Three plays, ‘all written for live theatre – with the emphasis on live’, and all first performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough: The Revengers’ Comedies (1989); Things We Do for Love (1997); and House & Garden (1999).
The Revengers’ Comedies A hugely entertaining pitch that recalls the old movies to which it frequently pays homage – Strangers on a Train, Rebecca, Kind Hearts and Coronets – and expands after intermission to reveal an immensely disturbing vision of contemporary middle-class England poisoned by the rise of economic ruthlessness and the collapse of ethics. New York Times
Things We Do for Love Lloyds Private Banking Playwright of the Year Award One of his best, his most shockingly and uproariously funny: a cruel and hilarious masterpiece of tragic comedy and comic tragedy. Sunday Times
House & Garden The triumph of his ingenuity lies in the fact that you have to see both plays . . . A second time round, in whichever order you take them, characters will deepen, while those you know become the background. It is a superb Ayckbourn joke that a comedy about non-communication should depend on the sharpest communication skills. Sunday Times
Snake in the Grass
“A terrific piece – brilliant, bizarre and yet totally believable… In fact, it’s more than classic; it’s close to the top of its class.” Yorkshire Post
If I Were You
“A blissfully funny comedy that’s also filled with sadness, a devilishly simple theatrical idea that spins out all kinds of complex truths about human nature.” Daily Telegraph
Life and Beth
“A wise, humane, funny play about the inevitability of death and the continuity of life.” Guardian
My Wonderful Day
“A transformation happens as magical as the most magnificent pantomime transformation anyone could ever imagine… the playwright dissolves the paraphernalia of our adult selves and uncovers that space inside each of us that is still the child we once were.” Observer
Life of Riley
“As perceptive as ever… Ayckbourn has once again achieved a satisfyingly rich, tragi-comic complexity.” Daily Telegraph
A Wedding Story
‘A spry if wintry comedy about a lesbian, a wedding-day bonk, and a mother who contracts Alzheimer’s… It dares to find failure and frivolity (a sure sign of dramatic honesty) in the face of domestic hell. Funny, frank and churning by turns, this struck me as a lyrical new play about the unlyrical business of coping when real life knocks on the door.’ Daily Express
Frozen Winner of the TMA Best New Play award and Eileen Anderson Central Television Award for Best Play.
‘Bryony Lavery’s big, brave, compassionate play about grief, revenge, forgiveness and bearing the unbearable.’ Guardian
‘A major play… thrilling, humane and timely.’ The Times
‘Consistently surprising and even bravely comic… The almost thriller-like promise of the play’s climactic confrontation is like a time-bomb ticking in the back of your head.’ Independent
A young war reporter gets abducted and finds herself in the midst of a cycle of violence, in a land crippled by hate.
‘Triumphant… A startlingly metaphorical play about the creation of art.’ Independent
Contemporary Irish Plays showcases the new drama that has emerged since 2008. Featuring a blend of established and emerging writers, the anthology shows how Irish writers are embracing new methods of theatre-making to explore exciting new themes – while also finding new ways to come to terms with the legacies of the Troubles and the Celtic Tiger.
Drum Belly is a fascinating play about the Irish mafia in late 1960s’ New York. It premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 2012.
Previously unpublished, Planet Belfast by Rosemary Jenkinson is about a woman named Alice – Stormont’s only Green MLA who must toe a delicate line between large, sectarian power bases in order to promote an environmental agenda in Northern Ireland.
Forgotten features the interconnecting stories of four elderly people living in retirement homes and care facilities around Ireland, who range in age from 80 to 100 years old.
Desolate Heaven is a story about two young girls hoping to find freedom from home in the trappings of love. It was first performed at Theatre 503, London, in 2013.
Written for the 2012 Dublin Theatre Festival, and previously unpublished, The Boys of Foley Street by Louise Lowe is a piece of site-specific theatre which led audience members on a tour of the backstreets of inner-city Dublin.
Freefall is a sharp, humorous and exhilarating look at the fragility of a human life, blending impressionistic beauty, poignancy and comedy.
