For the last General Election, on 6 May 2010, I went to a party at the Paramount Club at the top of Centrepoint. All night we waited up, for no dramatic climax, no result.
This time round, I can’t imagine that any self-respecting, remotely politically minded, theatre lover will want to be anywhere but crammed into the 250-seat Donmar Warehouse (if they’re very lucky) or glued to Channel 4. And, even if there is another hung Parliament (geez, let’s pray not), we’ll be guaranteed some great, thought-provoking drama.
The Vote, the latest collaboration between the brilliant young playwright James Graham (This House, Privacy) and Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke, is one of those ground-breaking, once-in-a-lifetime events. And not just a theatrical event: a first for both theatre and television.
Graham’s play is set in a fictional polling station, where the votes are rolling in and the volunteers include a range of quirky but dedicated characters. The Donmar has teamed up with Channel 4 and, on the night of the election (Thursday 7 May 2015 – just in case it’s not already circle in red on your calendar), will be broadcasting live from this fictional polling station, while the real results come in from thousands of other stations around the country.
Every announcement about The Vote just gets me a little more excited. Today’s, revealing “initial” casting is tantalising. Amongst the company are Dame Judi Dench, returning to the Donmar stage for the first time in nearly 40 years, alongside her daughter Finty Williams; husband and wife Rosalie Craig and Hadley Fraser (just seen in Rourke’s City of Angels at the Donmar); the multi-talented Mark Gatiss and Catherine Tate; Tony Award nominee Paul Chahidi; comedian Jackie Clune; musical diva Madalena Alberto; plus Nina Sosanya, Timothy West, Bill Paterson and on and on. (Scroll down for full details.) And remember, that’s “initial” casting. Wow.
Here’s what Josie Rourke herself has to say about the project of The Vote, said:
“Broadcast live to the nation on the night of the General Election, this is a unique opportunity for the Donmar to make a small theatre feel very big. Some of the nation’s greatest actors are coming together this election night to give theatre a seat at the table of a national event. Everyone involved is approaching this experiment with a sense of adventure. To work with a playwright and company of this calibre and significance on such a bold project is a dream come true.
“When James Graham and I collaborated on Privacy, we were attempting something no one had tried before. This is our next step in pushing the boundaries of how theatre speaks to audiences in a brave, new and popular language about the times in which we live.
“This huge acting company will be portraying a ninety minute slice of our nation as it goes to the polls. The scale and scope of this incredible company of actors is going to make this a very special event. This is the first time Judi Dench has been back on the Donmar stage since 1976. To have her at the heart of this incredible company of actors makes this great event a total joy.”
John Hay, Commissioning Editor for Arts at Channel 4, added:
“Lots of channels make programmes about artists, but at Channel 4 we try to give artists the chance to make programmes about us. The Vote is a major step forward in that long tradition. Josie told me when we first began talking about it we’d have a wonderful cast, but I’m still delighted and more than a little star-struck by the list. I’m hugely grateful to them for joining forces with her to realise James’ brilliant script, and to Twofour for bringing it to the screen in such an innovative way.”
I seriously cannot wait. Now, if only we could rig The Vote to ensure the Tories don’t get back in…
Just to ensure you have the full picture on this event, I have included the Donmar’s full press release below.
The Press Release
THE DONMAR IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CHANNEL 4 ANNOUNCES
– INITIAL CASTING FOR JOSIE ROURKE’S PRODUCTION OF THE VOTE BY JAMES GRAHAM: FISAYO AKINADE, MADALENA ALBERTO, JADE ANOUKA, NICHOLAS BURNS, PAUL CHAHIDI, JACKIE CLUNE, PANDORA COLIN, ROSALIE CRAIG, HEATHER CRANEY, JUDI DENCH, RACHEL DENNING, HADLEY FRASER, MARK GATISS, LLEWELLA GIDEON, ALICE HEWKIN, KADIFF KIRWAN, AÏCHA KOSSOKO, WANDA OPALINSKA, BILL PATERSON, PRASANNA PUWANARAJAH, NINA SOSANYA, CATHERINE TATE, YUSRA WARSAMA, TIMOTHY WEST AND FINTY WILLIAMS
– SET IN A FICTIONAL LONDON POLLING STATION, THE VOTE DRAMATISES THE FINAL NINETY MINUTES BEFORE THE POLLS CLOSE IN THIS YEAR’S GENERAL ELECTION. ON THAT EXACT DAY, MAY 7, AT THAT PRECISE TIME 8.30 – 10PM, THE PLAY WILL BE BROADCAST LIVE ON MORE4 FROM THE DONMAR STAGE.
– A NATIONAL TELEVISION EVENT AND A FIRST FOR THEATRE AND TELEVISION, THE VOTE IS AN UNPRECEDENTED EXPERIMENT AND A MAJOR INNOVATION IN THEATRE AND TELEVISION FROM CHANNEL 4, THE DONMAR AND THE TEAM BEHIND EDUCATING YORKSHIRE
– THERE WILL BE TWO WEEKS OF PERFORMANCES AT THE DONMAR IN THE RUN-UP TO THE LIVE BROADCAST ON MAY 7. ALL OF THESE TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE THROUGH A BALLOT. THE BALLOT OPENS 10AM ON MONDAY 30 MARCH 2015
The Donmar Warehouse in partnership with Channel 4
A play for theatre and television by James Graham
Live broadcast from the Donmar on May 7. Broadcast on More4 8.30pm – 10pm. Limited Donmar run in the build-up to live broadcast, 24 April – 6 May.
