Soho Theatre Presents BOYS ON THE VERGE OF TEARS

Featuring five actors in fifty roles the cast is: Matthew Beard, David Carlyle, Calvin Demba, Tom Espiner and Maanuv Thiara.

By: Mar. 18, 2024
Soho Theatre Presents BOYS ON THE VERGE OF TEARS
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Soho Theatre has announced the cast for Boys on the Verge of Tears which has its world premiere at Soho Theatre next month. The play, written by Sam Grabiner, is winner of Soho Theatre's prestigious Verity Bargate Award, and is brutal, tender exploration of what it is to be a man.

Featuring five actors in fifty roles the cast is: Matthew Beard, David Carlyle, Calvin Demba, Tom Espiner and Maanuv Thiara.

Matthew Beard can currently be seen in Scott Frank's Monsieur Spade (AMC) opposite Clive Owen, and has just wrapped the second season of Funny Woman (Sky). His performance in And When Did You Last See Your Father? gained him nominations for a British Independent Film Award and an Evening Standard British Film Award. Other film credits include: The Imitation Game, An Education, and Johnny English Strikes Again.

On stage, Matthew received a Tony nomination for his performance in Skylight, directed by Stephen Daldry. He played Edmund in the West End in the Young Vic's critically acclaimed production of Long Day's Journey Into Night opposite Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville, which was followed by sell out runs in New York and Los Angeles. 

David Carlyle is a BAFTA-nominated Scottish actor. His extensive theatre credits include You Stupid Darkness! (Paines Pough), The Telltale Heart directed by Anthony Neilsen and Carpe Diem directed by Jo McInnes both at the National. Television credits include Lip Service (BBC Three), The Bodyguard (BBC), and Russell T. Davies' acclaimed It's A Sin, which saw David nominated for the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. He has recently been seen in the second series of Iain Stirling's Buffering (ITV) and series two of Screw for Channel 4. He will next appear in Dinosaur (BBC/Hulu). 

Calvin Demba was nominated for Emerging Talent at the Evening Standard Awards for his leading role in Patrick Marber's play The Red Lion directed by Ian Rickson at The National Theatre.  He has worked with James Macdonald, director of The Wolf From The Door, and Simon Godwin who directed Routes, at the Royal Court. Calvin Demba's big screen credits include: Idris Elba's Yardie and Annabelle Attanasio's Mickey And The Bear, which made a splash at Cannes in 2019. On the small screen Calvin can be seen in Amazon's The Rig. He starred in Mike Bartlett's highly praised BBC1 drama Life and Sky Art's drama Madonna and Basquiat. He was nominated for Young Shooting Star at the Screen Nation Awards, and Best Emerging Talent at Movie Video & Screen Awards for his role in E4's Youngers.

Tom Espiner's theatre includes: Witness for the Prosecution (County Hall, London), Life of Pi (Sheffield Crucible/ West End - Wyndham's Theatre) and Berberian Sound Studio (Donmar Warehouse). His film credits include Stoned and his television includes: Chloe, The Crown, and Ancient Rome. Tom is co-founder of Sound&Fury Theatre Company and has co-created and performed in all its productions. 

Maanuv Thiara most recently wrapped on Ben Wheatley's Generation Z for Channel 4 and Apple's series Prime Target, directed by Brady Hood. He currently features in the second series of ITV's Trigger Point. Prior to this he starred in Jed Mercurio's ITV crime drama Di Ray alongside Parminder Nagra. In theatre, Maanuv most recently starred in Vinay Patel's adaptation of The Cherry Orchard at the Yard, after taking the stage in Indhu Rubasingham's production of The Father And The Assassin at The National Theatre. He featured alongside Andrew Scott in the West End transfer of Hamlet, directed by Robert Icke and featured in A Passage To India at the Park Theatre, directed by Sebastian Armesto.

Boys on the Verge of Tears

A father waits for his son. Kids hang around skipping school. Fights break out after nights of drinking. Boys on the Verge of Tears is a bold, kaleidoscopic tale of violence and vulnerability, set entirely in the confines of a public toilet.

Boys on the Verge of Tears is directed by James Macdonald, whose highly acclaimed productions include premieres by Caryl Churchill, Annie Baker and Sarah Kane. It is produced by Soho Theatre.

