‘’Fabric has had some amazing nights man, some historical nights in that place. From all the genres that England has created to all of the sub genres and all of the people that have come here’’  Goldie

nabokov are celebrating UK nightlife in a new show they are producing. As part of the projects’ research phase, nabokov are conducting interviews and collecting people's experiences of clubbing and raving starting with super club Fabric from when it opened its doors in 1999 until present day.

50% of nightclubs clubs and 40% of music venues in London, in the last 10 years have closed. The increasing loss of London's nightlife, is a result of the pervading gentrification of buildings where dance club culture thrived. nabokov will document and celebrate the past and present homes of London’s nightlife through sharing stories; before these buildings no longer exist.

nabokov is collecting your stories until the 7th January and we want to hear from ravers, punters, djs, bar staff, taxi drivers, neighbours of nightclubs and people who work or worked in and around Fabric. These stories will form the foundation of the new British music theatre production.

nabokov can’t do this alone we need your stories.

Do you have a story about Fabric? If yes. We want to hear from you!

How to get involved?

Share your stories of clubbing and raving by

Tweeting @nabokovtheatre your pictures and stories #MyFabricNights #ClubbingChronicles

Upload a photo to Instagram that was taken on a night out and write about your story in the caption and tag @nabokovtheatre #MyFabricNights #ClubbingChronicles

If you would like to share your story anonymously please email

Or you can send us a voice note on whatsapp to: 07538729918

You could start by telling us where you are from, how old you are and when was the first time you went to Fabric Nightclub .

  • Do you remember your first and/or last time?

  • Do you have any other memorable experiences, anecdotes and/or stories of nights out at Fabric? Is there a tune that sums up this story?

For anyone who would love to share more:

  • When did you start raving? And to what music?

  • What first attracted you to clubbing? What - if anything, beyond just having a good night out - did it represent to you?

  • Who did/do you rave with? How did your crew form? And how has it changed over time?

  • Where did/do you travel from? And how?

  • Did/Do you have any spots that you usually headed/head to afterwards?

  • How did/do you usually find your way home?

  • What did/does raving mean to you? Is it a question of identity and/or community - or something else?

  • How has clubbing culture changed for you over time - sounds, dancing, people, dress, drinking, behaviour, anything? And how have your own habits shifted?

  • Do you have any, photos, videos, records, flyers, posters from Fabric that you would like to share with us?


Stef O’Driscoll - Director

Stef O'Driscoll is the director of the UK G gig theatre production With a Little Bit of Luck (Roundhouse, London) which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2018. Stef is a leading innovator in British theatre

“Creates an alternative experience for people who don’t think theatre is for them”                    -The Stage. 

Stef is the Artistic Director of nabokov and was the Associate Director at Paines Plough and at the Lyric Hammersmith.  Stef’s directing credits include Last Night (Roundhouse/Latitude) Box Clever (Marlowe Theatre/Roundabout), Storytelling Army (Brighton Festival) and Slug. Whilst working at Paines Plough Stef directed Sticks and Stones, Island Town, With A Little Bit Of Luck, Hopelessly Devoted and Blister.  Other credits include Yard Gal (Oval House) which won the Fringe Report Awards for Best Fringe Production in 2009. A Tale From The Bedsit (Roundhouse/Bestival), Finding Home (Roundhouse) As Co Director:  A Midsummer Nights Dream (Lyric Hammersmith)/Filter) and as Assistant Director: Henry IV (Donmar/St Anne’s Warehouse) Blasted (Lyric Hammersmith).

Omar El-Khairy - Playwright

Omar is a writer for stage and screen and is member of the 2017/18 cohort of the Old Vic 12 and a former Leverhulme Associate Playwright at the Bush Theatre.

Omars credits include Sour Lips (Ovalhouse, 2013) which was published by Oberon, Miles (2016), Straight (2016) at the Paines Plough and Gate Theatre, Champagne and Low Fades (2016) at the Lattitude Festival and Homegrown (2015) which was commissioned by the National Youth Theatre. Lyn Gardner described Homegrown as “gloriously authentic, snapping and crackling with the sense of young people”. Omar was a part of the T.S. Eliot US / UK Writer Exchange as a member of the Old Vic New Voices, and the play was presented at The Public Theatre in New York (USA) in 2010.

Homo Sacer was presented at the Old Vic as part of the Old Vic 12 .

His first short film No Exit received its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival and screened both nationally and internationally. He has written an original drama, The Invited, for TV, and is working on a feature film.

Omar also holds a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

For all enquiries please contact  


Box Clever at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017

nabokov and The Marlowe Present BOX CLEVER by Monsay Whitney

We're so hyped to be working with our friends The Marlowe to bring BOX CLEVER by the incredibly Monsay Whitney to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this Summer! We're at our favourite Edinburgh Venue, Roundabout @ Summerhall every day (except Tuesdays) from the 4th - 27th at 16:40.

“Ever get the feeling you’re going round in one big circle? Ten years. Back and forth between a trio of arseholes and nothing to show for it except a baby, an Argos ring and a busted nose. At the refuge they call that a pattern.”

Moving, truthful and darkly comic, Box Clever by nabokov’s associate-playwright Monsay Whitney, with music performed by Avi Simmons, is a new play about one woman’s experience of a refuge and a mother’s commitment to do the best for her daughter.

You can grab your tickets here and don't forget Monday 7th August is 2 for 1 tickets!

"Monsay Whitney has the potential to become a startling and significant figure in British theatre."

Simon Stephens (A Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time)

MAD LOVE at Metal Culture

We recently worked with the BRILLIANT Metal Culture in Southend to develop some ideas for a new show MAD LOVE with writer Vickie Donoghue. We asked Tara Hodge, one of the performers we worked with, to write about the week.


"Earlier this year, I travelled down to Chalkwell with the nabokov ladies Stef & Liz, the wonderful actress Lynne Clarke and our amazing writer Vickie Donoghue. We stayed at Metal Culture, an amazing artistic laboratory working on the read and development of a new play MAD LOVE.

