 theatres, news, discussion and exclusive special offers". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  70. ^ Writer's Guild website, November 2010 Archived 16 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine

External links

This page was last edited on 24 July 2022, at 15:46
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