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.

The final part of WikiTheatre has landed

So here we are...the final part of our brand new concept - WikiTheatre. We've had a ball reading all your brilliant responses to the scenes by James Graham and Jay Taylor and we hope you enjoy reading the final piece of the puzzle. So congratulations to our final writer, LISA CARROLL, who submitted the great piece below.

Enjoy reading, and don't forget we'll be presenting the entire play LIVE this Sunday, at NABOKOV RE-LOADED. We start at 4pm at Soho Theatre downstairs, with a really great line up and the chance to be the first to hear about all our new plans. We're also really keen to meet new faces and potential new collaborators.

Get your tickets to NABOKOV RE-LOADED using the link below:


by Lisa Carroll

5 years later.

Luke is in the store cupboard at work sweating profusely, barely able to draw breath, pacing and shaking his arms. 

Fast – snappy:

Luke – Shitshitshitshitshitshit Shit SHIT shit shit

Ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok shit

Shit ok shit

Ok. Ok. Ok.

[There’s a knock on the door.]

SHIT shit shit shit shit shit shit go away –

No no no no no no /no no no

Tim – Luke / what’re you

Luke – Don’t don’t don’t don’t no no / no no no no no

Tim – Luke / what’s

Luke – Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God / Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God shit shit shit shit

Tim – LUKE, Jesus Christ / would you –

Luke – I can’t feel my arms I can’t do anything with Tim why can’t I feel my arms? Oh shit shit shit  shit on a shitting -

Tim – Luke, ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok calm calm down look at me ok calm down ok? LOOK AT ME

Luke – My arms I’ve I’m having a heart attack maybe I can’t feel them they’ve gone numb

Tim – You’re ok, okay? You’re ok? Breathe, take a breath, breathe, look at me, BREATHE

Luke – Ok, ok ok ok I yeah ok ok ok ok

Tim – Breathe

Like – Ok. Ok ok ok.              Ok.


Ok I’m breathing now

Tim – Ok

Are you ok?

Luke – No

Tim – Can you feel your / hands

Luke – Tingling

Tim – Ok.

Luke, what / happened–

Luke – No no no no no no no / no no no I I I I I I I

Tim – Ok, ok ok you don’t have to – just just stay calm / ok calm

Luke – [For breath control:] Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, / hah, hah, hah hah.

Tim – Ok well let me know um

Let me know if you’re going to come out

Luke – Shit, no don’t, shit no don’t go Tim Tim Tim Tim

Tim – Um

Luke – One minute one minute ok? One minute

Tim – OK

Luke – They – it’s

I’m fine I’ll be out in a minute just stand there can you stand there ok

Tim – Sure. Ok.

Luke – Thank you

Tim – Do you want some water?

Luke – No no no, no thank you.

Tim – Ok. What / about

Luke – No. Just stand there. / Just let me

Tim – Yep. Ok. Okay.  Luke, what’s

Luke – Tess just called

Tim  – Tess?

Luke – Tess.

Tim – Shit.

Luke – Exactly. Exactly, so. This is it. This is it! It’s it. This. Exactly what we dreaded/ happening

Tim – No it –

Luke – No, it is, it’s happening and and and then suddenly I thought wow, oh my God, my life, my  my my house, my computer, Melissa, they’re all

Tim – No, I’m sure / it’s not

Luke – It is. We’re going into administration. That’s it. The final word.

Tim – So your

Luke – And yours. All of us. That’s it. End of the line. No more you, no more me, no more Durex, no           more nothing. SHIT shit shit shit shit –

Tim – Luke, BREATHE

Luke – Ok

Tim – Breathe

Luke – Ok.  Yes. I am.

Tim – Okay. So why –

Luke – Because no one’s fucking having sex anymore Tim is why, you fucking – we are completely  and utterly obsolete

Tim – But –

Luke – When was the last time you touched someone, Tim? When? Exactly. Let know

Tim – Right. Are you –

Luke – Well yeah I’m breathing now but I don’t feel any bloody better, no.