I play Kara, a vulnerable young girl in and out of prison, she’s had a troubled upbringing with very little stability and support. With no real friends the only reliable people in her life are her dear old nan and mad dog Sid. Kara’s clearly following in her Mother's footsteps, following the same path of self destruction and torment. With bad being all she knows, she reaches breaking point, her nan barks but Kara, she bites!

Working with the ladies gave me so much wisdom and inspiration for the week, we were surrounded by chalk board walls, beautiful sea front views and a fresh and vibrant space to develop this piece. We worked on understanding the characters, storyboarding their lives to understand their personalities and the reasons behind certain lines.


I love this process and, as dark as it sounds, I like delving into Kara's troubled past. It enables me to enhance my performance on stage using these thoughts as emotional triggers. We shared relatable experiences and stories to make these characters as real as possible. Lynne plays Nan, and we spent lots of time bonding, cooking, cleaning and overall just sharing our life experiences!

At the end of the week we performed what we'd been working on to to a small audience, it’s always good to get people's feedback. Just when you think after a solid week you’ve semi nailed your script and you haven’t! That's is the beauty of a research and development period, working together exploring what works and sometimes what doesn't work too. By the end I was so emotionally connected with my lines that I screamed, cried, got frustrated, laughed, joked, danced, sang. I drained myself, but in that good, vibrant and uplifting way, I felt that connection with Kara as a character.


Stef, the Director, has you on your toes, pushing you to get the best out of you, the play and all cracks in between. To help you to have a better understanding, broaden your way of thinking and literally smash it in all that you do! I have always gotta give thanks for the encouragement and opportunities!

I’m a firm believer in the saying

“Proper preparation prevents poor performance” and look forward to what the future has in store for Mad Love!

Twitter: @HodgeTaraInstagram: @HodgeTar


With Bestival and Sun and Bass closing the festival season the weekend just gone Summer is officially over! But have no fear, with the current climate epidemic, we are due to have some freakish hot weather say mid October/November plus nabokov are staying true to our Latitude pledge of bringing the summer festival vibe into our everyday lives starting with wearing glitter all the time! Glitter is not just for festivals people. Post Latitude Festival over Summer every weekend there seemed to be something glorious happening that was free and good vibes. Artistic Director Stef O’Driscoll fell in love many times over and here are her Summer highlights.


nabokov brought REFORMATION NATION to the NT River Front stage as part of the Latitude Festival takeover weekend.   

As soon as Dj Sweetpea and Deefa Mc got going and the sounds of drum and bass graced the Southbank, a dancefloor for all ages was formed. With no inhibitions the two year olds started to dance in the sunshine and their parents soon followed as the crowd began expressing their politics with homemade protest sign bearing slogans such as POWER TO THE PEOPLE, MAKE ART NOT WAR and BOOKS NOT BOMBS.

A beautiful sight!

REFORMATION NATION was our experiment of how can you rave and engage with politics.

Alongside Deefa MC’s politically conscious bars some brave spoken word artists, Sabrina Mahfouz and Jemima Foxtrot, joined us to rework their political poems fusing them with the sounds of Dj Sweetpea.

We commissioned three playwrights (Luke Barnes, Omar El-Khairy and Monsay Whitney) to also respond to the brief and some invisible theatre, a social experiment, was created.

  • How do the audience respond to a girl (Joana Nastari) who is rolling through from the night before trying to engage whoever will listen to her politics on the social housing crisis?
  • How does the audience react to a tipsy, white northern lad, Derek (Mark Newsome), asking for the mic so he can express his truth about his shitty,  zero hour job with a poem?
  • How does the audience react to a young black male (Cory Hippolyte) not feeling Derek’s poem and grabbing the mic to save the vibe only to be removed by security. Do they see the injustice? Do they respond? Do they act?

When Cory was removed at least 10 people rushed to defend him. The audience felt protective of him and the basic human right of freedom of speech, which gave me a good deal of hope that us humans are capable of standing up for what we believe in.

REFORMATION NATION was rounded off with an impromptu live PA from Hannah Eve. We were blessed to have her in the crowd and the finally was a poignant and charged performance from Benin City with a track reminding us of the incessant gentrification of London.

All of this was FREEEEEEE!

I feel in love with seeing an audience I have never seen before (unless you walk 100 metres to where the skaters and graffiti artist hangout) on the doorstep of the National Theatre engaging with Sabrina's Mahfouz story of UKG SUMMER 2001 LONDON RAVING! At one point did I hear a laughing gas canister being cracked?

We need to keep finding new ways to engage new audiences with theatre and stories! National Theatre, how do we now get that audience IN your building?


Another weekend and London just keeps giving, the sun was shining and the people gathered again along the southbank for a schooling in the history of hip hop. Serious vibes were had overlooking the Thames as The Doctors Orders took us through 70s soul breaks through 80s rap and 90s Boom Bap, right up to today’s trap bangers with live appearances from Jehst, Cappo, Black Twang and Fliptrix. All this was for FREE. VIBES SO MANY VIBES! VIBES FOR DAAAAYZ.


I then had a brief love affair with Edinburgh....

Just a quick one. The town was buzzing, brimming with people baring their souls and telling their stories the only way they knew how. Lush. The top three shows that really got me thinking and inspired to make work were...

Middle Child's TEN STOREY LOVE SONG by Luke Barnes. It was mint. Yes to playing with the form of gig theatre, yes to putting working class stories with a social political conscious at the forefront of their work. Just yes yes yes. We are proper excited by these guys. Roll on 2017 they have some epic plans brewing.

COUNTING SHEEP A Guerilla Folk Opera - Yes to the immersive political experience where as an active participant you are forced to feel and experience the injustice. The Ukrainian politics and the truth of the situation was strengthened by actual real footage from protests and news coverage supporting the story being sung, danced and protested. So much food for thought for upcoming nabokov projects.  

Lucy McCormick’s TRIPLE THREAT  - I am slightly in love with this woman. She is a G. She had me at singing her opening number into a dildo. She is bound to have a run at Soho Theatre London. You must see this!


