Hampstead Theatre's FIREBIRD Transfers to Trafalgar Studios Tonight

Hampstead Theatre's FIREBIRD Transfers to Trafalgar Studios Tonight

Phil Davies' debut play FIREBIRD, directed by Hampstead's Artistic Director Edward Hall, will open at the Trafalgar Studios in the New Year. This searing new thriller movingly illustrates how easily young people are exploited and used.

The production comes to Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY from tonight 17th February through Saturday 19th March 2016. Press Night: Monday 22nd February, 7pm.

Tia's mouthy attitude and confident swagger hide a vulnerable teenager whose tough start in life dangerously draws her to AJ. Older, good-looking and charismatic, AJ shows her a kindness she's never known before. But this kindness comes at a price.

Responding to nationwide cases of child sexual exploitation throughout Britain, including those in Davies' hometown of Rochdale, FIREBIRD shows how easy it can be for vulnerable young people to fall victim to sexual abuse. The play powerfully dramatises how the innocent are all too often failed by the authorities who are meant to protect them.

FIREBIRD is a story of hope - unfortunately based on truth.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society, says, "When we first saw FIREBIRD at Hampstead Downstairs, we were bowled over. Its power to highlight the brutal reality that child victims of this crime face and that our services across the country deal with every day is remarkable. It is fantastic that the play is opening in the Trafalgar Studios, which will help raise awareness about this terrible truth."

FIREBIRD was recently free-streamed on Timeout.com to support The Children's Society's 'Seriously Awkward' campaign to urge the Government to strengthen the law so that young people at risk of sexual exploitation, or those who have already experienced it, get the protection they need.

Edward Hall comments, "Theatre has an incredible power to provoke discussion and sometimes even to bring about change. Without the platform for new writing, this power rapidly diminishes. Hampstead Downstairs exists for moments like now - unearthing new work that has the power to inspire, to challenge and to provoke; stories that reflect what's going on in the world in which we live today."

Phil Davies comments, "FIREBIRD is my first full-length play and I can't believe the journey it's been on. I was thrilled when I found out I was going to be given the chance to try it out Downstairs, for it to then open at the Trafalgar Studios, having also been live-streamed by Time Out for the brilliant Children's Society, I feel very fortunate indeed. If the play can in some way have a positive impact on vulnerable young people then I will be massively proud."

Edward Hall has directed some of Hampstead's biggest hits including the Olivier Award-winning musical Sunny Afternoon, Chariots of Fire (both of which transferred to the West End) and Wonderland.

This production is part of 'Hampstead Downstairs at the Trafalgar Studios' following Four Minutes Twelve Seconds by James Fritz and The Wasp by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.

IF YOU GO:

FIREBIRD by Phil Davies

Wednesday 17th February - Saturday 19th March 2016

Monday - Saturday 7.45pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees 3pm

100 minutes (no interval)

Tickets are available for £15, £25, £30 and Groups £19.50 from the Trafalgar Studios Box Office and www.atgtickets.com/venues/trafalgar-studios, 0844 871 7632. Trafalgar Studios is located at 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY.

Trafalgar Studios is located on Whitehall. The nearest underground stations are Charing Cross (on the Bakerloo and Northern lines), Embankment (on the Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District lines), Westminster (on the Jubilee, Circle and District lines) and Leicester Square (on the Northern and Piccadilly lines). The nearest rail station is Charing Cross.

Please note that FIREBIRD contains themes of an adult nature.

Downstairs, beneath Hampstead Theatre's Main Stage, lies an intimate 90 seat studio theatre that is solely dedicated to producing new writing. Since opening in 2010, Hampstead Downstairs has produced over 40 new plays. Hampstead Downstairs' mission is to identify and develop new plays and produce them in a sheltered environment, giving writers a unique chance to develop their work through rehearsal and preview. Downstairs allows writers maximum creative flexibility to develop their craft in a practical way through production and exposure to a paying audience. Much of the work from Downstairs goes on to open formally in other spaces. This has included Hampstead Main Stage, Trafalgar Studios, the Edinburgh Festival, the West End and more recently the internet as part of Hampstead's pioneering free streaming program.

Phil Davies' theatre work includes short plays How Not To Murder (Arcola Theatre); Up The Dale (Royal Exchange Theatre/Queen Elizabeth Hall for Paines Plough); Adjusted (Interplay Europe) and The Makings (ATG). Phil trained at the Royal Court Young Writers Programme where he developed his first script Adjusted which won the Rod Hall Memorial Award and gained him an attachment with Paines Plough. Most recently Phil has been working alongside Synergy Theatre Project developing scripts with inmates at Feltham Young Offenders Institution, as well as teaching in a secondary school in South East London. FIREBIRD is Phil's debut full-length play.

As Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre, Hall's productions include FIREBIRD, Wonderland; Sunny Afternoon; Raving; Chariots of Fire; No Naughty Bits; Loyalty and Enlightenment. He will be directing David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Rabbit Hole, in the New Year. Television includes Partners in Crime; Restless; Downton Abbey; Strike Back; Spooks; Kingdom; Trial and Retribution; Miss Marple - Sleeping Murder; Cutting Edge: Safari Strife and Richard III.

The Children's Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side. The Children's Society is one of the UK's leading charities fighting child sexual exploitation. It works to support the victims of this crime, prevent more children from being abused and campaigns to tackle the problem head on. Every day, through its frontline workers in communities across the country, The Children's Society helps thousands of children who have been sexually exploited or who are at risk of abuse. More information can be found at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/firebird.

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