Tim – Ok. So what do we – is there anything we / can –

Luke – The board is coming in any minute now. Emergency meeting. I have to stand in front of  them in in in as soon as I get out of this closet basically

Tim – And say what?

Luke – Exactly. Help me. Tim, I need you to help me –

Tim – But I –

Luke – I know you’re not as stupid as you look, come ON, Tim

Tim – We need to – what – save the / whole flipping company?

Luke – Convince them not to – exactly. Come on Tim I’m clutching at fucking straws here. It’s your head on the chopping block next to mine. They’re out there, Tim, they’re out there.

Tim – Shit. Shit shit shit SHIT Luke


Tim – OK. Ok ok ok ok ok ok

Luke – THINK

Tim – OK – We need people to have sex. That that that therapy thing that that – it doesn’t – didn’t            work. Does it? They tried it and it didn’t work.

Luke – And, AND?

Tim – Luke, you’re the –


Tim – OKAY. Okay. Get them having sex. Make the people have sex. Make them want to have sex.             What’s nice about sex?

Luke – Nothing –

Tim – Right – nothing. So how do you get people to do what you know they don’t want to do – how             do you get them to do it anyway?

Luke – Okay... keep going...

Tim – Luke I don’t / know if I –

Luke – Tim, keep thinking or I will I will attach this this stapler to your balls, I can’t – I can’t lose –             Melissa – she’s  all I – I never even fucking got her insured I’m only half way through the payments –

Tim – I – I – Ok – Look, stop – just keep breathing – I’ll come up with something, don’t worry I’ll


Incentive. Some kind of incentive.

Luke – RIGHT

Tim – Prizes or or or or

Luke – Prizes for  having sex

Tim – For buying the –

Luke – Like – like a scratch card or – or lucky – you know

Tim – They buy the condoms they’re in with a chance of

Luke – Yes – ok

Tim – So it’s like the benefits of buying them are more than.

Like you’re not just buying them just for sex

Luke – OR – or there’s

We do give out prizes for sex. Make sex. Make it cool again – touching cool again

Tim – How – how how how can we

Luke – Get – I don’t know get a pop star doing it or something hire people to

Tim – Hire people?

Luke – Well no not like

Tim – Like prostitutes?

Luke – Well yes but – well that died out but something – something / new

Tim – Luke, I don’t know if I –

I’m only a Junior member of

And the idea of – maybe

Maybe we can’t fight the pull of the tide?

You know?

Luke – You’re talking shit, Tim

Tim – Maybe if people don’t want to

Do that anymore

We should         leave them to it. And just         take the wrap.

It’s our ... time. To go.



Luke – This company is my life blood, Tim. And you need to help me find a way to keep it pumping.

Tim – Yeah, I just / feel a bit

Luke – If you don’t do this I will go to your house and I will take Laura and I will run my car over her face and make you watch as the screen cracks.

Tim – You –

Luke – I would.

So I need you to think. I need you to give me an idea I can pitch that I can go out there in one minute and pitch. Which will work

You need to get people buying condoms.

You need to get them having sex and liking it.

Think of Laura.

Tim – She’s all I

Luke – Exactly

Tim – She’s irrepl/aceable

Luke – Exactly.

Tim – Tim, you can’t

[Luke takes his car keys out of his  pocket and jingles them.]

Ok. So what you tell them is

Is this


You’re going to run a campaign

You’re going to get

Get uh


Tim – You’re going to get Miley Cyrus to make sex cool again by by by having loads of sex on TV


Tim – You’re going to pay people to go out and have sex with people to remind people that sex is nice


Tim – NO  no no you you you’re going to to to to make sex make it – profitable

That’s it that –

Make it profitable

People don’t want sex they want money they don’t have sex because they’re too busy earning                               money but what if you can make it that the incentive to have sex is so high that they’re willing to                         brave it?