Boys on the Verge of Tears was selected from 1,500 entries to the Verity Bargate Award, which is sponsored by Character 7, the producers of The Night Manager and Culprits.

The judging panel included industry experts James Graham (Dear England; The Crown), April De Angelis (Jumpy; Royal Court; West End), and BAFTA-nominated Theresa Ikoko (Girls). Previous panellists have included Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Laura Wade and Russell T Davies.

Boys on the Verge of Tears is Sam's professional debut. He is a graduate of École Philippe Gaulier, and holds an MFA in playwrighting from Columbia School of the Arts, where he studied with the playwrights Lynn Nottage and David Henry Hwang. He is a MacDowell fellow, and his plays are published by Faber & Faber.

Creative Team:

Sam Grabiner – Writer 

Sam is a playwright and Boys on the Verge of Tears is his debut production. He is the 2024-25 Writer-in-Residence at The National Theatre Studio and is under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club. He is a MacDowell Fellow, and a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme. Alongside his theatre work, he is under commission at the BBC and is developing his debut feature with 2AM.

James Macdonald – Director 

James was an Associate and Deputy Director at the Royal Court for 14 years and was also a NESTA fellow from 2003 to 2006. For the Royal Court includes: Glass.Kill.Imp.Bluebeard, One For Sorrow, The Children (& MTC/Broadway), Escaped Alone (& BAM, NYC), The Wolf From The Door, c*ck(& Duke, NYC). Other theatre includes: Infinite Life (National Theatre) The Cherry Orchard (Yard Theatre); Night Of The Iguana, John, The Changing Room (West End); #Aiww - The Arrest Of Ai Weiwei (Hampstead); The Father (Theatre Royal, Bath/Tricycle/West End); Bakkhai, (Almeida); Roots (Donmar); Cloud Nine (Atlantic, NYC); King Lear, The Book Of Grace (Public, NYC); Top Girls (MTC/Broadway); John Gabriel Borkman (Abbey, Dublin/Bam, NYC); Troilus Und Cressida (Schaubuehne, Berlin); 4.48 Psychose (Burgtheater, Vienna); Love's Labour's Lost (Royal Exchange, Manchester); The Rivals (Nottingham Playhouse); The Crackwalker (Gate); The Seagull (Crucible, Sheffield); Miss Julie (Oldham Coliseum); Juno & The Paycock (Contact, Manchester); Prem (Bac/Soho Poly).

Ashley Martin-Davis – Set & Costume Designer 

Theatre includes: Mary, Jude, Filthy Business, Rabbit Hole, Hapgood, Wonderland, #AIWW: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei and 55 Days (Hampstead Theatre); Leonora Christina (Odense Teater); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Liverpool Everyman); The Last Days of Troy (Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Betty Nansen Theatre, Copenhagen, Denmark). His extensive opera work includes productions at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and opera houses throughout the USA and Europe.

Peter Mumford – Lighting Designer 

Recent theatre designs are: Rock ‘n' Roll (Hampstead Theatre), Three Sisters (National Theatre), and The Ferryman (Royal Court, West End, Broadway). He received an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance and an Olivier Lighting Award for The Bacchai (NT) and was a double 2019 Tony nominee for Best Lighting Design for The Ferryman and King Kong in New York. 

Ian Dickinson – Sound Designer 

Ian is an award-winning sound designer with extensive credits in the UK and internationally. Recent theatre includes: The Witches (National Theatre), 42nd Street (Leicester and UK tour), 2:22 A Ghost Story (West End, Los Angeles & UK tour), and The Ocean At The End Of The Lane (UK Tour & Duke of York's). Ian was the recipient of an Olivier Award and Drama Desk Award for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night–Time. He has also received Olivier and Tony nominations for his work in London and on Broadway, most notably for Company, Angels in America, Rock & Roll, Jerusalem and 2:22.

Zoë Thomas-Webb – Costume Supervisor 

Previous credits as Associate Costume Designer include: Nye (National Theatre), Groundhog Day (Old Vic), Black Superhero (Royal Court), and Lessons in Love and Violence (Gran Teatre del Liceu). Previous credits as Costume Supervisor include: Long Day's Journey Into Night (Wydnhams), Hamilton (UK tour), Rock Follies (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Alex Kampfner – Assistant Director 

Alex is a multilingual theatre director based in London. She was shortlisted for the Genesis Future Directors Award and longlisted for the JMK Award in 2023. 

