Nuclear War, Buried and Graceland

London theatre news: Thursday 9 January 2020

Off-West End - Shows

Newly appointed Artistic Director of the Old Red Lion, Alexander Knott, presents a thought-provoking triptych, headlined by the first revival of Nuclear War from playwright Simon Stephens.
Nuclear War / Buried / Graceland at Old Red Lion Theatre

Image: Old Red Lion Theatre

The Old Red Lion's newly appointed Artistic Director Alexander Knott is to present a thought-provoking trio of plays, spearheaded by the first revival of Nuclear War from the multi-award-winning Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time adaptation, Sea Wall, and Heisenberg).

Mr Stephens' text is accompanied by two premiere productions from emerging talent, Buried by David Spencer and Graceland by Max Saunders-Singer.

The programme will run at The Old Red Lion from 3 to 21 March 2020.

The three plays find commonality in the exploration of human suffering and how we survive the unimaginable, resonating with today's fraught social divisions in a not-so-United Kingdom.

Alexander Knott commented ...

"Being able to stage the first revival of Nuclear War by Simon Stephens, which was something of a cult smash when it premiered at the Royal Court, is going to be a thrilling and cathartic theatrical experience.

I believe that this triptych of plays, when brought together, will tell the story of human endurance in the face of the insurmountable, and hopefully engage and galvanise a new audience for the theatre, on a fringe level."

The experimental and physically charged, Nuclear War, will be directed by Mr Knott in his directorial debut for the venue.

Mr Stephens' suggestive open text acts as a stimulus for interpretation, creating a revival far removed from the initial premiere at the Royal Court.

It is a heart-breaking and soul-stopping movement piece about a woman who needs to experience everything life has to offer, in order to feel something again.

Buried is the harrowing true story of Max Spencer, who was buried alive in World War II, written by his son David Spencer and performed by his real-life grandson, James Demaine.

This intergenerational and groundbreaking anti-war play is a truthful examination of the human condition.

Rounding off the triple-bill is the darkly comic Graceland, a monologue from an overworked and harassed science teacher who is one small spark away from combustion.

Pushed to the edge, and with his personal life unravelling, there's a looming darkness in the classroom.

Following the current trend of 'box-set theatre', the triptych is a new model for the venue, using a world-renowned playwright to support emerging talent, building a new way of seeing and supporting new writing.

Show listing information


“All I can hear. Are the thoughts scratched onto the inside of my head.”

Simon Stephens' NUCLEAR WAR, a heartbreaking and soul-stopping piece for movement is revived in a collaboration between multiple award winning and critically acclaimed theatre collectives, BoxLess Theatre, Bag of Beard, Grindstone & Take Two Theatricals, accompanied by the premieres of two new pieces of theatre.

An unmissable triple bill production.

Nuclear War premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2017.

“I want, one more time, to be absolutely in the moment”.

In 1943, north of Salerno, Italy, Max Spencer was buried alive.

He was the father of BURIED's writer, David Spencer.

Its actor is his real Grandson.

A story passed across generations.

A harrowing true story, a truthful examination of the human condition and a non-linear, groundbreaking anti-war play - BURIED comes from twice Verity Bargate award winning international writer, David Spencer.

“Oxygen. Fuel. Heat. Combustion.”

In Graceland, Max Saunders-Singer's darkly comic new piece, Mr. Chrichton, an overworked science teacher, is at breaking point, but he's still stood in front of the class banging his head on the whiteboard.

There's something hidden in his desk, and he's determined to teach 9D one last lesson.

Don't push him over the edge, children, he might just open that drawer ...



James Demaine


Anthony Cozens

Nuclear War:

Zöe Grain

Freya Sharp



Nuclear War by Simon Stephens

Buried by David Spencer

Graceland by Max Saunders-Singer

Composer: Samuel Heron

Alexander Knott (Director: Nuclear War / Joint Director: Buried)

Ryan Hutton (Joint Director: Buried)

Sonnie Beckett (Joint Director: Graceland)

Max Saunders-Singer (Joint Director: Graceland)

Set designer: Anna Kezia Wlliams
Sound: Samuel Heron
Movement: Georgia Richardson (Movement Director: Nuclear War)
Production: Boxless Theatre, Bag Of Beard, Grindstone & Take Two Theatricals


Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John Street


From: Tuesday 3 March 2020

Closed: Saturday 21 March 2020


Standard: £18.50

Concessions: £16.50


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Nuclear War / Buried / Graceland

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