A big thank you to Auld Jock’s Pie Shoppe. I love your pies. Liz loves your pies. nabokov loves your pies! You have had a refurb but the pies are the same.

and finally, thank you POLLYANNA’S. Where were you all the other Edinburgh Fringes? This was the party place to be this year. The intimate space was heaving every night with Edinburgh’s finest late night cabaret acts embracing the alternative, the queer, the messy, the sweaty, the political, the glittery and the glitzy. At the closing night, I fell in love again this time with Drag King johnsmith. What a G!


Fresh off the plane from Scotland, I felt guilty for cheating on London so I had to make up for it by dancing my heart out in the streets of London for Carnival. Big up the People’s Sounds system on All Saints road for bringing the vibes.


Carnival gets so much bad press in fact so does anything that allows people to express themselves, come together and rave, to let go and be free. Do one media!

With the recent devastating news of Fabric night club’s closure, what is left of our London raving culture?

Since Fabric opened in 1999 there have been 6 unfortunate accidental deaths but let’s put that in perspective during the same time period 108 people died being held in custody by the Metropolitan Police. London has lost half of it’s clubs and 40% of its music venues in the last 8 years. The true reason for its closure is, once again, for capitalist gain!

We have got to do something! Campaign time it is! Keep an eye out on the fabric website for how you can be useful and email if you would like more information on how you can help.



And to round off our beautiful Summer, we got back in the crew van and took our production of SLUG to the Gundog pub in Halifax as part of Halifax’s Square Chapel Open Rooms Programme. A great programme designed to engage new audiences by taking theatre, music and film into non theatre spaces. WIth local homegrown talent joining us on the music bill we brought gig theatre to the Halifax locals. The audience was a mixture of old boys sipping their Friday night ale, young people on a night out and hardcore Bellatrix fans.

With exclaims of “did they really just say that?” and ‘“that was genius, you will never see that again in Halifax,” we fell in love with the West Yorkshire locals and most definitely with how cheap a round was.

Next stop is Sheffield as we take SLUG to Theatre Deli The Moor on the 1st October! 

Glittery Glory and rave at The National with us


We have only just recovered from Latitude! The sunshine was glorious, we swam in lakes, we raved, we cried, I mean Submotion Orchestra and Roots Manuva were emotional! There is probably now a glitter shortage in the UK that nabokov are solely responsible for. Good times.


I would class myself and Liz as festival pros, we even wrote a pre festival blog with our top tips! However, we made some school girl errors this year that meant we spent last week bed bound with sunstroke and food poisoning that was actually passed on from another human being. Sexy. I think next year we will be adding a bucket hat and better antibacterial gel to our top tips. Oh and drink ALL the water, ALL OF IT!

We want to say a massive thank you to LATITUDE for having us and big up everyone who came down and supported the debut performance of SLUG. The girl band, punk ass energy rocked the Little House on Friday night and we can't wait to develop the show.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.08.22
Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.08.22

We're hyped to be part of the Latitude Festival line-up, on The River Stage outside The National Theatre on Saturday 6th August.  Unfortunately, SLUG will no longer be appearing on the bill - we realised that the explicit sexual content is not entirely suitable pre-watershed in an outdoor public space, and for us, it’s important that artistically, the show stays intact so we've decided to focus our energies on forthcoming gigs in Halifax (Gundog Pub, Square Chapel) and Sheffield (The Moor, Theatre Delicatessen) later this year, with lots more to come from the Slugettes in 2017. BOOM!

Instead, we're are hyped to be presenting REFORMATION NATION.

In this current, political time we are experiencing it is vital we have a place to express our politics, so join us outside the Nation’s theatrical home for this perfect opportunity to RAVE on the Southbank and UNITE to the sounds of Dj Sweetpea! Hosted Deefa MC alongside some of theatres and spoken words important voices including Luke Barnes, Benin City, Omar El -Khairy, Jemima Foxtrot, Sabrina Mahfouz, TEAfilms and Monsay Whitney.


`This event is completely FREE, so at 7.10pm bring your protest signs (Personal favourite from Latitude was GLITTER MAKES YOU FITTER) and a few tinnies and we will see you on the dance floor.

Letting loose and getting down is being part of something, it's justice.

Who knows who else might roll through and grab the mic? More artists to be added to the bill so watch this space.Stef x

Slug, Reformation National and our Festival Top Tips!

When we (Stef and Liz) took over as Artistic Director and Producer of nabokov in January we wanted to start making work right away to put our artistic aims into action. With a dream team list of artists that we’d wanted to work with, we set about making SLUG, an explosive collaboration of some of the most exciting artists around. NAB 4.1

Slug debuts at Latitude Festival 2016 on Friday 15th July at 11.15pm in the Little House

SLUG is GIG THEATRE written by the incredible Sabrina Mahfouz, SLUG has original music composed and performed by Bellatrix, Video design by our associate artist Tea Films, is performed by Grace Savage and Jade Anouka, and on percussion, the brilliant Caragh Campbell. The process has been unique and exciting - with all artists in the room to collaborate, generate ideas, music and text from the start. HYPED!

SLUG is debuting at Latitude Festival when nabokov will take over the Little House on Friday 15th for a whole evening through to early morning of music, theatre and of course, raving!

As we gear up to Latitude we discovered that our assistant director Julia and Production Manager Saatvika have never camped at a festival before so we asked the rest of the team what are their top festival tips.

Bellatrix, SLUGS musical composer and director says long socks, rain mac, hot weather outfit, freezing weather outfit and earplugs. However, her biggest tip ever for those women unfortunate enough to be on their period at a festival is a Mooncup. There is no need to change a tampon every time you go to the toilet and you can keep it in up to 8 hours.  It is cheaper and more environmentally friendly and you can receive oral sex and the giver would be none the wiser! Boom!

Jade Anouka (SLUG performer) swears by a portable charger and a Shewee, so the ladies don't have to cue for the toilets and can enjoy the novelty of pissing standing up. Oh and a bumbag big enough to fit your portable charger and Shewee in. First time Shewee user please note that the more drunk you are the more likely you are to piss on yourself when testing out this device. Sabrina Mahfouz (SLUG Playwright)  would love to know a rich friend with a nearby cottage! In lieu of that alcohol and wellies are her essentials.  