We’ll tell them if they buy our condoms we’ll  we’ll end world hunger or

Luke – No one gives a shit about world hunger they never fucking have, Tim, otherwise it’d be sorted            / by now – sweet Jesus come on they’re –

Tim – Ok ok ok OKAY

What about like the way that you – when you recycle bottles, right – you get like 5p a bottle

Luke – What the fuck are you talking about Tim / we have no time

Tim – Luke – what if like, what if for every used condom – like a bottle bank – for every time you    have sex every time you use a condom – you get – get 5p

Luke – That’s gross

Tim – Because you’ve –

Luke – Oh God I think I can hear / something –

Tim – Because you’ve helped / the world in a way –

Luke – They’re here I think they’re here –

Tim – And if – if you have enough – have enough sex – you win a car?

Luke – Tim that’s absolutely sick –

Tim – I know I’m sorry, Luke, but I

Luke – It’s sick

Tim – Luke I’m trying my best here to think of

Luke – I – fuck Tess is ringing me –

I think we should try it

Tim – The - ?

Luke – It’s like charity sex

Or kind of

Helping the world sex

Get your money back sex

Everyone loves cars

Tim – Luke do you think they’ll

Luke – This is the only thing we have, Tim

Tim – Luke, are you going to hurt / Laura?

Luke – Give me your jacket.

Tim – What?

Luke – Give me your jacket. Mine’s covered in sweat.

Tim – No, I

Luke – I will take a hammer to Laura’s face and hit and hit and hit til she cracks and then I will reach            my hand in and pull out the wiring now give me your jacket.

Thank you. Here

Tim – This is –

Luke – PUT IT ON

Now go. You’ve got a pitch to make

Tim – Me?

Luke – I don’t want them thinking it was my idea if they don’t like it

Tim – But I’m only –

Luke – Exactly so if they do like it don’t worry I’ll take credit

Tim – Luke, you’re

Luke – I don’t care what you think I am get out of this fucking stationary cupboard and go save this company before I get Tess to come and touch you.

Tim – Shit –

Luke – Touch you with her hands on your hands and if you REALLY piss me off she will touch your face

Tim – Shit shit shit shit shit shit

Luke – Breathe, Tim,


Luke – Man up, Tim

Tim – Shit shit shit no no okay shit shit ok

Luke – GO




On Sunday 10th November from 4pm at Soho Theatre we're having a very special one off event to celebrate our relaunch, tell you all about our plans for the future, and share some of our favourite artists with you. And we want to meet all you actors, writers, directors and designers that are yet to cross our paths. We'll also be presenting our brand new concept - WikiTheatre! A play started by James Graham and then thrown open to the public, we'll have selected two further parts which we will present live at the event.

Check out the full line-up here, and get your tickets from:

Here's some more info on the other great acts we'll have on offer:



Joe Stilgoe has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scott's, The Queen Elizabeth Hall and many of the major jazz venues throughout the world, while in 2011 his debut at the Edinburgh Festival was an award winning show, attracting critical praise (5 Stars - The Scotsman). His latest album 'We Look To The Stars' was a critical and commercial success, reaching No.1 in the jazz charts. He has appeared on BBC TV and Radio in Never Mind The Buzzcocks, The Now Show, Loose Ends, The Horne Section, Parkinson's Sunday Supplement, Graham Norton on Saturday and Richard Madeley on Sunday, amongst others.

At nabokov Re-Loaded, Joe  joins us to perform some originals, a medley of all the songs you can think of and an improvised 3 minute musical.

"A truly remarkable singer songwriter, not to mention outstanding piano player....I thank you for creating that most exciting of moments when, as a lover of good music, you know you have seen and heard something remarkable".  Sir Michael Parkinson.


RWD13_Katie Bonna_002(sml)

Katie Bonna is a performance poet, playwright and actress. Her poetry play Dirty Great Love Story, co-written with Richard Marsh, won a Fringe First Award at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she was also nominated for Best Actress by The Stage. It went on to run at Soho Theatre upstairs and then in New York as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival 2013. Other writing includes rapid response poetry piece Underlay (nabokov at Soho Theatre), one woman show The Celebrated Mrs Inchbald (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and the U.S.); The Glass Tower (Red Handed Theatre Company) and Liquorice & Smoke-Rings (PULSE Festival). Katie is currently creating a new show I Love You 44% with nabokov's Joe Murphy, for which she is travelling back to her teenage years and facing the forgotten horrors and delights which lurk there. She has performed poetry at Latitude, Larmer Tree and Meadowlands festivals, appeared on Channel 4 as part of the Random Acts series and at nights including Hammer & Tongue, Apples & Snakes and Homework. 