Claire Gerrens – Lighting Associate 

Recent theatre includes: Drop The Dead Donkey (UK Tour), Peter Pan (Crossroads Pantomimes, London Palladium), Branwen:Dadeni (Welsh Millennium Centre), and Sinatra The Musical (Birmingham Rep).

Enric Ortuño - Intimacy & Fight Co-ordinator 

Enric is a Spanish Fight and Intimacy Director based on the UK. Theatre includes productions at: Theatre Royal Bath, Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre, National Youth Theatre, National Theatre Connections, and Northern Stage. Intimacy coordination for Warner Bros, Apple TV, BBC, Netflix, Channel 4, Amazon Studios, Sky TV.

Amy Ball CDG – Casting Director 

Recent theatre includes: Hills of California, Lyonesse, Good, Uncle Vanya, The Birthday Party, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harold Pinter Theatre); Nachtland (Young Vic); Hamnet (RSC); Jerusalem (Apollo); Leopoldstadt (Wyndham's); La Cage aux Folles (Regent's Park). 

Tom Nickson – Production Manager 

Recent theatre includes: Mind Mangler (UK Tour, Apollo, Off Broadway, Virgin Voyages) Groan Ups, Magic Goes Wrong (Vaudeville, Apollo, UK Tour) Coriolanus, Standing at the Sky's Edge, and Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Crucible).

Eve Allin – Associate Producer 

Eve is a producer for theatre. She is Executive Producer at Broccoli Arts, productions include This Might Not Be It by Sophia Chetin-Leuner (Bush Theatre, 2024), Salty Irina by Eve Leigh (Summerhall, 2023), and Before I Was a Bear by Eleanor Tindall (Soho Theatre, 2022).  

To coincide with the opening of Boys on the Verge of Tears submissions to the next Verity Bargate Award, sponsored by Character 7, open on Thursday 11 April. This year's submission window is open until 11am on Monday 17 June.

The Verity Bargate Award is open to new writers living in the UK and Ireland, who have had fewer than three professional productions. The winner will be announced in late 2024 and will receive:

  • £8,000 for an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the prize-winning play
  • A full London run of the play staged at Soho Theatre
  • Workshops and rehearsed readings of the play in India and USA

For the first time in the history of the Verity Bargate Award, Soho Theatre Partners with leading new-writing venues in India and USA to hold workshops and readings of the prize-winning play. This is a career-defining opportunity for the winning playwright to build new relationships outside the UK and for their play to receive international exposure. It builds on Soho Theatre's mission to develop sustained cultural exchange with global partners in India and USA, increasing opportunities for international artistic collaboration.

This year the judging panel hail from film, TV and theatre and bring a wide range of perspectives to the judging process, from both inside the theatre industry and beyond. The panel is chaired by Stephen Garrett of award-winning independent production company Character 7 (Culprits, The Undoing, The Night Manager), and includes playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar (The Father and the Assassin at National Theatre), multi award-winning screen and stage actor Alan Cumming, Olivier Award-winning playwright Moira Buffini (Handbagged at Hampstead Theatre / West End; Dinner at National Theatre / West End), and writer, director and Nouveau Riche artistic director Ryan Calais Cameron (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy at Royal Court Theatre / West End; Typical at Soho Theatre). Further judges to be announced.

In the months leading up to the submission window, Soho Theatre will travel the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, to bring new-writing workshops to emerging playwrights. Led by Soho Theatre's Theatre team: including Head of Theatre David Luff, Creative Associates Pooja Sivaraman and Alessandro Babalola and Verity Bargate Award Literary Associate Max Elton, these workshops equip participants with the tools and inspiration to write a new play, encouraging first time writers to take their first steps in playwriting.

Venues around the UK and Ireland currently confirmed to host workshops include: Abbey Theatre, Dublin; Curve Theatre, Leicester; Chichester Festival Theatre; Wales Millennium Centre; Northampton Royal & Derngate; Oxford Playhouse; Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh; Royal Exchange, Manchester; Tron Theatre, Glasgow; Leeds Playhouse; and Bristol Old Vic.


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