TEAfilms (Video Design) suggest a tent, eye mask, flag to mark your territory and so your mates can find you, toilet roll, an oldskool nokia whose battery lasts an eternity so you don’t have to worry about charging your phone and a bag of wine that can double up as a pillow.

Liz has got all excited with her head torch purchase. Think about it, WHATEVER DIRECTION YOU LOOK IN, THERE IS LIGHT! headtorch

Monsay Whitney, one of our REFORMATION NATION playwrights,  swears by a blow up mattress and a duvet. She discovered this luxury last year and will not go back to a floor mat and sleeping bag.

To shower or not to shower? That is the question. If the festival season is your chance to not wash and go primal baby wipes are a great substitute for a shower or bring a towel, some flip flops and get in that cue to wash.

Glitter! ALL THE GLITTER. GLITTER MAKES YOU FITTER! Especially if you decided to opt out of the festival shower experience,  and if you’re prone to insect bites bring some Jungle Formula.  Latitude is by a lake and I have been eaten alive in the past by horse flies.

I love waterproof trousers! Whilst other people care about their outfits getting muddy, are worried about falling over  or that they can’t sit down, waterproof trousers mean you can dive straight into the festival spirit, quite literally, and the rain will not stop you from having a good time.

Stamina crew. It is important you have enough energy to come and rave with us on Friday night from 12.45am - 3am. REFORMATION NATION in the Little House! 13631407_10153731590362596_4247178441698336429_n

So stock up on snacks to keep you going throughout the festival. The ancient knowledge of what snacks to bring to Latitude was passed down to me through Paines Plough who swear by babybells and pepperamis and I’m going to add cereal bars, nuts and bananas to that list too.

Rehydration sachets - Down one with a bottle of water before you go to bed and you will wake smug having conquered the hangover.

And finally bring that wig and fancy dress outfit you dare not to wear to work and then make a pact with yourself to wear it to work when you go back to real life. Everyday should be a festival.


Hello from our new executive team!


nabokov theatre company is delighted to announced the appointment of Stef O’Driscoll as Artistic Director, taking over from Joe Murphy after six years in the post.


Following a two year stint as Associate Director at Paines Plough, O’Driscoll joins the company that was founded in 2001 by current Paines Plough Artistic Directors James Grieve and George Perrin who remain on the Board. Established as a touring company intent on discovering new work and breaking the rules, nabokov has gone from strength to strength with multiple successful runs at Edinburgh Fringe and sold out performances at London venues including The Bush and Off Broadway. Their alumni include Mike Bartlett, EV Crowe, Arthur Darvill, Ella Hickson, Joel Horwood, Jack Thorne, Nick Payne, Duncan Macmillan and Tom Wells.


Upon her appointment, O’Driscoll said: “I’ve long admired nabokov’s work and in particular its political roots and history of risk-taking. I’m intent to continue in that vein, telling stories through cross-art forms, with a mission to democratise theatre by taking it out of traditional venues and bringing it to places you’re more likely to stumble across than seek out. So you’ll be seeing our productions - which will fuse great storytelling with live music and film, feeling more like a gig or a rave - in car parks, pubs, working men’s clubs and even an NHS hospital.”


She continued: “The world of entertainment has changed and theatre needs to keep up. Our aim is to bring stories to people, rather than asking them to come to us. We won’t compromise on quality, but we will make it affordable – that’s key.”


O’Driscoll has a roster of new talent lined up for collaboration already, including: World Champion beatboxer Bellatrix, the first professional female beatboxer in the UK; TeaFilms whose visual storytelling captured the attention of MTV and Secret Cinema; and Kam Sandhu, founding member of REAL MEDIA, a cooperative of journalists dedicated to public interest journalism and challenging mass media distortion.


O’Driscoll will be joined by new producer Liz Counsell, who has spent the last 3 years as part of the producing team at Camden’s Roundhouse and replaces Paul Jellis.

James Grieve said: "We could not be more thrilled that Stef will lead nabokov into an exciting future. She is a brilliant, singular, inventive director whose passion for making theatre is endlessly inspiring. Under her leadership, nabokov will be unpredictable, unruly and absolutely essential. We can’t wait!


"When George and I joined Paines Plough in 2010 we were fortunate to hand nabokov to an outstanding director in Joe Murphy who - along with producer Paul Jellis - has led the company with distinction for six successful and far-reaching years. We are hugely grateful to Joe and Paul who leave nabokov in rude health and ready for a new era."

SYMPHONY last leg: rocking Soho Theatre, sending audiences home singing

Well it's been an amazing journey for SYMPHONY, which began as a small commission to create a theatre show for outdoor festivals in 2012, and has gone on to be seen by more audiences in more places than we had ever imagined. After our Fringe run this summer, and our short UK tour visiting various venues in the south east, Edinburgh, and Birmingham (where we also chucked in a deliciously dark Halloween Arts Club), we have rounded things off with a run at Soho Theatre in the ever-so-fitting downstairs cabaret bar. The London run finishes this Sun 30th Nov, so this week is your last chance to catch the show that has been delighting audiences around the country. If you're after a good dose of festival vibes to warm up your winter, this is the one for you. Just look at how audiences have been reacting to it - here's just a small selection of the amazing responses we've been getting:

audience quotes

And if you need any more persuading, check out the trailer featuring the amazing Katie Elin-Salt singing one of the show's original songs composed by Ed Gaughan.

Tickets can be booked here.


nabokov Arts Club | 1 November 2014

For one night only, the nabokov Arts Club comes to Birmingham for the first time ever with a late night party like no other.

Arts Club e-image - Copy

Live acts combine with interactive performances and installations for a raucous and ghoulish night out where audiences can be zombified by hair and make up experts and then marry their dead bride or groom in the Happily Ever Afterlife Chapel.

The evening will feature Birmingham’s own Misty’s Big Adventure, who will perform an eclectic mix of pop, jazz, psychedeliia, two tone, folk and punk, and a set of original songs performed by locally-born actor, Arthur Darvill, known for his roles in Doctor Who and Broadchurch, and the stage adaptation of Once.

