Theatre you need to see before the 2015 General Election

Political theatre has been declared the nation’s debating chamber. Democracy and theatre have always gone hand in hand – both starting their western lives in ancient Greece. So what is on the British stage in the run up to the General Election? Plenty. Get stuck in.

Click on the images below to open the slideshow.

Have I missed something particularly pertinent or prescient? Let me know in the comments.

The Absence of War – Headlong

17 March – 2 May

It’s now or never for George Jones. The charismatic leader of the Labour Party needs to get out of opposition and into Number Ten. Plagued by a hostile media, beset by divisions in his party and haunted by his own demons, George has three weeks to convince the Great British Public that he’s their man. But how much compromise is he prepared to make? How can you truly appeal to the man in the street from the House of Commons? And which tie should he wear for Prime Minister’s Questions? Dates for the touring venues here. (Liverpool Playhouse, Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Oxford Playhouse, Rose Theatre Kingston, Cambridge Arts Theatre).

The Absence of War - Headlong. Photo Mark Douet.

The Vote – Donmar Warehouse

24 April – 7 May

Set in a fictional London polling station, The Vote dramatises the final ninety minutes before the polls close in this year’s general election. On that exact day, May 7, at that precise time 8.30 – 10pm, the play will be broadcast live on More4 from the Donmar stage. Stellar cast announced including Judi Dench, Catherine Tate and Mark Gatiss. Tickets available by ballot (how democratic) from 10am Monday 30 March on the Donmar website.

The Vote 2015

Who Cares – Royal Court Theatre (Jerwood Upstairs)

10 Apr – 16 May

A new, verbatim play about the National Health Service – Britain’s best gift to itself. Michael Wynne interviewed nurses, doctors, managers, politicians, paramedics and historians. Presented in promenade.

NHS - Royal Court Who Cares

The Candidate – Theatre Delicatessen

29 April – 16 May

Your candidate needs you to participate in a unique polling session, helping to shape his ideals, policy and image. Explores the complex relationship between the public and its prospective leaders. From Lab Collective.

The Candidate - Lab Collective

Feed The Beast – Birmingham REP / The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

16 April – 2 May (Birmingham REP) / 6 – 16 May (The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich)

Delves into the world press and politicians in a time of spin-doctors and Leveson Inquiries, from the award-winning writer of DamagesWhipping It UpRoaring Trade and the highly-acclaimed BBC programmes Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Feed the Beast - three stripes

The Angry Brigade – Bush Theatre

30 April – 13 June

Against a backdrop of Tory cuts, high unemployment and the deregulated economy of 1970s Britain, a young urban guerrilla group mobilises: The Angry Brigade. Their targets: MPs. Embassies. Police. Pageant Queens. From James Graham (Privacy) – a Theatre Royal Plymouth and Paines Plough production.

Harry Melling The Angry Brigade

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire – National Theatre

15 April – 22 June

In the aftermath of a bloody and brutal civil war, England suffers food shortages, economic instability, and a corrupt political system threatens. The Parliament men who fought against the tyranny of the King now argue for stability and compromise, but the people are hungry for change. Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, by Caryl Churchill, tells the story of those who went into battle for the soul of England and speaks of the revolution we never had.

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire NT

Tony’s Last Tape – The Bridge House Theatre SE20

27 April – 17 May

Based on the diaries of Tony Benn, one of Britain’s most respected, divisive and celebrated politicians, this new play examines the struggle of a man who realises that maybe it is time to withdraw from the fight, to let others take over, but just doesn’t quite know how. Transferred from successful run at Nottingham Playhouse.

Tony's Last Tape

Golem – Young Vic / 1927 production at Trafalgar Studios

14 April – 22 May

If you need picture language to get your head around late capitalism: this is the play for you. I mean, with *the* best digital design I have seen on stage, catchy songs and live performances – just go – I didn’t blog this show because I needed to invent an entirely new language to describe it. Do we control modern technology (and capitalism), or does it control us?

Salzburger Festspiele 2014 - Golem - Landestheater Salzburg

Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre & Clarion – Arcola Theatre 

11 March – 2 April (Shrapnel) / 15 April – 16 May (Clarion)

Arcola’s season focuses on global politics and the media. Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre is a gripping exploration of military power, government surveillance and the state of the Middle East. Clarion, starring Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks, is a new comedy about free speech, nationalism and the state of the British media.

Clarion Arcola

Multitudes – Tricycle Theatre

19 February – 21 March

Asks probing questions about what it means to be British – especially for British Muslims. Set in the run up to the Conservative Party Conference, in bradford, where peace protests are ongoing and debate surrounding immigration policy is rife. Review here.


Posh – Salisbury Playhouse

12 March – 4 April

Laura Wade riles against the entitled establishment in this biting satire.


Not theatre strictly, but…..

Matt Forde: 24 Hour Political Party People – On Tour

9 – 27 May

Comedian on the great and good in the run up to the election – political satire at its best.