ETPEP Award 2021 submissions close April 30th

If you’re a theatre professional (or know one) who wants to spread their wings as a playwright, the Finborough Theatre has announced the opening of the 2021 ETPEP Award. ETPEP stands for Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting and, as its name suggests, is not an award for playwrights. It is an award for those who work in theatre IN SOME OTHER capacity who also write plays.

The ETPEP Award 2021 is a playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work or have worked in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP). The competition is open to new playwrights who have previously worked in theatre in another capacity for a minimum of two years.

The organisers said “We are looking for promising writers, rather than projects specifically targeted for production. The winner will be given the chance to develop and present their work in a supportive environment.”

The Award is open for submissions until 11pm on Friday, 30 April 2021.

The winner will receive:

The winner will receive a prize of £6,000.
(£3000 will be presented on the announcement of the winner, and the remaining £3000 will be presented at the conclusion of the staged reading performance).
A development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson.
A rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play.
Pandemic permitting, either a staged reading performance of the winning play at the Finborough Theatre, London, or a rehearsed reading online.
Publication of the winning play by Salamander Street, independent publisher of theatre, performance and live art.
There will also be ten runner-up prizes of £300 each.

For more information, click here

Your support of at-risk UK theatres smashes fundraising targets

With the enforced closures brought about by last March’s Covid-19 pandemic, theatres across the UK found themselves out on a limb. Unable to welcome the public to present shows, theatres (and those working in, around and with them) found that they had to think creatively to support their local communities, work to produce online alternatives and generally completely reinvent the way they operated. For some it was easier than others. But for smaller theatres particularly, the box office income was their lifeblood. Their already delicately-balanced finances and small, often underpaid, often volunteer teams were decimated by a lack of Arts Council funding support. Over six months later, the majority of the UK’s large and mid-sized venues and organisation finally received some cash. But hundreds of theatre and organisations were left out in the cold.

Ignored by government, they did the only thing they could – they turned to their audiences. Supported by organisations like The Theatres Trust and Crowdfunder, they set up funding appeals to their audiences and the general UK public. In essence they asked all of us to support them – or lose them.

The Theatres Trust set up their own #SaveOurTheatres campaign, where donors can give to a central pot distributed to theatres most in need.

But they also brought together 60 individual fundraising campaigns from theatres and arts venues to make it easy for donors could look for the venue nearest to them and help to keep them going.

And the great British public certainly came through! At the close of the year many fundraisers had smashed their targets and reached even more ambitious stretch targets.

To date, almost 23,000 supporters have contributed over £1.6 million (including Gift Aid’s tax scheme).

Here’s just one example – my oft-mentioned favourite the tiny Finborough Theatre in West London. This tiny, 50-seat room above a pub runs on a shoestring and still produces work which is world-class. Their fundraiser campaign’s initial target was £25,000 but thanks to a very generous matching funds pledge, as of today they have smashed that target and raised over £35,000 (when Gift Aid is factored in).

These individual and collective appeals, originally due to close at the end of December, are carrying on so that all of us still have a chance to support your local theatres as they – like us, face an uncertain immediate future.

It’s incredible to witness the love and support the public are showing – but we cannot afford to let up in our support for them- we can’t have come all this way to stop the support too early and revive the risk of loss yet again.

So if you haven’t yet supported, or even if you have, please see if you can spare a few quid to help keep our small, local theatres going. Because when this is over we will need them even more!

You can find the details of the Theatres Trust campaign featuring all 60 local campaigns, here

The Finborough Theatre’s SCROUNGER

Available now is Athena Stevens’ fascinating play SCROUNGER, available to view until the end of January 17th.

The first production of the Finborough Theatre’s 40th anniversary year, the world premiere of Finborough Theatre Playwright in Residence and Olivier Award nominee Athena Stevens’s new play SCROUNGER is a head-on look at the issues around disability, not for the faint-hearted.

On the streets of Elephant and Castle, everyone likes to make speculations about Scrounger. She needs help, she must not be aware of the complexities of the world, she is sent from the demons to torture her mum… at least according to her Nigerian Uber driver.

Scrounger doesn’t care. A successful online personality, she’s got more power from her bedroom than anyone on the Southwark estates could dream of. She’s educated, she’s ballsy, and with a huge network of online allies, Scrounger is a woman who knows how to make change happen.

That is, until an airline destroys her wheelchair.

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Stevens herself, SCROUNGER drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.

You can read my three and a half-star review of SCROUNGER here

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.


David Bowie’s LAZARUS available online from 8 -10 January (paid event)

A filmed performance from the London run of David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s LAZARUS, starring Michael C. Hall and Beetlejuice star Sophia Anne Caruso, will stream on January 8-10, to mark both Bowie’s birthday – and the fifth anniversary of his death. The film will be available for three showings only in multiple time zones, and tickets cost from £16.


Producers Robert Fox and RZO Entertainment Inc are making available the London production of LAZARUS, captured live on stage in 2016.

Inspired by the book, The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis (“The Queen’s Gambit”), Lazarus focuses on Thomas Newton as he remains still on Earth – a man unable to die, his head soaked in cheap gin and haunted by a past love. We follow Newton over the course of a few days where the arrival of another lost soul might finally set him free.

LAZARUS includes songs from Bowie’s iconic catalogue as well as brand-new music written for the stage.

Michael C Hall (“Dexter”, “Six Feet Under”) stars as Newton, the character famously portrayed by David Bowie in the 1976 screen adaptation of The Man Who Fell To Earth directed by Nicolas Roeg. LAZARUS co-stars Sophia Anne Caruso (“Beetlejuice” on Broadway) and the production is directed by Ivo van Hove (“All About Eve”, “Network” and “A View From The Bridge”).

LAZARUS broke box office records when it played a strictly limited, sold-out run in New York in 2015. The production then moved to the King’s Cross Theatre in 2016 where it played a sold-out 13-week run.

This live-streamed event will be available for three performances only in multiple time zones (GMT, AEDT, EST, PST) from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 January 2021. In the UK the shows will start at 7.00pm GMT on 8 and 9 January, and at 3.00pm GMT on 10 January.

Additional donations are encouraged and will be shared between two charities – Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians.

You can find tickets for the event here – for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Full details on how to access the show will be available in the DICE app and sent by email 30 minutes before the stream is due to start. For a full list of FAQs please visit the following link: