Watch Now: Finborough stages controversial LGBT drama for online audiences

Here’s an interesting and controversial first-time revival which comes appropriately during LGBTQ Pride month, available free online, as a benefit for an LGBTQ charity.

The Finborough brings us the first opportunity in over thirty years to see a staged reading of the play LEATHER by Peter-Scott Presland. It will be livestreamed, and then available on demand.

“I loathe violence. I don’t understand how people can inflict it on each other voluntarily.”
“Nobody knows what they’re truly capable of. Isn’t it better to use it in play-acting than keep it under some hatch which is bound to blow anyway one day?”

Phil befriends Gordon, a rape survivor, and they become lovers.

But Gordon finds himself drawn to Phil’s best friend, Terry, who is into heavy sadomasochism…

Following its hugely controversial run at the Finborough Theatre in 1990, Homo Promos presents this Zoom staged reading of Peter-Scott Presland’s LEATHER.

The reading was live streamed on Tuesday, 15 June at 7.00pm, and will then be available from Tuesday, 22 June to Tuesday, 20 July 2021 on the Finborough Theatre’s YouTube channel, and concurrently with subtitles on Scenesaver.

Please note that the play is suitable for adults only.

A brave and groundbreaking play about gay domestic abuse, redolent of pain and violence in all its forms, consensual and non-consensual, as physical abuse is paralleled by mental control, and the erosion of any sense of worth.

Two members of the original cast, Matthew Hodson and Keith Bursnall, will be appearing in the Zoom reading, with the author, Peter Scott-Presland, present. The Zoom reading will be followed by a chance to discuss the issues involved with the cast and author.

The most controversial play Homo Promos ever produced, and the one which people keep asking to see again. It played to packed houses at the Finborough Theatre, despite an attempt by Whitbread, the brewery that owned the Finborough Arms building at the time, to close it. Section 28, preventing the ‘promotion of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’ was also waved at the company.

Male rape was first highlighted by newspaper Capital Gay in two 4-page centre spreads after Heaven nightclub used a rape scene as its Halloween ‘entertainment’ in 1981. Author of LEATHER, Peter-Scott Presland was one of the journalists who worked on that exposé, and the experience fed into the writing of the play which was completed in 1987, although it took three years to get a company together to stage it. When it was performed it was the first play to deal with the subject within the gay community. Many objected violently to any suggestion that it was a common occurrence. Nowadays male rape and domestic abuse is acknowledged as a major stain on LGBTQ+ life: the latest statistics suggest 18% of gay men have suffered it at some time.

There are now several charities which work to support male survivors of abuse and violence. This Zoom reading is a benefit for Stay Brave, a volunteer-led charity providing support and advice to survivors.

To donate, please go Stay Brave website here

Watch LEATHER here


Watch MR THEATRE COMES HOME DIFFERENT this weekend on paus


 'Mr Theatre Comes Home Different' exclusive Bank Holiday screening event image

This weekend you have a 48-hour chance to watch MR THEATRE COMES HOME DIFFERENT by Pulitzer-nominated playwright, Will Eno. This film has been made to raise money for the Theatre Artists Fund. Only available on paus.

‘Give yourselves a big hand. You were lovely.’

Filmed over two days on the main stage of the Lyric Hammersmith London in May 2021, Mr Theatre is a mercurial, bitter-sweet rhapsody on the nature of performance. A funny and moving glimpse behind the safety curtain. Witness the love scene, the storm scene, the inevitable death scene and remember, it’s all only pretend.

Mr Theatre Comes Home Different celebrates all those who work in the theatre – who have been unable to work since March 2020 – and has been made in support of the Theatre Artists Fund.

Will Eno, a Pulitzer-nominated playwright, has adapted his original monologue for twelve actors.

The cast features actors from all across the industry including, Samantha Womack (Eastenders, Kingsman, Silent Witness), Shelley King (Coronation Street), Milo Twomey (A Discovery of Witches), Jonathan Livingstone (Pls Like, The Witches, Chewing Gum), Saffron Coomber (Small Axe, Strike), Charlotte Arrowsmith (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Jenna Boyd (Come From Away).

The streaming will be available from Sat, 29 May at 7.00pm – Mon, 31 May at 10.00pm BST

The film is free to attend and stream, but if you like what you watch, you can show your appreciation for the project by leaving a tip. 100% of tips received by the filmmaker will be given straight to the Theatre Artists Fund, supporting freelancers in theatre who have been unable to work due to the pandemic. Thanks in advance for all your support.

To register for the event, click here

More information about paus here:


 'Mr Theatre Comes Home Different' exclusive Bank Holiday screening event image

In order to watch and support thisfilm, you have to sign up to paus on either the desktop platform or download our iOS / Android app.

To check out more amazing films on our platform visit watch.paus.tv

Download our iOS app here

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 'Mr Theatre Comes Home Different' exclusive Bank Holiday screening event image

Sir David Hare in conversation in free event

Next Tuesday 20th April at 2pm Eastern Time, 6 pm UK time, the ever-eloquent and much-respected writer Sir David Hare will be in conversation, in an event organised and hosted by the National Arts Club of America.

Described by The Washington Post as “the premiere political dramatist writing in English”, he has written over 30 stage plays & 30 screenplays for film & TV.

His plays include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss, The Red Barn and The Moderate Soprano. For cinema, he has written The Hours, The Reader, Damage, Denial, Wetherby, and The White Crow, among others, while his television films include Licking Hitler, The Worricker Trilogy, Collateral, and Roadkill.

In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top 100 were Hare’s.

Like Judi Dench, Richard Eyre, and Ian McKellen, three of our recent guests on NAC @ Home, Sir David is a recipient of the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts. It was in the Broadway production of Amy’s View, written by Sir David and directed by Sir Richard, that Dame Judi won the 1999 Tony Award for her stellar role as Esme. And filmgoers will recall a brilliant performance by Sir Ian (in a powerful scene with Meryl Streep) in the cinematic version of Sir David’s Plenty.

The NAC invites you to join them for a wide-ranging dialogue, hosted by NAC Member John F. Andrews, president and founder of the Shakespeare Guild.

The event is planned to last one hour and tickets can be obtained through this link here (subject to availability). Although tickets are free, a donation is requested to go towards the NAC’s support of young artists.

The NAC says: “Please help us support artists. By making a donation with your registration, you contribute directly to the NAC Artist Fellows program, helping to further the careers of up-and-coming artists.”

Founded in 1898, the mission of The National Arts Club is to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.

This program will be hosted via Zoom. Registrants will receive additional details after registration.


Watch Donmar’s ASSEMBLY online for a limited period

After its live debut on Saturday 20th March, the Donmar’s ASSEMBLY is now available online for a while through their YouTube channel.

Imagine the future. However you choose to imagine it. Now imagine it in your hands.
What does community mean in a time of division and separation?
Mixing live performance, animation and sound, ASSEMBLY looks at the impact of humans on nature and what we might build together for a better future. It’s about trying, failing, and trying again. In times of emergency, it is about hope.

Created by writer Nina Segal (In the Nighttime (Before the Sun Rises), Gate), director Joseph Hancock ((This Isn’t) A True Story, Almeida Young Company) and the Donmar Local Company, ASSEMBLY is a live digital performance created in collaboration with video designer and director of photography Andrzej Goulding (Teenage Dick, Donmar), set and costume designer Frankie Bradshaw (Sweat, Donmar and West End), composer and sound designer Max Pappenheim (The Way of the World, Donmar) and lighting designer Sam House (#HashtagLightie, Arcola). This is the first production from the Donmar Local Company – members of the community who live and work in the Donmar’s home boroughs of Camden and Westminster.

The running time is approximately one hour.
An audio introduction is available to listen to or download from the VocalEyes website and a captioned version will also be available.
ASSEMBLY is presented in line with all current Government guidelines.

The Domnar says: “Although this production is free to watch, if you are able to, please consider how you can support us at this time to ensure we can reopen in the best possible shape when it’s safe do so, while continuing to safeguard our staff and artists, and share our art form digitally in the meantime.

You can make a donation online or over the phone by calling us on +44 (0)20 7845 5815, join as a Friend, or text using the details below. You can also donate via YouTube giving when you watch the production.

Text DONMAR 5 to 70470 to donate £5
Text DONMAR 10 to 70470 to donate £10
Text DONMAR 20 to 70470 to donate £20

UK networks only. Texts cost your donation amount plus one standard rate message.”

Watch ASSEMBLY here.


One Year On. #March16th

Well, here we all are at an anniversary we never thought we’d see. One year ago today, the bustling West End, together with most theatres across the UK, still shell-shocked from the advice given by authorities, and with no firm government instruction, found themselves reluctantly turning customers away and closing their doors, with no return in sight.