Edited by the leading scholar on Irish theatre, Patrick Lonergan, Contemporary Irish Plays is a timely reminder of the long-held tradition and strength of Irish theatre which blossoms even in its new-found circumstances.
Double Take tells how to rob Heathrow Airport and get away with it.
An ‘Italian Job’ for the 21st century, with swearing in several languages – some of it translated – chillis as offensive weapons, but no Minis. Double Take deconstructs one of Agatha Christie’s most audacious plots.
Edward Bond Plays:9 brings together recent work by the writer of the classic stage plays Saved, Lear, The Pope’s Wedding, and Early Morning. The volume comprises five new plays and a comprehensive introduction by the author exploring theories of writing and theatre.
Innocence is the final play in The Paris Pentad, a dramatic epic stretching from the 1940s to the end of the twenty-first century. The conflicts at the heart of civilisation have erupted into violence, and the characters in Innocence must seek refuge in each other to escape the cruelty of war.
Window, Tune, Balancing Act and The Edge are plays commissioned by The Big Brum Theatre. With themes of drug use, violence, suicide, and mother-son relations, the plays focus on problems directly aimed at modern youth culture. Ideally suited to students, performers and particularly university showcases, they are short, interesting and powerful pieces.
This edition also includes some of Bond’s previously unpublished Theatre Poems.
Radio Castle, the voice of Jerusalem. Your local news broadcast from the bed of housebound ex-fireman, John Edward. His son doesn’t want to join the family business, and his wife is in love with the town’s ex-policeman, but Radio Castle continues to broadcast despite everything life throws at John Edward. When the coveted position of Entertainment Secretary at the Jerusalem Social Club comes up, only one man stands between John Edward and his dream – a certain ex-policeman. As two old adversaries square up, who will get the girl and who will get the job?
This dark musical comedy premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse in November 2005.
“There are two things necessary to salvation … money and gunpowder”.
Major Barbara, Bernard Shaw’s story of the conversion contest between the arms manufacturer Andrew Undershaft and his daughter, the Salvation Army Major, is a provocative dramatization of the relationship between money, power, and moral purpose. A landmark in the history of British theatre when first produced at the Royal Court in 1905, it remains strikingly relevant today, when recent history has repeatedly highlighted the power of the arms industry in shaping government policy, and globalisation has accentuated the political and ethical issues of social welfare and international capital raised by the play.
In this new translation by the distinguished Scottish poet Tom Leonard of Brecht’s great 1939 anti-war play Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder, Mother Courage is a working-class woman from the West of Scotland speaking the racy working-class nonstandard language of Glasgow. The rest of the cast speak varieties of English language subtly shaded for irony, accent and all the social hierarchies carried by diction and regional language in a land where diction is an index of class. Best known for his early poems in Glasgow dialect such as ‘The Six o’clock News’, Tom Leonard invests his translation with the arguments about language and politics that have run as a thread through all his work for almost fifty years. It is a play about the language of politics and the politics of language. As Leonard says, ‘the hero of this Mother Courage is the language itself, and it is an anti-hero. Only Kattrin is allowed in her final action to be a proper hero – and she is dumb.’
How far would you go to resist oppression? What would you choose to remember, and what to forget? Are some wounds never meant to heal?
Siddhartha Bose’s play takes us to 1930s India to tell the story of Pritilata Waddedar, a young, female revolutionary who leads an attack on a whites-only club. ‘No Dogs, No Indians’ was commissioned by five major performing arts venues to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.
Owen McCafferty’s second collection includes plays that span from the sinking of the Titanic to the lingering aftermath of the Troubles in twenty-first-century Belfast.
