In a remote corner of Galway, middle-aged and unsophisticated Maureen Folan’s life is one of dutiful, isolated drudgery, caring for her demanding mother Mag. Keen to escape the unending suffocation which she sees as her fate, Maureen grasps possibly her last chance of love and happiness. Mag, however, has different plans for her daughter. Tensions mount as their secrets and lies are painfully exposed. Lives are changed as the action moves to its shattering climax. This is Martin McDonagh’s (The Banshees of Inisherin) first play. With his now trademark black humour and juxtaposition of the mundane and surreal, this compelling exploration of hopes, relationships, fear and loathing is flecked with dark comedy and establishes him as one of today’s great playwrights.
Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall with music by Paddy Cunneen.
This sparkling, fast-paced, uproariously blunt 1970s comedy is divided into four parts. Each scene, set in the same suite in the Beverley Hills Hotel, offers an evening of razor-sharp wordplay filled with humour and bitter-sweet moments. A verbal jousting match between a New York workaholic and her laid-back ex husband as they bicker over custody arrangements. A conventional middle-aged businessman who wakes to find a stranger in his bed and his wife at the door. An Academy Award nominee hoping for the Oscar that will revive her flagging career. Two couples creating comedic mayhem as they end a disastrous vacation they should never have started. “Immensely funny and surprisingly moving, this is Neil Simon at his most humane and compassionate best...” Directed by Ann Stutz. This production is a reprise from September 2022, which was curtailed following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
A Gripping drama about Ruth Ellis. Ruth Ellis, was the last woman to be hanged in Britain. A divorcee with a young child, Ruth works in nightclubs where there’s more than just a drink on offer. The girls work hard, play hard - and dream of a movie-star life. When she meets David Blakely, a wealthy racing driver, she falls in love but her passion becomes an obsession. Fame comes - but not in the way she imagines. Why does their relationship end in murder? Why does she plead ‘not guilty’ but offer no defence? Why does she show no remorse? And who is she trying to protect? Amanda Whittington's gripping play takes a fresh look at the woman behind the headlines.
RULES FOR LIVING, By Sam Holcroft We’ve all been there, the family Christmas Day from hell. Everyone tries really, really hard but there comes a point when something (or someone) snaps and all hell breaks loose. Edith is a matriarch who runs Christmas day like a military operation; her husband is recovering from an operation; her two sons and their respective other halves don’t get along; and her teenage granddaughter won’t come downstairs to Christmas dinner. But this play, first produced by the National Theatre in 2015, is much more than a gloriously riotous and uproarious comedy. Intriguingly, we get to see the characters’ motivations, their internal “rules”, via a real-time dashboard on the set. Book seats now to see what happens! Rules for Living is both genuinely touching and side-splittingly funny. It’s a seasonal tale of disharmony, ruined expectations, and overindulgence when an extended family gather for Christmas dinner. Premiered with great success at the National Theatre in 2015. Directed by Ken Walsh.
This sparkling, fast-paced, uproariously blunt 1970s comedy is divided into four parts. Each scene, set in the same suite in the Beverley Hills Hotel, offers an evening of razor-sharp wordplay filled with humour and bitter-sweet moments. A verbal jousting match between a New York workaholic and her laid-back ex husband as they bicker over custody arrangements. A conventional middle-aged businessman who wakes to find a stranger in his bed and his wife at the door. An Academy Award nominee hoping for the Oscar that will revive her flagging career. Two couples creating comedic mayhem as they end a disastrous vacation they should never have started. “Immensely funny and surprisingly moving, this is Neil Simon at his most humane and compassionate best...” Directed by Ann Stutz.
Winner of the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. David Harrower’s Blackbird is a hard-hitting and challenging exploration of a forbidden relationship. At his workplace, 55-year-old Ray is shocked to be visited by a young woman, 27-year-old Una. Fifteen years earlier, the two had a sexual affair, for which Ray was arrested and imprisoned. As they recollect their experience from both sides emotions of guilt, rage, shame, anger, hurt and love are exposed. Without moral judgments, the play’s mesmerizingly natural script never shies away from the brutal truth. Contains strong language and adult themes, including descriptions of sexual activity. Suitable for ages 16+. Running time 75 minutes no interval.