With everyone wanting to get their tuppence worth in on this topic, I thought I’d spare you my ruminations which in essence won’t be that dissimilar to other, more informed sources, and instead give my space over to SOLT/UK Theatre, who have done far more than most to keep theatre alive.

“A year ago, on 16 March 2020, theatres across the country closed their doors due to the pandemic. 

Today, survey results collected by Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre from across the theatre sector paint a picture of an industry that has struggled to survive the past 12 months and faced huge financial strain – but remains resilient and adaptable.

The survey was completed by 944 theatre venues, venue groups, non-venue theatre businesses and individual theatre freelancers.

Over 95% of surveyed theatre organisations around the UK reported being worse off because of Covid. 53 of the 186 theatre organisations answering a question about financial loss due to Covid reported a loss of over £1m each – this includes 16 organisations who have lost over £5m each. The total loss of those 165 organisations able to provide figures is estimated at nearly £200m so far.

The survey also reveals that many of the highly skilled freelance theatre workforce have been forced to take alternative jobs during the pandemic, or even leave the sector altogether. One in four of the freelancers surveyed said they had gone out of business or ceased trading due to Covid. 270 alternative roles were sought within performing arts, and 456 outside the industry.

Almost a third of theatre venue respondents said they have had plans to create an outdoor performance space due to Covid – despite the fact that the majority (61%) will operate at a loss. Almost half are developing a revenue-generating digital space or product.

For England-based theatre organisations, 60% are planning to restart trading from 17 May (Step 3 of the Government Roadmap), and 83% said they would resume from 21 June (Roadmap Step 4).

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said:

‘At that fateful moment a year ago when we were forced to close theatres, we could never have imagined that venues would remain closed today. It has been a year of incredible challenges, and would have been even bleaker were it not for Government support schemes including the Cultural Recovery Fund, furlough and SEISS. 

‘It has also been a year in which we have truly witnessed the resilience, creativity and community-mindedness of theatre, from digital innovations allowing streamed productions to reach a global audience, to theatres creating educational and wellbeing resources, and venues offering themselves as vaccine centres or hosting pioneering scientific research on measures to prevent Covid spread.

‘We look forward to continuing to work closely with Government and industry partners, welcoming audiences safely back into theatres and playing a part in the national economic and social recovery.’ 

Despite the recent Government roadmap and Budget announcements, thousands of freelancers in the theatre industry are in crisis right now, and face weeks and months of uncertainty before theatres can fully reopen.

To mark 16 March, a host of famous faces are joining colleagues from across the theatre industry today in highlighting the plight of freelancers and raising awareness for the Theatre Artists Fund, using the social media hashtags #16March, #TheatreArtistsFund and #FirstInLastOut – referencing the fact that theatre workers were first into lockdown and will be among the last to return to work. 

Created last July by director Sam Mendes, SOLT and UK Theatre, the Theatre Artists Fund provides emergency financial aid to the freelancers who make up an estimated 70% of the theatre sector. Eligible freelancers in need can apply for an individual grant of £1000 to help pay bills and put food on the table. The latest round of grant applications has opened today (16 March) and will close on 30 March. Full details of eligibility and how to apply are available on the Theatre Artists Fund website.

Sam Mendes, director and co-founder of the Theatre Artists Fund, said: 

‘The immense level of support for the #16March Theatre Artists Fund campaign illustrates that while theatres may be closed, the spirit of the theatre community is well and truly alive. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the campaign, and all those who have shown their fantastic support for the Fund. It has helped enable fellow members of our community stay afloat during these extremely difficult times.’

Those who have lent their support to the #16March campaign include Joe Alwyn, Ellie Bamber, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville, Michaela Coel, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anne-Marie Duff, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfie Enoch, Michael Fassbender, Claire Foy, Hugh Jackman, Ruth Madeley, Ian McKellen, Liam Neeson, James Norton, Sophie Okonedo, Weruche Opia, Andi Osho, Elaine Paige, Maxine Peake, Simon Pegg, Eddie Redmayne, Imelda Staunton, Juliet Stevenson, Mark Strong, David Walliams, Harriet Walter, Zoë Wanamaker, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams, Ruth Wilson and Kate Winslet.”

To donate £5, £10 or £20 to the Theatre Artists Fund, text THEATREFUND followed by the amount you wish to help with. You can also donate at www.theatreartists.fund. This is also where artists themselves can apply for support from the fund, which has reopened today. (Texts cost one standard message cost plus the amount you have chosen to donate)/

Thank You!