There will also be a performance of My Thoughts On Leaving You, a short comedy musical by one of the UK’s hottest writers, Nick Payne, which forms part of SYMPHONY. Nick Payne won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play with Constellations, and has twice been nominated for an Olivier award.

Plus there will be additional live music from musical anarchists Freelance Mourners, a DJ set from Birmingham legends Hot Wax, playing classic funk, soul, hip hop and party tunes till late, and much more.

An extravaganza of live theatre, music, cabaret, comedy, poetry an

d visual art wrapped up in a big fat party, the nabokov Arts Club, previously featured in The Guardian, Time Out’s Hot Picks and Critics’ Choice, and The Independent’s ‘Best Nights Out’, showcases the best new work, first, from the most exciting emerging artists alongside some of the biggest names in the business.

We're excited to be bringing the nabokov Arts Club to Birmingham, for only its second ever appearance outside London.

SYMPHONY rocks Edinburgh! Reviews, radio, and busking...

SYMPHONY has been going down a storm at the Assembly Bosco tent in Edinburgh ... and our crazy talented quartet of actor-musicians are getting an awful lot of love. Check out our twitter feed for a taste of it! And reviews are in too. Broadway Baby says "you begin to wonder why more theatre isn’t done like this, until you remember that there are very few who could pull it off."  While Total Theatre calls the show "truly thrilling... If you love theatre and have ever had a band you loved, this is a show for you." And Fest Mag says it “evok[es] the atmosphere of the music festival in the middle of the city.” Take a look at the show page for more great quotes. We're glowing.

Plus, just to prove their ridiculous energy levels, our cast are not only performing daily but taking their band around town too... they played a song and had a chat with Janice Forsyth on BBC Radio Scotland's legendary Culture Studio (you can listen again here, from 42 mins in); and they did a little busking session for Castle Radio.

Catch them while you can. 5pm daily in the Bosco tent in George Square gardens, until 25th August. BOOK HERE.


We are seeking applications for a candidate for a Digital Assistant role, for the consortium of companies that nabokov is part of - which we hope to fund through the BBC Performing Arts Fellowship Scheme. Full details below.


Job Description

A consortium of four groundbreaking new writing companies – Forward Theatre Project, nabokov, Theatre Uncut and Pieces Productions – are seeking applications for a candidate for a Digital Assistant role for the BBC Performing Arts Fellowship scheme.

The four companies formed a consortium together in 2012, in order to apply to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for funds for a shared General Manager to work across all the companies. The General Manager has been in place since May 2013. Now, the companies seek to further strengthen the bonds between them by recruiting a second shared member of staff, working across the four organisations to develop innovative digital content to accompany theatre productions.

More about the companies:

Forward Theatre Project is a collective of 20 theatre directors, writers and designers, who strive to increase relationships between emerging theatre artists and regional theatres and to build a community amongst peers. FTP create work with a collective approach and nationwide focus, creating cross-regional collaboration to produce original theatre inspired by all the towns, tales and textures of our nation.

nabokov is a theatre company based in the eastern region, dedicated to putting new writing at the heart of British culture. They challenge writers and audiences to re-invent how new writing is made and experienced. Since 2001 nabokov has hosted an extraordinarily diverse programme of work around the UK and internationally: premiering the work of over 1,000 artists, producing and curating vibrant artistic events at venues and festivals around the country, and touring premiere flagship productions.

Theatre Uncut are an innovative political theatre company, founded in 2010. Every year they commission new short plays from emerging and established playwrights, responding to current political events and urgent social issues. They then perform the plays in flagship productions in the UK, while also releasing them to be performed by anyone, anywhere in the world, rights-free, to create the annual Theatre Uncut Mass Action Festival. So far, Theatre Uncut plays have been read and performed by over 3500 people in 26 countries.

Pieces Productions was founded in 2010 by director Clare Lizzimore and writer David Watson: two practitioners who were galvanised by their shared commitment to finding and producing astonishing but overlooked new plays. The company exists to produce work on British stages that would have otherwise fallen through the gaps between existing companies’ tastes and remits. It aspires to the highest production values and innovative theatrical practice, to expand and energise the new writing world, and to target both established and first-time theatre audiences.

All organisations are associate companies of Paines Plough.

The Role

We are seeking a Digital Assistant to help us develop and innovate our digital offer, to accompany the core theatrical work of the four companies. Key duties will include:

-          Developing innovative digital content to accompany main productions: including online education resources, articles, interviews, videos, galleries, rehearsal diaries, podcasts and more. Taking the lead in creating all such content, in collaboration with the key staff of each company.

-          Developing new online platforms which audiences and participants around the world can engage with and add to; in particular for Theatre Uncut

-          Updating website content, and improving the design of each company’s website as needed to engage more online audiences

-          Filming and editing trailers, and rehearsal and production footage, and sharing them online

-          Creating bespoke, stand-alone short films which link thematically to stage productions

-          Arranging for the live streaming / online broadcast of the companies’ productions where possible

-          Strategising and implementing social media activities to promote the companies’ work and engage audiences in new ways

-          Other digital marketing activity as needed, such as designing e-bulletins and compiling mailing list data

-          Other graphic design tasks as and when needed e.g. designing education materials, online advertisements, posters, flyers, signage etc

-          Identifying and exploiting e-commerce opportunities.

-          Photographing productions, rehearsals and other events where possible, and publishing images online to effectively promote shows

-          Analyising and reporting on web / e-marketing activity, and using this information to inform future activity and improve each company’s online presence.

-          Devising new ways of canvassing audiences, to seek their feedback on productions, and to map the demographic data of audiences (to be able to more effectively analyse each company’s reach and impact)

-          Developing new ways of engaging with audiences outside of the actual productions - filming vox pops, seeking online creative contributions from them etc.

This will be an opportunity to work across art forms: to incorporate film-making, photography, graphic design and digital design skills into a theatre context, and explore how different mediums can work together to complement each other.