Katie will be performing an extract from her new piece exploring what makes us stop. Using poetry, story-telling and other people's memories, the show is based on recorded interviews with women of all ages.

"A simply dazzling performance".  The Stage 




Sara Mitra is a jazz singer, songwriter and bandleader.  Mitra’s debut album ‘April Song’ was launched at The Vortex Jazz Club and has garnered considerable critical acclaim since its release, with tracks played across Jazz FM, BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 6Music.

Playing a combination of eerie alt-folk murder-ballads, delicate originals and Leadbelly blues reworkings, at nabokov Re-Loaded Sara will be presenting work from her forthcoming second album, showcasing a powerful development in her vocal ability.

“Wisely wry…a refreshing mix of the real and romantic.” Jazzwise Magazine

“Her skill as a songwriter and honesty as a performer shine through on April Song.” Mercury Prize Recommends

“Especially talented” The Daily Telegraph

“Fresh sounding and free from cliche… Sara is left to her own special devices and nails a good melody everytime.” Blues and Soul Magazine

“When I heard the album, I immediately became a fan of her voice… Absolutely brilliant.” Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2



nabokov presents WikiTheatre at nabokov Re-Loaded

Get ready for a brand new piece of theatre, started by celebrated writer James Graham (This House) - and finished by you! ‘Wiki’ – a web application which allows people to write content in a collaboration with others.

‘Theatre’ – dramatic performances as a branch of art.

WikiTheatre is your chance to work with one of the UK's most exciting writers in a brave new theatrical experiment to be performed LIVE at our relaunch party - NABOKOV RE-LOADED on Sunday 10th November at Soho Theatre.

Here's how it works:

1. James Graham will write the OPENING to a brand new 15 minute piece of work. It might be a scene, a monologue or some lyrics. Whatever it is, it's just a beginning.

2. Then anyone can pick up the torch. By emailing content to, YOU can offer the next piece of the puzzle. It can be anything. A follow on scene, a piece of dance, music, poetry, cabaret, verbatim script; absolutely anything as long as it is no more than 5 minutes long and is a response to and evolution of the previous part.

3. From all the submitted suggestions, we'll select and publish PART 2 on Friday November 1st, and then we'll throw it open again for submissions to offer the FINAL PART of the jigsaw. Again, we'll be looking for innovative, intelligent and creative ideas that respond and develop the previous sections. Each part must only be 5 minutes long. We'll publish the finished pieces, in whatever forms they have been submitted, on Thursday 7th November. If we use your work we'll use it unedited and in its entirety, with your name attached or not as you wish.

4. And then the world's first ever WikiScript is complete! On SUNDAY NOVEMBER 10th at NABOKOV RE-LOADED we'll premiere the full 15 minute piece LIVE to our audience at Soho Theatre.

So, get ready for a piece of collaborative theatre full of all the radical energy and glorious democracy of the internet generation...

Book your tickets to NABOKOV RE-LOADED, on Sunday 10th November at 4pm, using the link below:


Trainee Assistant Producer opportunity

Our producer Paul Jellis is looking for a trainee assistant producer to work with him across a range of projects in the second half of 2013. As well as producing for nabokov, Paul is also producer for interactive, immersive and site specific company Bad Physics, and also works across a range of freelance projects and associate positions.

The role will consist of a mixture of working on specific projects and general assistance in the ongoing running of the companies he works for.

This will be a part time, flexible position, with negotiable hours. The ideal start time would be June 2013 and run through to the end of the year, with a possible extension into 2014. Although there will not be a fixed salary offered for the role, some fees will be offered on a project basis.

