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.



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.

Welcome to the new nabokov!

Welcome to nabokov's brand new website - launched to coincide with our autumn 2013 season of new work. This season marks a milestone in nabokov’s history as we celebrate over a decade of explosive creative activity and re-launch ourselves for the decade to come.

Over the last three years alone we’ve toured nationally and internationally, won awards, produced over 50 world premiere commissions, collaborated with over 500 artists and most importantly been supported so strongly by you through it all.

This season is the start of a new era in our mission to place new writing at the heart of British culture, as we seek to create a writer-led theatre that embraces all the innovation, complexity and diversity of the 21st Century.

Autumn 2013 offers the world premiere of VIRGIN, a witty, provocative, compelling new play from E. V. Crowe (KIN and HERO at the Royal Court), produced with our long standing partners Watford Palace Theatre. BLINK by Phil Porter, our smash hit from Edinburgh 2012 (‘Funny, fresh and appealing’ **** The Telegraph) co-produced with Soho Theatre returns to London and for a national and international tour.

And NABOKOV RE-LOADED, our season launch party, will be a thrilling showcase of pop-up work, packed full of the UK’s hottest emerging talent.

There are new members of the team and a pioneering new model of collaboration with Forward Theatre, Pieces Productions and Theatre Uncut.

So it’s a big autumn full of new adventures! We hope to see you at a nabokov show soon to continue supporting, challenging and engaging with us.


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.

Our final blog from last week, courtesy of Harry Napier

It's Friday, that'll be showday then,..AAAAARRRGH!Looking back over the weeks blog it's amazing to think where we started from and all the stuff we've covered by talking, devising, jamming, rapping, riffing,etc(but mainly it's amazing that we found hot Vietnamese food outdoors in the middle of winter. Lifesaver!).

I know that we've still got a lot to get through before we perform and as we are led by Rowan through beat boxing in 7's and 8's, juggling instruments, song and text, I'm confident of staying with the flow second by second. It's remembering what we did one minute ago that proves to be a problem.

The scenes we are working on start to take shape. The top of the show is a great burst of energy, a booze cruise set to Rowan's rap moving seamlessly to some cheesy folk(I thought it was beautiful actually, what am I like?) which is cut back to reality by some punchy verse. Awesome.

There's a few touches of genius on the way, Ben turning an upturned bin in to a Bodhran by the subtle use of some aboriginal clapping sticks, a fire-extinguisher becomes a tolling bouy, Josie and Remy act drunk getting down and dirty on the dance floor and Rachel's beautiful singing, oh yeah, and the rapper wasn't bad too.

Our audience was small but perfectly formed as some folk couldn't make it, so Jellis and Murphy elected to film our highly polished performance for immediate cinema release, thanks lads! It's like a recipe for instant memory loss, but we get through it pretty well in the end.

What a week. Over-stimulated I'm thinking, mmm, maybe it would be ok to work with this crazy bunch of creatives again, mainly because Paul and Joe got the drinks in. Nice one.

At least at the end of it all I can claim a new proficiency: rapping in futuristic Bristolian, mental.