- Finborough Theatre
name = Finborough Theatre
caption = Exterior of the Finborough Theatre
address = Finborough Road
city = Kensington and Chelsea,
country = UK
latitude = 51.486111
longitude = -0.189444
artistic director = Neil McPherson
capacity = 50 seats
type = Off West End theatre
opened = June 1980
yearsactive = 1980-to date
rebuilt = 1983
othernames = 1868 Finborough Arms Pub
production = Short seasons
website = www.finboroughtheatre.co.ukFounded in 1980, the Finborough Theatre in
Earls Court, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelseapresents new British writing, UK premieres of overseas drama(particularly from the United States, Canada, and Ireland), music theatre, and rarely seen rediscovered 19th and 20th century plays.
The theatre was founded above the Finborough Arms "public house", in July 1980, by June Abbott. The Finborough Arms was one of the five
public housesbuilt in the Earls Courtarea by Corbett and McClymont in the West London redevelopment boom of the 1860s. The Finborough Arms itself was built in 1868 to designs by George Godwin. In its first decade, artists working at the new theatre included Clive Barker, Kathy Burke, Ken Campbell, Mark Rylanceand Clare Dowie(the world première of "Adult Child/Dead Child").
From 1991-1994, the theatre was best known for new writing with
Naomi Wallace’s first play "The War Boys"; Rachel Weiszin David Farr’s "Neville Southall’s Washbag" which later became the award-winning "West End" play, Elton John’s "Glasses"; "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 CourtUpstairs.
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 including Mark Ravenhill’s "Shopping and Fucking" (Royal Court, West End and Broadway) and Naomi Wallace’s "Slaughter City" (
Royal Shakespeare Company), the UK première of David Mamet’s "The Woods", and Anthony Neilson’s "The Censor", which transferred to the Royal Court.
Notable productions in this period have included the UK premières of
Brad Fraser’s "Wolfboy"; Lanford Wilson’s "Sympathetic Magic"; Tennessee Williams’ "Something Cloudy, Something Clear"; and Frank McGuinness’ "Gates of Gold" with William Gauntand the late John Bennett in his last stage role which transferred to the West End; the Londonpremière of Sonja Linden’s "I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda"; the specially commissioned adaptation of W.H. Davies’ "Young Emma" by Laura Wadeand directed by Tamara Harvey; the first London revival for more than 40 years of Rolf Hochhuth’s "Soldiers"; the major revival of Keith Dewhurst's "Lark Rise to Candleford", performed in promenade and in repertoire, the Great War drama "Red Night", and five first plays by new writers: Jason Hall’s "Eyes Catch Fire"; Chris Dunkley’s "Mirita"; Dameon Garnett’s "Break Away" (published by Oberon Books), Simon Vinnicombe’s "Year 10" (published by Methuen), Joy Wilkinson's "Fair" (published by Nick Hern Books) which transferred to the West End; "Waterloo Day" with Robert Lang; Sarah Phelps’ "Modern Dance for Beginners", subsequently produced at the Soho Theatre; Carolyn Scott-Jeffs’ sell-out comedy "Out in the Garden", which transferred to the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh; the London premiere of Larry Kramer’s "The Destiny of Me" (No 1 Critics Choice in The Evening Standard); "The Women’s War" – an evening of original suffragette plays; Steve Hennessy’s "Lullabies of Broadmoor" (about the Finborough Roadmurder of 1922); the Victorian eracomedy "Masks and Faces"; "Etta Jenks" with Clarke Petersand Daniela Nardini; "The Gigli Concert" with Niall Buggy, Catherine Cusackand Paul McGannwhich transferred to the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh); "Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams" with Linda Bassett, "Albert's Boy" by James Grahamstarring Victor Spinetti, (published by Methuen), Peter Oswald’s "Lucifer Saved" with Mark Rylance, "Blackwater Angel", the UK debut of Irish playwright Jim Nolanwith Sean Campionand the first London revival for over seventy years of " Loyalties" by John Galsworthy.
The Finborough Theatre also presents
musical theatre, including "Schwartz It All About" which transferred to Edinburgh and the King's Head Theatre, the world premiere of Charles Millerand Kevin Hammonds' "When Midnight Strikes", the UK premieres of "Lucky Nurse and Other Short Musical Plays" by Michael John LaChuisa, Darius Milhaud’s opera"Médée", " Myths and Hymns" by Adam Guettel, "John and Jen" by Andrew Lippaand "Three Sides" by Grant Olding, and an acclaimed series 'Celebrating British Musical Theatre' from the Victorian and Edwardian era with " Florodora", " Our Miss Gibbs", " The Maid of the Mountains" and "A Gilbert and SullivanDoublebill" featuring " Sweethearts", a play by W.S. Gilbert, " The Zoo", an operettaby Arthur Sullivanand Bolton Rowe, and the opera "The Boatswain's Mate" by Ethel Smyth.
The Finborough Theatre has won the
Pearson Awardbursary for playwrights Chris Lee in 2000, Laura Wade in 2005, James Graham in 2006 and Al Smith in 2007 – as well as the Pearson Award for Best Play for Laura Wade in 2005 and - under its new name - the Catherine JohnsonBest Play Award in 2007 for James Graham. Playwright-in-Residence Alexandra Woodwas also shortlisted for the Pearson Awardin 2007.
The Finborough Theatre was the inaugural winner of the Empty Space
Peter BrookAward’s Dan CrawfordPub Theatre Award in 2005, won the Empty Space Peter BrookMark Marvin Award in 2004 and was shortlisted in 2006 and 2007, and was shortlisted for the Empty Space Peter Brook Award for Up-and-Coming Venues in 2003, and for Studio Theatres in 2007.
* June Abbott (1980-1982)
* Mike McCormack (1982-1988)
* Jessica Dromgoole (1988-1991)
* Cathryn Horn and Mary Peate (1991-1994)
* [http://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk Finborough Theatre website] which includes an extensive archive of previous productions
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