Known projects to include:

  • A brand new nabokov production with Watford Palace and on tour
  • The return of nabokov’s hit show BLINK in India, at Soho Theatre and on tour
  • The development of a nabokov production with the MC and rapper Dizraeli
  • THE ADVENTURE - An interactive mystery story for children at the Edinburgh Fringe, Royal Exchange and on tour (Bad Physics)
  • An interactive storytelling show for the Royal Horticultural Society (Bad Physics)
  • The independent development of a new multi-disciplinary production

Suitable candidates should have at least a year of producing experience and two relevant references. Although fees will be discussed on a project basis, this is primarily intended as a trainee position and remuneration will reflect this.

Please send a covering letter and CV to by Friday 10th May. Interviews will take place between 13th- 15th May.

Final Vox Pop team and story announced...

We're pleased to announce that the story which got the most votes was:

E - From The Daily Mail: A national sex strike! Spain's 'high-class hookers refuse to sleep with bankers until they open up credit lines to cash-strapped families'

Our teams now have exactly one week to come up with an artistic response which will be performed live at the Soho theatre on Sunday 22nd at 6pm.

Tickets from:

And here's our final team...

Team 4: Josh Roshe, Annabel Wigador and Flabbergast Theatre

Annabel Wigoder was a member of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester where Martin Amis bullied her into writing a novel. She pays the bills working in script development for indie film/TV production company Headline Pictures, is the Artistic Director of emerging theatre company Bee Stung, and previously worked for Film4. Her latest play was longlisted for the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, a sitcom for BBC Laughing Stock, and she recently took part in an invitation-only mentorship programme led by Kudos Film & TV. Her work has been staged in various places around London and Manchester including the Old Red Lion Theatre, the Deaf Institute and First Draft Theatre’s April Showers festival.

Joshua Roche is the Resident Assistant Director at the Soho Theatre, where he is assisting Steve Marmion and Max Roberts on Utopia and reading Soho Writer's Centre. Josh is also the Artistic Director of Fat Git Theatre, a company devoted to grotesque adaptations of absurd stories. Fat Git's new production UNINVITED is touring to the Edinburgh Festival and the London Fringe later this year. Josh graduated from Warwick University where he read English with Creative Writing and directed for the Warwick Arts Centre and the IATL studio and NSDF11. Josh has worked with Ian Rickson, The Tricycle Theatre, Fail Better Theatre Company and Beestung Productions.

Flabbergast Theatre sets out to make uncompromising exciting physical theatre drawing on the Bunraku style of puppetry and a belief that all theatre should be engaging and sweaty. We endeavour to create theatre through an extensive and collaborative research and development process using performers from many disciplines including dance, clowning, acting and puppetry, we develop existing texts and new devised pieces bringing an innovative and unpretentious approach to our work.

Third Vox Pop team

Team 3: Oscar Toeman and Freddy Syborn

Oscar Toeman's previous direction for nabokov includes The Ballad of the Copper Revolution (Old Vic Tunnels).

Other direction includes Hey Brother! (Finborough Theatre), Be Yourself (Theatre 503), and The Stanhope Sisters (The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath).

As an assistant director, he has worked with Simon Godwin, Lucy Bailey,  Blanche McIntyre, and Tim Carroll, who he is assisting again later this year

Freddy Syborn is currently filming Bad Education, the BBC3 sitcom he co-wrote with Jack Whitehall. It stars Whitehall, Sarah Solemani, Mat Horne and Michelle Gomez.

Syborn has co-written a Sky Little Cracker, and written jokes for - amongst others - Live At The Apollo, Have I Got News For You, Hit The Road Jack, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, My Funniest Year, Mock The Week, Comic Relief and Stand Up For The Week.

His plays have been staged in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London, including at the Roundhouse and the Soho Theatre. They've been described by the British Theatre Guide as "the most exciting and exhilarating pieces of new theatre on the Fringe.