Person Specification

We are looking for a creative professional in the early stages of their career, who would benefit significantly from the varied challenges of this role. Our candidate could be a theatre professional, film-maker, graphic designer, digital artist or marketing specialist; we are open to considering any individual who has some experience in most or all of the areas detailed above, and is keen to further their experience in a theatre context.

Key attributes we are seeking:

-          Computer literate with full knowledge and experience of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook

-          Good public relations skills

-          Excellent written and oral presentation skills

-          The ability to work within a team while showing readiness to use initiative and a sound sense of time- and workload-management

-          A willingness to work in a flexible manner, and sometimes under pressure

-          Friendly, confident, loyal, outgoing person who relishes a challenge

-          Willingness to take the creative lead on developing digital projects

-          A sound knowledge of social media tools

-          Some prior experience in film-making and photography

-          Some prior experience in website design and digital content development

-          A keen interest in digital developments

-          A good eye for design (layout and images)

-          Desirable – familiar with design software such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator

-          Desirable – some previous paid marketing experience

What We Can Offer You

-          Creative mentorship from the Artistic Directors and Producers of each company

-          Bespoke career development opportunities including digital training courses and the chance to attend conferences and networking events

-          Insight into the operations of four different, dynamic theatre companies, all currently in the midst of expanding their work and increasing their profile

-          The opportunity to build relationships with the many tour venues and other theatre companies with whom the consortium will work over the next year

-          The opportunity to attend all events and productions produced by each of the four companies over the next year

Further details

This role will be for a six month period from January 2015.

It will be a part-time role. We are flexible in terms of exact hours worked and will be open to discussing this with our candidate.

The Digital Assistant will be based in London. We can offer part-time desk space at the Central London office where our General Manager is also based; or the DA could be based elsewhere or work from home if that would be their preference. We would only ask that they be available for regular catch-up meetings with each company, possibly on a weekly basis.

The Digital Assistant will be line-managed by the consortium’s Shared General Manager.

The BBC Performing Arts Fellowship scheme is designed to identify and support the next generation of talent. If successful, the fellow’s time will be covered with a grant from the Scheme.

This position is subject to the consortium being successful in its application to the BBC Performing Arts Fund (to be confirmed in November 2014).


To apply, please send a CV and cover letter to by no later than 5pm on Thurs 7th August. Your cover letter should be no more than 2 pages long and should detail:

-          Your career in this field so far, and how this position would aid your professional development

-          What you would hope to get out of this role, and what further opportunities you think it would lead to

-          Why you think you would be suited to working for a consortium of companies, and what you could bring to this role

Interviews will be held on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th August.



Symphony new cast image hi-res

Theatre meets live gig and stand-up comedy as three of the UK's hottest writers collaborate with Fringe First winning new writing company nabokov to present a hilarious and eclectic mix of stories told through raucous live music and spoken word. 



CAST: Jack Brown, Katie Elin-Salt, Liam Gerrard, Iddon Jones

★★★★★ The New Current "touchingly beautiful and powerfully frank... an unmissable gem"

★★★★★ The Public Reviews " treads a blurred line between theatre and gig…one of the highlights of the programme"

“Three plays about growing-up, relationships and romance are belted out by an incredibly versatile five piece that not only act their socks off but sing and accompany each other on a variety of instruments.” The Stage

"Overflowed with witty heartfelt lyrics and dialogue. A cross between a gig, a musical and a spoken-word event" The Guardian

"Perfectly pitched, funny and at times strangely emotional, the detail and observational wit is flawless." Exeunt

First commissioned by Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude


Almost two years to the day since rehearsals began for its premiere in Edinburgh, nabokov's BLINK arrives in New York City. It is a journey which has seen the play travel across the world to vast acclaim. It was met with rave reviews in Edinburgh, was then hosted by Jagriti Theatre in Bangalore before returning for a sell-out run at London's Soho Theatre. At the turn of the year, BLINK went on a UK tour and now, as part of 59E59 Theaters' Brits Off Broadway Festival, it opens to an American audience. As Nick Payne's Incognito wows audiences at The Bush Theatre, this month sees the first time nabokov have had pieces running in tandem on both sides of the pond. With ten thousand Twitter followers, a vibrant presence with festivals, theatres and events around the UK and internationally and with a reputation for the bursting-onto-the-scene of bristling, brave and vastly diverse creatives, nabokov is a young company undoubtedly in an ascendancy.

And I'm completely and utterly chuffed to be involved with them.

I took up the role of Jonah Jenkins in Phil Porter's BLINK in January of this year, alongside Lizzy Watts who plays Sophie Kissack. Working with nabokov has been packed with many 'firsts' for me. My first time working on new writing. My first time working in a two-hander. My first time touring a production. My first time in New York.

Pretty typical of nabokov, I reckon. They're all about 'firsts.' And my experience has been first class. We found out about the New York leg of the tour on the opening night in Sheffield. Needless to say, we were buzzing.

It makes complete sense for BLINK to be here. It's quintessentially British whilst simultaneously being relevant to any big city in the world in 2014. It's a play about technology. About loneliness. About loss. About a connection between two people in a metropolis of idle isolation.

The first time I read BLINK, that's what stood out for me. Jonah is from a town called Barnoldswick, which is roughly fifteen minutes from my own hometown. So it wasn't difficult to imagine his world. Nor was it difficult to imagine how he felt when moved to London. The ease it is to discover a routine and to stick to it religiously is like quick-sand. The same can be said of New York. I've been here less than a week and I'm being as much as an explorer as is possible but it's impossible to avoid some sort of routine, especially with directions and the Subway. That's what stood out for me with regards to BLINK and its characters. We love routine. It's a comfort. But in a place as big as New York or in a place as big as London, a routine can easily slip in to loneliness.

Couple this with our ever increasing reliance on technology and BLINK seems as relevant to New York as bagels and big buildings.

I'm really looking forward to the month ahead. The first week has been a real team effort. Phil Porter (writer), Paul Jellis (producer), Joe Murphy (director), Josh Roche (associate director), Catherine McKinney (Soho Theatre General Manager) and Joe Price (Stage Manager) have all been here alongside Lizzy and I. Our first two shows have been very well received and it's exciting to offer the show to a new audience. It feels like a very fresh production- different to the one we toured for three months at the start of the year.