Absence of Women
‘A fine example of theatre at its small-scale best.’ Evening Standard
‘Owen McCafferty’s rigorous verbatim play provides an antidote to Titanic fatigue… Two months of hearings from 97 witnesses are whittled down to nine… What remains, even after a century, is a disturbing sense of moral ambiguity: 1, 517 dead and no one to blame.’ Guardian
‘Remarkable. inspired. The piece packs sweeping questions about forgiveness and accountability into a tightly plotted encounter.’ Daily Telegraph
‘McCafferty writes with empathy and a wry humour that makes for an absorbing – if painful – hour.’ Financial Times
Death of a Comedian
‘Despite the humour, McCafferty’s play is a tragedy. his most accomplished work to date.’ Belfast Telegraph
Paul Godfrey is “so good, so nervy and alert with imagination and intelligence” (Sunday Times). Includes the plays:
Inventing a New Colour
“Godfrey’s appealing first play is, with its ominous signs of disjunction, like a surrealist painting”(Guardian)
Once in a While the Odd Thing Happens
“A fictional-biographical account of Benjamin Britten…lyrical, poetic prose, sinuous, swift, eloquent and dramatic” (Sunday Times)
A Bucket of Eels
“Danger gives Paul Godfrey’s wonderful play its drama. Six young people enter a Freudian forest of their own imaginings” (Financial Times)
The Blue Ball
“An enquiry into the magic of space exploration…a rather interesting, idiosyncratic and well written play” (Observer) is an imaginative investigation of the experience of Space researched by the playwright among the astronauts themselves. This ambitious play questions the politics of a culture in which the wondrous is rendered mundane and what seems commonplace is rendered absurd. The Blue Ball was commissioned by the Royal National Theatre and received its premiere at the Cottesloe Theatre in 1995.
‘Roy Williams has a deserved reputation as one of the most exciting writers working today whose plays have electrified the sort of audiences most theatres rarely see: streetwise urban youth. ‘His plays have brought the experience of black urban youth onto the stage’ (Observer).
Sucker Punch looks back on what it was like to be young and Black in the 80s and asks if the right battles have been fought, let alone won.
Saul runs a tip-top wing – the screws love him for it, especially Angela. Prisoners follow his rules, and it’s all gravy. But Saul’s number two position is vacant, new inmates are flooding in, so everyone’s feeling the heat. No-one wants to go to Cat B, but the world on the outside is a different story.
a powerful drama about race and prejudice within the black community.
Advice for the Young At Heart
The riots of 2011 provoked comment on the morality of youth and the codes by which they live. The play digs into the question of whether this is a new phenomenon or one that young people have struggled with for generations. Set during the riots of 1958 and the riots of 2011, Roy Williams asks how a new generation of teenagers can learn from the mistakes made by a previous generation.
A high-ranking government minister with a colourful past is sent on a diplomatic mission to Istanbul. When his trip ends up in a bar-room brawl, he becomes Europe’s most wanted man overnight. Chased by the authorities, damned by religious leaders, pursued by those looking for vengeance and head-hunted by fanatics, his odyssey begins.
Plunged into the ancient past, Odysseus must now contend with all the unworldly beings and unnatural phenomena that stand in his way. The Cyclops, the Sirens, witches, whirlpools and flesh-eating armies must all be overcome in the struggle for survival and the long voyage back home.
Simon Armitage’s The Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead premiered at the Liverpool Everyman in September 2015 then toured the UK in a co-production with English Touring Theatre.
This edition of Miller’s play The Price features an extensive introduction by Jane K. Dominik which includes: a chronology of Miller’s life and times; a summary of the plot and commentary on the characters, themes, language, context and production history of the play. Together with over twenty questions for further study and detailed notes on words and phrases from the text, this is the definitive edition of the play.
The play concerns two brothers who must return to the home of their deceased father prior to its destruction to dispose of the furniture crammed into the attic. Exhibiting many features characteristic of Miller’s work including sibling rivalry, confrontation with the past and with their memories, the effects of the Great Depression and the war in Vietnam, the pursuit of a dream, and the responsibility one must assume for one’s own life, The Price is recognised as one of Miller’s major works.
Thomas Cromwell. Son of a blacksmith, political genius, briber, charmer, bully. A man with a deadly expertise in manipulating people and events.
Mike Poulton’s ‘expertly adapted’ (Evening Standard) two-part ad adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies is a ‘gripping piece of narrative theatre … history made manifest’ (Guardian). The plays were premiered to great acclaim by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2013, before transferring to the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End in May 2014.