Vox Pop team 2/Voting closes at 5pm today

We're pleased to announce our second team for Vox Pop/2. Don't forget to get your votes in before 5pm today:

Tickets from:

Team 2: Dan Herd, Andrew Doyle, Jonny and The Baptists, Rosie Wyatt, Harry McEntire

Dan Herd is Artistic Associate of Soho Theatre. He has worked as a director at The Old Vic, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Soho Theatre, Arcola Theatre, Theatre503, The Old Red Lion, King's Head Theatre, Samuel Beckett Theatre (Dublin) and Public Theater (New York). In addition, he has directed over ten comedy and theatre productions at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as short work at Latitude Festival. Dan has worked as associate and assistant director at Lyric Hammersmith, The Old Vic, Soho Theatre, Theatre503 and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Andrew Doyle is a playwright and stand-up comedian. His plays include: Borderland (7:84 Theatre Company, Scotland), Darker Side Down (Arad Goch Theatre, Aberystwyth), Shamlet (King’s Head, London), Cockfight (Canal Café Theatre, London), Jimmy Murphy Makes Amends (BBC Radio 4) and The Second Mr Bailey (BBC Radio 4). Andrew is a regular on the stand-up circuit and has appeared in a number of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including: Christie & Doyle’s Axis of Evil (with Bridget Christie) at the Underbelly, Sex and Hugs and Forward Rolls (Five Pound Fringe) and The Holy Trinity (PBH Free Fringe).  He was also the principal writer on the sketch show Pop Tarts at the Pleasance Courtyard.  At last year’s festival Andrew appeared in his debut solo stand-up show: Andrew Doyle’s Crash Course in Depravity.

Jonny and The Baptists are the world's hardest working comedy blues band (as well being the world's only comedy blues band). Fresh off their tour of UK and Croatia, their monthly residency (Jonny and The Baptists Mid Week Crisis) at The Vandella, and their first single "Do It In The Library" released with a video directed by Dawson Bros, they bring their satirical brand of heartfelt blues to the nabokov's Vox Pop at Soho Theatre. 3 voices, two guitars and a violin: the blues has never been so f***ing funny.

Rosie Wyatt graduated from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2010. Theatre includes - 'Mogadishu' (Lyric Hammersmith, UK Tour) 'Love Love Love' (Paines Plough, UK Tour and Galway International Festival) and 'Bunny' (nabokov, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, UK Tour, Soho Theatre and Brits off Broadway at 59E59 New York.) The one woman show 'Bunny' was awarded a Fringe First and Rosie was long listed for Whatsonstage Theatre Awards Best Solo Performance and nominated for the Manchester Theatre Awards Best Studio Performance. Television includes - Doctors.

Harry McEntire made his theatre debut in 'Spring Awakening' at Lyric Hammersmith (and transferred into the Novello Theatre). He has since appeared in ‘Punk Rock’ (Lyric Hammersmith, The Royal Exchange), ‘A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky’ (Lyric Hammersmith) 'Macbeth' (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre) and ‘Winterlong’ (Royal Exchange and Soho Theatre). He has also appeared in the Morecambe and Wise biopic, ‘Eric and Ernie’, ‘Prisoner’s Wives’ and the upcoming second series of ‘Episodes’ (all for the BBC).

nabokov's Brad Birch lets us in on the first day's rehearsals

Hello there. I’m Brad. I’m a playwright on the Present: Tense team and I’m writing a blog about our week of making a piece of theatre based on something we chose in the news. Firstly, the subject we chose is brilliant. BRILLIANT. I can’t say too much about it, but let me just say that I’m very excited about getting the lasers and the tigers and the half-robot half-rhino dancers into the space.

While us writers spent the weekend writing and the directors spent the weekend practicing their directions, today saw us meeting our actors and having a read-through of our scripts. Now, if you’re bored or waiting for a cheque then a week can seem a very long time. But when you’re putting on a play, a week goes faster than lighting and suddenly before you know it you’ve spent half your time just working out who wants sugar in their tea and you’ve got a whole show to organise. Nevertheless, we’re ploughing through.

Blog 2 pictures1

Newcastle and Gateshead are lovely (the central parts anyway – I haven’t seen the rest yet). Great big Georgian buildings and wide streets. I’m not exaggerating with GREAT BIG either – these buildings are bloody massive. Back achingly tall. You can see why Alan Shearer had almost two inches on most centrebacks in the premier league.