Alongside that excitement is the bewildering fact that we'll be living in such an amazing city for a month. You've really got to throw yourself in to a place like New York. Dive in to it, get lost as often as possible and speak to the locals as often as you see a yellow cab.

In a round about way- and I'm not really a method actor- there are similarities between Jonah and Sophie's experiences and with ours in New York.

A new place can open the senses. It's astonishing how your eyes and ears can get used to things to such a degree that they don't see or hear anything at all. It takes a new place to stir them in to action.

And I doubt there's any place on Earth with as much to see or hear as there is in New York City.

The novelty of the accent hasn't worn off. Nor the novelty of crossing the road with a white man instead of a green man. The police stations look like nightclubs. They're advertising divorce on the Subway. Times Square is like Piccadilly Circus with ADHD.

And I suppose, I suppose this is how Jonah felt.

Thomas Pickles


With Incognito well settled into its run at the Bush, we've promptly switched our attentions to the other side of the pond, where we opened Blink in New York last night. Phil Porter's beautiful and bittersweet semi-romance was snapped up by 59E59 Theaters, following its runs in India & Soho and its UK tour, to be part of their celebrated Brits Off Broadway season alongside other choice picks of new work from these isles. Our super talented cast from the tour, Thomas Pickles and Lizzy Watts, join us again for the New York run. We're pretty chuffed to say this is the first time we've had shows on stage on two continents at once. If you're out New York way, you can book tickets for Blink here Plus watch this space for more news soon on Symphony- our new writing-music mash up featuring plays by Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells- which we're gearing up to present in Edinburgh in August in conjunction with Soho Theatre. You know, cos we just didn't think 3 shows already this year was enough...  If you can make it, see you there in our rocking tent on George Sq.

INCOGNITO - knockout success at HighTide and Live

Having opened to national critical acclaim at HighTide last month, we’ve now also completed a fantastic longer run at Live in Newcastle before heading to Oxford this week. So thought it was high time for a quick run-down of what the press have been saying about Incognito so far: “Payne keeps us constantly engaged, both emotionally and intellectually” The Guardian (****)

“Groundbreaking” The Telegraph (****)

“This is shiningly brilliant, a meditation on neuroscience, memory, deception, heredity and identity: alive with compassion and wonder, streaked with intelligent humour” Theatre Cat, Libby Purves (*****)

“Throughout I was engaged by the stories, swept along by the writing and convinced by the performers” What’s On Stage (****)

“We need more playwrights like Nick Payne … An intelligent, ambitious work” The Observer (****)

“an ambitious, era-hopping portrait of neuropsychologists, their patients and personal relationships” The Times (****)

“combines complexity and compelling storytelling to memorable effect.” The Journal, Newcastle (****)

“a kaleidoscope of fast moving action, thoughts, ideas and situations” Remote Goat (****)

“Nothing prepares you for its explosion onto the stage and the alluring flood of ideas that follows a healthy cast of characters, all immaculately played by Sargon Yelda, Amelia Lowdell, Paul Hickey and Alison O’Donnell” What’s Peen Seen (*****)

“Joe Murphy’s impressive production sees a fine cast jumping from character to character and between polarised emotional states with ease” The Stage

“The play can only enhance Nick Payne’s reputation as one of Britain’s best young writers, and that of nabokov and HighTide as innovative producers of new work” In Suffolk

 “a searching meditation on the vital importance memory plays in our lives and also in the construction of our very selves” There Ought To Be Clowns

Not forgetting, of course, more brilliant audience feedback from our Newcastle audiences:

“Amazing performances, great sound design and incredible script! The characters were so compelling and such an interesting concept. So much in there I feel like I might need to see it 7 times to process it all!”

“I was thoroughly entertained throughout. I found it gritty and real, and uniquely abstract.”

“Humour and reflection acted with aplomb. Superb.”

“Loved how real it all felt.”

“Absolutely amazing. Raised interesting and difficult ideas without simplifying or trying to present an answer. Great acting, so many compelling characters in a short space of time.”

You can catch us at The North Wall, Oxford, from tonight to 10th May, and then at the Bush in London from the 14th May – 21st June.  We hope to see you soon!

Click here for more information and to book tickets

INCOGNITO wows Newcastle, now Halesworth

Last week we were thrilled to see our world premiere of INCOGNITO by Nick Payne (co-produced with Live Theatre Newcastle and HighTide Festival Theatre) have its first previews in Newcastle. Audiences were bowled over by this subtle, complex and thought-provoking exploration of neuroscience and human nature. Just a selection of audience comments: “Very smart, very slick piece of new writing, excellent fusion of several narratives with outstanding performances from highly skilled actors.”

“An intriguing and intellectually satisfying play, beautifully acted... “

“Mind blowing concept

“Powerful performance dealing with a multitude of issues from mental health, to loss and ambition. Strong cast delivered the piece with conviction and power. “

“Brilliant! Amazing versatility in the performances. “

“Interesting and thought provoking play, sensationally presented.”

“I feel like I've been through 10 rounds with a heavy weight - In the best possible way! It touched me in so many ways. A profound and moving work on our humanity and the wonder of existence.”

Now we've decamped to the HighTide festival in Halesworth, where we open tonight (10th April) and run to 19th April. After that, it's back up to Newcastle for a longer run at Live, followed by a week at the North Wall in Oxford 6-10 May and then 6 weeks at the Bush in London from 14th May. Wherever you can catch the show, we look forward to seeing you there.

