Finborough Theatre


Finborough Theatre

Infobox Theatre
name = Finborough Theatre


caption = Exterior of the Finborough Theatre
address = Finborough Road
city = Kensington and Chelsea, London
country = UK
designation =
latitude = 51.486111
longitude = -0.189444
architect = George Godwin
artistic director = Neil McPherson
capacity = 50 seats
type = Off West End theatre
opened = June 1980
yearsactive = 1980-to date
rebuilt = 1983
closed =
othernames = 1868 Finborough Arms Pub
production = Short seasons
currentuse =
website = www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
Founded in 1980, the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea presents 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.

History

1980s

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 houses built in the Earls Court area 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 Rylance and Clare Dowie (the world première of "Adult Child/Dead Child").

1990s

From 1991-1994, 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" 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 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 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.

2000s

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 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"; the specially commissioned adaptation of W.H. Davies’ "Young Emma" by Laura Wade and 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 Road murder of 1922); the Victorian era comedy "Masks and Faces"; "Etta Jenks" with Clarke Peters and Daniela Nardini; "The Gigli Concert" with Niall Buggy, Catherine Cusack and Paul McGann which transferred to the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh); "Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams" with Linda Bassett, "Albert's Boy" by James Graham starring Victor Spinetti, (published by Methuen), Peter Oswald’s "Lucifer Saved" with Mark Rylance, "Blackwater Angel", the UK debut of Irish playwright Jim Nolan with Sean Campion and the first London revival for over seventy years of "Loyalties" by John Galsworthy.

Musical Theatre

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 Miller and 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 Lippa and "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 Sullivan Doublebill" featuring "Sweethearts", a play by W.S. Gilbert, "The Zoo", an operetta by Arthur Sullivan and Bolton Rowe, and the opera "The Boatswain's Mate" by Ethel Smyth.

Awards

The Finborough Theatre has won the Pearson Award bursary 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 Johnson Best Play Award in 2007 for James Graham. Playwright-in-Residence Alexandra Wood was also shortlisted for the Pearson Award in 2007.

The Finborough Theatre was the inaugural winner of the Empty Space Peter Brook Award’s Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award in 2005, won the Empty Space Peter Brook Mark 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.

In 2004, the theatre was named by "Variety" as one of the top five fringe venues in London, and, in 2007, by Time Out as one of the 50 best small venues in London.

Artistic Directors

* June Abbott (1980-1982)
* Mike McCormack (1982-1988)
* Jessica Dromgoole (1988-1991)
* Cathryn Horn and Mary Peate (1991-1994)
* Phil Willmott (1994-1999)
* Neil McPherson (1999-)

External links

* [http://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk Finborough Theatre website] which includes an extensive archive of previous productions


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