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Finborough Stages 30 Premieres to Mark 30 Years

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West London's Finborough Theatre continues to mark its 30th anniversary this year with an ambitious spring season featuring 37 productions in three months, including a festival that will showcase 30 new works by 30 different UK and international playwrights.

The spring season opens, from 30 March to 24 April 2010, with the London premiere of The Notebook of Trigorin, Tennessee Williams’ ‘free adaptation’ of Chekhov’s The Seagull. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Anton Chekhov, the production is complemented by Three Seagulls, a series of staged readings which will run on consecutive Saturdays from 10 to 24 April.

The Northerners, a rarely-seen 1914 drama by Harold Brighouse (best known for Hobson’s Choice), will run on Sundays and Mondays from 4 to 19 April, marking the play's London premiere.

The focus then turns to South Africa, with former Academy Award nominee Janet Suzman leading the cast in Craig Higginson’s Dream of the Dog (27 April to 22 May), an acclaimed South African play making its European debut. It runs concurrently with Jack Klaff's  Nagging Doubt, revived to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Sharpevillle Massacre and the centenary of the Union of South Africa, running on Sundays and Mondays from 2-17 May.

Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, artistic director Neil McPherson said: "The idea of the Spring Season is to continue our normal artistic policy of new writing, both from the UK and overseas, and the rediscovery of unfairly neglected work from the 19th and 20th centuries. We maintain a rule that wherever possible none of our productions will have been seen in London anywhere in the last 25 years to ensure that we are always doing something a little bit different."

30 Premieres for 30 Years

The spring season culminates with Vibrant 2010 – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights (25 May-19 June 2010), which includes staged readings of new work from some of the big-name writers nurtured by the venue, including Naomi Wallace, Brian Logan, James Graham, Chris Dunkley and Bekah Brunstetter (full details are still to be announced).

The 'focal point' of the festival will be the world premiere of the Finborough’s current playwright-in-residence James Graham’s The Man, “a blackly comic and uniquely interactive storytelling event with a different actor, telling a story in a different order, selected at random, every single night.”

Despite remaining completely unfunded, the Finborough has developed a strong reputation for discovering new writing talent since it was founded by June Abbott above the Finborough Arms pub in 1980. Under current artistic director Neil McPherson, it has nurtured playwrights including Laura Wade, James Graham, Mike Bartlett, Sarah Grochala, Jack Thorne, Joy Wilkinson, Simon Vinnicombe, Alexandra Wood, Al Smith, Nicholas de Jongh and Anders Lustgarten.

Speaking about the Vibrant festival, McPherson said: "I thought it would be a bit dull and obvious to just revive all our old successes from the last 30 years like Shopping and Fucking, and we wanted to find a way to look forward while also acknowledging where we have come from, so we're asking the many playwrights who started their careers at the Finborough to return with a brand new play."

- by Theo Bosanquet & Alex Mangini


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