1930s Berlin. Decadence. Excess. Ambition. All under Hitler’s rising star. Christopher Isherwood’s novel ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ is brought to vivid, moving and satirical life in ‘I am a Camera’. The musical ‘Cabaret’ was based on the same book. A rich cast of characters inhabit the play, from Sally Bowles, outrageous, outspoken yet vulnerable cabaret artiste determined if necessary to sleep her way to the top through conflicted German Jews and a wealthy American to an amusing and empathetic German landlady who is convinced that Hitler will prove Germany’s salvation. "I am a Camera" was written by John van Druten.
By Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by John Mortimer. Directed by Heather Wass and Liz Cullum. An intriguing and entertaining version of Dickens’ classic tale.
By Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by John Mortimer. Directed by Heather Wass and Liz Cullum. An intriguing and entertaining version of Dickens’ classic tale. A large cast of 23 will be bringing this classic tale to life in John Mortimer’s lively witty version of the famous story. There have been many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novel, but this one was originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the dialogue is very faithful to the original story. It is also full of music and laughter, thrills and chills, and promises to be ideal family entertainment for the Christmas season. Two weeks in December is a new departure for Shoestring. On 12 to 14 December, when we are not performing, the Arts centre cinema will be operating.
"My Mother Said I Never Should", directed by Estella Todisco. Charlotte Keatley’s award-winning play, "My Mother Said I Never Should," is the most commonly performed work by a female playwright worldwide. A story about the difficult relationships between mothers and daughters, the play explores the lives and relationships of four generations of women: Doris, Margaret, Jackie and Rosie. Their loves, expectations and choices are set against the huge social changes of the twentieth century. Keatley says of her work, "I think it’s a play that anyone - any age or gender - can relate to. It’s about family… and love, how we show it or withhold it; ambition, what that means for each generation. It’s both funny and moving, so it’s a play that makes us react… When I’m writing plays I think about this: I want the audience to laugh and cry and be truly moved, in one evening."
By Dion Boucicault, adapted by Richard Bean. Dion Boucicault, the Irish genius of London theatre in the age of Dickens, wrote the brilliantly funny "London Assurance" in 1841 and thereby created, in Sir Harcourt and Lady Spanker, two of the great comic roles of the English stage This new version of the play, revised by Richard Bean, who wrote the hilarious “One Man, Two Guvnors”, was an outstanding success at the National Theatre in 2010.
Following on from Stamford Shoestring’s animated reading of extracts from Widows by Ariel Dorfman, Amnesty’s Chile Coordinator, Carla Torres hosts a Q&A session about the current unrest in Chile and ‘Eyes on Chile’ report. - She is joined by Chile Solidarity Network founder Carole Concha Bell and Amnesty members Nina Patel and Jorge Diaz-Munoz. - ________________________________________ You can register for Chile in Focus here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9178058278031949072 ________________________________________ For more information contact: email@example.com
Launching for one night only for the Festival of Social Justice, Stamford Shoestring Theatre company will stream a filmed animated reading of extracts of Widows by Ariel Dorfman with Tony Kushner. - This powerful, haunting and deeply poetic play tells of the impact on the families of Los Desaparecidos, The Disappeared, in Chile after Pinochet seized power in 1973, but could just as easily apply to many countries around the world and the events happening today in Burma or China. - Followed by Chile Awakens Q&A. - (This event is split into two parts with a short interval in-between. Keep your screens on and take a break!) ________________________________________ You can register for Chile in Focus here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9178058278031949072 ________________________________________ For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Anton Chekhov in a new version by David Hare. Set in late 19th century Russia, where people are experiencing change and facing an uncertain future, Chekhov’s great comedy is very relevant today. David Hare’s new version was premiered at Chichester in 2015 and transferred to the National Theatre in 2016 to great acclaim. On a summer’s day a young writer named Konstantin puts on his bold new play starring his beautiful neighbour, Nina. The assembled family audience includes his mother, a selfish fading star of the provincial stage, and her lover a famous novelist. What happens during and after the performance will change not just the course of the summer, but the lives of everyone involved for ever. 3rd-7th March, 2020 Tickets £10 (£8)
Love or knowledge: which would you choose? This was the dilemma faced by university women students well into the 20th Century. Girton College, Cambridge, was one of the first colleges in Britain to admit women. The ladies match their male peers grade for grade but they are not allowed to graduate. They leave university stigmatised as ‘blue stockings’ – without degrees and unmarriageable; regarded as ‘unnatural, educated women’. The year is 1896 and the lively play tells the story of Tess Moffat and a group of ‘first-years’ determined to win the right to a degree. Their story is followed over one tumultuous year as they encounter the many hurdles in their way - the class divide, misogyny, and the university opposition – not to mention the distractions of love. Finally the whole issue is put to the vote… Tickets £10 (£8 concession)
Zoë wants a baby. Maggie wants her mum to follow her halfway round the world. Steve wants his mother-in-law to sell her Lincolnshire home. Hugo wants to get to know his new family. And Muriel? She has ideas of her own, but nobody’s bothered to ask her what they are. This wry and fast-moving comedy exposes the ties that bind us together – and how easily they start to fray.