For more insights - take a look at rehearsal photos here; the tantalising teaser trailer here; a video interview with director Joe Murphy here; and a blog post from writer Nick Payne here.


nabokov Arts Club | 28 Feb - 1 Mar 2014


The nabokov Arts Club at VAULT Festival presents LONDON, UNDERGROUND

Friday 28th February & Saturday 1st March 10:30pm - 3am


After  years of blowing up the biggest and best live arts club nights in London, we'll be celebrating our 5th birthday in style at VAULT festival. LONDON, UNDERGROUND is a celebration of the city's performance culture over two nights of live art featuring some of the most exciting performers in London today:

An explosive DJ set by the MYSTERY JETS

A world premiere free running and beatboxing immersive performance: 3RUN VS BELLATRIX

Live hip hop set from DIZRAELI & DOWNLOW

Three short plays by multiple award winners ELLA HICKSON, NICK PAYNE & TOM WELLS

Live funk, ska, dub and hip hop from KING PORTER STOMP

Immersive adventures, interactive performances, spoken word, comedy & more…

An extravaganza of live theatre, music, cabaret, comedy, poetry and visual art wrapped up in a big fat party, the nabokov Arts Club, previously featured in The Guardian, Time Out’s Hot Picks and Critics’ Choice, and The Independent’s ‘Best Nights Out’, showcases the best new work, first, from the most exciting emerging artists alongside some of the biggest names in the business.

A headline world premiere performance sees internationally renowned and multiple Guinness World Record holding freerunning crew 3RUN, previously featured in everything from Casino Royale to award winning commercials for Xbox, collaborate with female world beatboxing champion BELLATRIX for an electric immersive live show.

See 3RUN here: Watch BELLATRIX here:

A huge musical line up features verbal majestics and brain-popping turntablism in a live hiphop set from DIZRAELI & DOWNLOW. Fresh from the release of 'Everyone's A Winner - The Mixtape', in the last 12 months the pair have been sharing stages in the UK and France with legends like The Pharcyde, Mos Def, Foreign Beggars, Beardyman and DJ Format, and constructing a live hiphop show unlike anything you've seen before.


And back by popular demand, 8 piece funk and ska outfit KING PORTER STOMP return with their unique blend of massive horns, heavy bass and socially aware lyrics.


Plus we'll have extra Arts Club performances of our roof-raising new writing-live music mash-up, SYMPHONY, featuring plays by  ELLA HICKSON, NICK PAYNE and TOM WELLS; rounding off its 2-week run at VAULT.

Meanwhile, in dark corners and secret tunnels, have immersive adventures and interactive experiences and discover an array of artists performing hidden acoustic sets and everything from comedy to spoken word. Check out our blog for details of more artists as they're announced.

*Please note, due to limited capacity in some rooms it will not always be possible to see some performances. If you wish to ensure that you see SYMPHONY, make sure to book a ticket to one of the daily performances. There are many things programmed at the same time so you will always be able to see something great!

SYMPHONY by Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells is also running at VAULT Festival for 2 weeks prior to this event. LONDON, UNDERGROUND bookers can buy tickets for this show for only £5 - simply book both tickets together!

Advance Tickets: £15 Door Tickets: £18 Prices include £1.50 festival charge

This event is 18+. Under 18s will be denied entry with or without a valid ticket and your purchase will not be refunded.

The Team

Producer: Paul Jellis Assistant Producers: Andrew Hughes and Molly Roberts Designer: Lily Arnold Production Manager: Hannah Blamire Immersive experiences by IMMERCITY PR support from Mobius


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New writing at the Arts Club... Luke Barnes

To add to the new writing delights of SYMPHONY at the Arts Club, we are also pleased to present... PLUMS - a brand new short play by Luke Barnes Directed by Jamie Jackson

A small town love story about firewomen and Frankie & Bennies.

Luke is a writer for theatre and Television. He is currently writer-on-attachment to Liverpool Everyman Playhouse and Soho Theatre. His work is published by Oberon Books. This is his first work with nabokov.

As director, Jamie's credits as director include Bangin' Wolves (Bush Theatre Attic), CoalEaters (Theatre 503), From Where I'm Standing (Underbelly, Edinburgh), I'll Fix It Later (Soho Theatre Upstairs), Around The House (Ovalhouse),  Can You See In The Dark (Writer's Block North East / Gala Theatre Durham) , Vanishing Point (Theatre Royal Studio Newcastle). Credits as assistant director include The El Train (Hoxton Hall), The Act (Trafalgar Studios & Ovalhouse Theatre) and Only On Sundays / Courting Drama (Bush TheatreAttic).




A Word from Arts Club Assistant Producer Molly Roberts...


Molly Roberts is a freelance Actress, theatre Producer and Artistic Director of new writing company Poleroid Theatre, and is thrilled to be working with nabokov for the first time! Over the last two years she has worked as an actress in Theatre and Television (BBC/Channel 4). She has also produced numerous productions which strive to craft the contemporary image of emerging artists, at venues including Theatre503, Old Red Lion, White Bear, Etcetera, Tristan Bates & Last Refuge. She also runs WRITE IT: MIC IT a regular open "write night" at The Hackney Attic and Castle Hotel, Manchester which is dedicated to lovers of the young, quirky, new writing arts scene in the UK and allows emerging artists to show their work and bring their new writing to the stage. Molly has been given the exciting task of searching for the most dynamic, interesting and entertaining emerging and well-known talent in London to add to the upcoming nabokov Arts Club line-up. Over the last month she has been inundated with applications from writers, comedians, sketch groups and musicians who were keen to take part in the event. But despite the very high standard, places were limited and after a lot of thought & meetings, she's programmed a pick of the best!

The bill ranges from established spoken word artists Sabrina Mahfouz and Rachel Parris, to more underground, emerging performers Tara Hodge and Tom Gill. We also have comedy from Matt Lacey, best known for his youtube sensation "Gap Yah", and new talent from up-and-coming sketch sensation Omar & Lee. There’ll also be a brand new work by playwright Luke Barnes, the hilarious Lolly Jones and music from the wonderful Harriet Starling.

Come and say hello to Molly in the Pit Space where she will also be introducing all the acts performing, and get ready for a night of serious entertainment..! @moyroberts @poleroidtheatre

Sabrina Mahfouz joins Arts Club line-up


Another stellar artist joining us at the Arts Club is acclaimed writer and performer Sabrina Mahfouz. Sabrina writes plays, poems and stories. She's currently a Sky Academy Arts Scholar; Associate Artist at Bush Theatre and Poet in residence at Cape Farewell. Her first collection of plays and poetry, The Clean Collection, will be published this March by Bloomsbury.