When we came down on the train on Friday there was a gang of bawdy melts coming to town for a stag-do. Thankfully, this behaviour is not representative of the town and if you’re thinking of coming to see our show on Saturday night then try the Italian by Live Theatre and the Baltic museum/gallery/gift shop on the Sunday.


Charlotte Bennett considers a name change... (this post is late and it's Gabriel's fault or something)

So day three of Vox Pop and it already feels like week three. Whoever knew you could do so much in so little time? Makes me think I should become more productive in my day to day life...On Tuesday we met with the cast for the first time to read through the first draft of the script that Gabriel had written overnight on Monday (I love working with quick writers.) As the play heavily incorporates sound and Gwilym's music, it was difficult for the cast to fully comprehend how the script would work. Gwilym's music is entirely unique and difficult to describe but once the cast heard the different sounds that Gwilym had created I spotted several sighs of relief on their faces that had previously worn the look of 'one week, one week, one week, and what do you mean sounds come out of shoeboxes?!'

The thing that time gives you is it allows ideas to develop and for things to settle before the first performance. Though working to a one week turnover also has its own means you have to work much more instinctively which is exciting and reminds you that

a) You do have instincts
b) You can trust them (mainly because you have to)

When we were given the trader story on Monday night, I was a little apprehensive as I am not too clued up on the topic and with only one week, I was well aware that I might very easily trip myself up. But once Gabriel and I talked through the story we found that what interested us both, was that it was essentially the tale of a man being surprisingly honest. And that this can be transferred and represented in many different scenarios and ways. So taking this, Gabriel has put this man into an abstract world which looks at trade exploiting basic human rights.

This suddenly all sounds very serious. I can promise you it is not. The characters are all representational of the different figures in the financial crisis they are big, bold, bizarre and the piece has a great sense of humour. I say all this like it is set in stone. Of course we are only on day 3 and looking at what we have already created in 3 days who knows what 4 more days could throw up? You could be watching aliens and cowboys by Monday night.

On a final and completely separate note in the small moments that I have not been thinking about the play or trying to find lots of shoeboxes (who knew shoeboxes would be such a hard find?!) I have been seriously considering a name change. Next to 'Gabriel Bisset-Smith' and 'Gwilym Gold' I sound like a right drag...maybe I should ask Nabokov to vox pop suggestions for that next...\


10 October 2011 // Time 7:45pm

Soho Theatre // Dean Street // London // W1D 3NE // Closest Tube: Tottenham Ct Rd / Leicester Sq.

Tickets // Price TBC // 020 7478 0100,


4 Stars from WhatsOnStage for YOUNG PRETENDER on tour!

Check out this great review from WhatsOnStage. Don't miss the show as it reaches its final three performances at the brilliant Hull Truck theatre. Click here to book tickets!

    “Young Pretender proved a hit with audiences and critics alike” 


    “captivated the audience

    “delivered with brash authenticity” 

Read the full review here



Wed 14 – Sat 17 September 2011 // 8:00pm // also 2pm on 17 Sept

Hull Truck Theatre // Ferensway // Hull // HU2 8LB

Tickets // £15, £10 concs. // 01482 323638,, or CLICK HERE!


After a well-earned few days rest, the Young Pretender company are back and ready to hit Watford!

With only three shows, make sure you grab your ticket before they all set out...

Opening tonight, the show will be followed by a Q&A session with the cast and crew and we will round up the evening with some fantastic entertainment from the sensational Emma Garrett...

Described as 'Dramatic Folk' ,Emma Garrett creates a unique and powerful atmosphere with moving and elegant songs. This Singer/Songwriter with Ukulele,Mandolin and Guitar has an eclectic set of influences leading to a bold collection with a Kate Bush and Annie Lennox twist.

Check out her myspace & Facebook pages:
Emma Garrett Singer/Songwriter

So if the show wasn't enough to get you to make that 15minute train journey from Euston, Emma should have you sprinting to the ticket barriers!

We're all bubbling with excitement at getting the show on its feet again and bringing the production back home to where it all began two months ago.

Head to Watford Palace Theatre to grab your tickets -

See you there!

nabokov x

Emma Garrett Promo Pic