Firebird to open in the West End

Posted on 7 December 2015.

Posted in: Announcements

Firebird to open in the West End

Following a sell-out run at Hampstead Downstairs, Phil Davies’ searing debut play Firebird opens at Trafalgar Studios from 17 February 2016.

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.

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 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.

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