We are lucky enough to be part of the roster of visiting companies to the beautiful Minack Theatre in Cornwall, and will be performing our highly successful play The Roses of Eyam in July 2019. This remarkable true story tells of a village in Derbyshire stricken with plague through the arrival from London of a box of clothing. The villagers make a heroic decision, persuaded by the present and former Rectors, to prevent its spread by remaining within the village and containing the disease at the certain risk of their own lives. As the plot unfolds, we experience the human tragedies and even comedies that ensued and the idealism and the courage required to live within that idealism. Live music is played throughout this production to set the scene and to create the authentic atmosphere of 17th Century England. Traditional English folk songs have been chosen to fit with the action of the play. There are tunes particularly associated with Derbyshire and tunes from the collection of John Playford, a 17th Century collector and publisher of dance music.
A cast of 40 actors and musicians tell this remarkable true story of a 17th Century Derbyshire village stricken with plague through the arrival of an infected box of clothing from London. The villagers make a heroic decision, persuaded by the present and former Rectors, to prevent its spread by remaining within the village at the certain risk of their own lives. As the plot unfolds, we experience the human tragedies and even comedies that ensue, and the idealism and the courage required to live within that idealism. Live music is played throughout our production to set the scene and to create the authentic atmosphere of 17th Century England. Traditional English folk songs have been carefully chosen to fit with the action of the play.
Written by David Haig | Directed by Kay Roberts A play to commemorate the end of World War One in November 1918. Rudyard Kipling’s determination to secure a commission for his short-sighted son to fight in the Great War triggers a bitter family conflict, leaving the world-famous author devastated. Kipling is torn apart by his love for his son, his family and his devotion to King and Country. Please see the Gallery page for photographs of rehearsals and costumed characters.
A very silly tale of not much at all! The play is newly created comedy about evergreen characters, known and enjoyed by several generations; it’s a romp of great silliness involving multiple role playing and enormous energy. Bertie Wooster is unwisely co-opted by relations to help achieve various things: obtaining a cow creamer; resolving romantic conundrums; and other similar frivolities. He is patiently assisted by his long-suffering butler, Jeeves.
The idealistic Dr Stockmann discovers dangerous flaws in the new spa development that promises huge rewards for his home town and its inhabitants. As he battles against vested interests, important questions are raised about personal loyalty, press freedom and the greater good. With wit and considerable humour, the play explores these moral complexities, while still honouring the dark heart of the original. This fast-paced, pared-down version of Ibsen’s classic by Rebecca Lenkiewicz packs a powerful punch in its treatment of a story with continuing relevance today.
Kindertransport was written by Diane Samuels. Separated from her German Jewish parents at the age of nine, Eva is brought to England on the Kindertransport with the promise of a new life. Under the care of her kindly foster mother Lil, the young Eval slowly acclimatises to her new life and, at length, believing her parents to have perished in the camps, tries to re-invent herself as English. But memories and fears are not so easily erased. When her own daughter starts to question the story her mother has woven over the years, the protective shell that Eva, now calling herself Evelyn, has built around herself begins to crack. This modern classic about one woman’s struggle to come to terms with her past is told with tenderness and warmth, across the generations and the years. The issues explored remain as pertinent to us today as when the events of the late 1930’s unfolded in Germany and England.
Information about past productions can be found under EVENTS / PAST EVENTS and images can be found in the GALLERY. To navigate to a list of every play Shoestring has ever performed click on "Read more"Read More
Stamford Shoestring on FacebookLearn More
Stamford Shoestring on InstagramLearn More
Shoestring on YouTubeLearn More
...and gain the opportunity to take part on stage or behind the scenes. Make friends and socialise with people who share a common passion for theatre. Not to mention the annual dinner and summer bar-b-que! Members receive regular newsletters, giving details about productions, invitations to other non-Shoestring events and special offers to Stamford Arts Centre shows. Members can take part in productions. To join, fill in the online form below (under construction!). Or click on LEARN MORE to reach and download the membership form. Or email the Membership Secretary at email@example.comLearn More