Director Josie Rourke
Designer Robert Jones
Lighting Designer Oliver Fenwick
Sound Designer Nick Lidster for Autograph
Composer Michael Bruce
Movement Stephen Mear
Following their celebrated collaboration on Privacy, writer James Graham and Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Josie Rourke will reunite for The Vote, a drama and unique television event set in a fictional polling station, during the final ninety minutes of voting on election day.
An ensemble cast of actors will represent the team of polling station volunteers, polling officers, and the diverse array of characters that are the voting public, with initial casting that includes Fisayo Akinade, Jade Anouka, Madalena Alberto, Nicholas Burns, Paul Chahidi, Jackie Clune, Pandora Colin, Rosalie Craig, Heather Craney, Judi Dench, Rachel Denning, Hadley Fraser, Mark Gatiss, Llewella Gideon, Alice Hewkin, Kadiff Kirwan, Aïcha Kossoko, Wanda Opalinska, Bill Paterson, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Nina Sosanya, Catherine Tate, Yusra Warsama, Timothy West and Finty Williams.
The Vote will be an unprecedented national television event, broadcast on More4 at the precise time in which the drama is set, and deploying cutting-edge fixed rig technology (as used on popular Channel 4 series Educating Yorkshire, 24 Hours in A&E and One Born Every Minute) to capture theatre performance for the very first time. Set in a fictional London Polling Station on Thursday 7th May 2015 in the final ninety minutes before the polls close, The Vote will be beamed directly into living rooms around the UK at that precise time 8:30-10pm live from the Donmar Stage. Channel 4 has commissioned Twofour – the award-winning factual, features and entertainment producers behind Educating Yorkshire – to produce the broadcast.
The Vote looks at what happens in Britain on election night through the eyes of those at the polling station. Every five years we assert our right as citizens to uphold or replace our government – but, characteristically, we do it in the most unremarkable and understated of ways –at local parish churches, primary schools and community centres across the country. Set in a fictional polling station, James Graham’s new play shines a light on the diverse, diligent and often hilarious individuals who turn these unglamorous settings into places where history is made.
There will be two weeks of performances at the Donmar (Friday 24 April – Wednesday 6 May) in the run-up to the live broadcast. All of these tickets will be made available through a ballot, which opens on Monday 30 March at 10am via www.donmarwarehouse.com.
James Graham (Writer) returns to the Donmar following his recent play Privacy. James’ other theatre writing credits include The Angry Brigade (Paines Plough), Finding Neverland (American Repertory Theatre, Boston), This House, Bassett (National), The Whisky Taster and SuddenLossOfDignity.com (Bush), Sons of York, Little Madam, Eden’s Empire for which he won the Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play, Albert’s Boy (Finborough), Tory Boyz (Soho) and Coal Not Dole (Edinburgh Festival). Television and film credits also include Coalition, Prisoner’s Wives, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Khao San Road, Caught In A Trap, X + Y, Gypsy Boy, Garagistas and Mrs Queen Takes the Train.
Josie Rourke (Director) is Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. At the Donmar she has directed The Recruiting Officer, The Physicists, Berenice, The Weir (which transferred to Wyndham’s Theatre), Coriolanus (which was broadcast to cinemas around the world in partnership with National Theatre Live), James Graham’s play Privacy, and the Olivier Award nominated production of City of Angels. In 2013 she directed The Machine, a new play by Matt Charman, as part of the Manchester International Festival, which also played at Park Avenue Armory, New York. Rourke trained at the Donmar, under Sam Mendes, through the theatre’s annual Resident Assistant Director Scheme. Prior to the Donmar, she was Artistic Director at the Bush Theatre, London, from 2007, leaving in 2011 having opened the new Bush Theatre and won Theatre of the Year. Her 2010 production of Men Should Weep by Ena Lamont Stewart ran in the Lyttelton at the National Theatre. In 2011 her production of Much Ado About Nothing, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, ran in the West End at Wyndham’s Theatre and received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Revival.
Commissioned for Channel 4 by John Hay, Commissioning Editor for Arts and David Brindley, Commissioning Editor for Documentaries. Executive Producer for Twofour is David Clews.
Theatre includes: As You Like It (New Wolsey); Refugee Boy, Waiting for Godot (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Neighbors (Hightide).
Television includes: Ordinary Lives; Cucumber; Banana; Fresh Meat.
Theatre includes: Evita (Dominion/UK Tour); Piaf (Leicester Curve); Jekyll & Hyde, Godspell (Union); Les Misérables (Barbican/International Tour); Over The Threshold (George Square, Edinburgh Festival); Zorro (Garrick); Chicago (Kuala Lumpur); Fame (UK Tour); Threepenny Opera (Teatro Aberto); Aladdin (Old Vic).
Film includes: Senseless; The Mirror; Mulheres, Bah!.
Opera includes: The Nose (Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos).
For the Donmar: Henry IV; Julius Caesar (also St Ann’s Warehouse).
Theatre includes: Chef (Edinburgh Fringe); Omeros, Romeo and Juliet (also Bolton Octagon), Hamlet (Globe); Clean (Traverse / 59E59); Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (NT); Twelfth Night (York); The Penelopiad (RSC).
Film includes: The Dark Channel; A Running Jump.
Television includes: Doctor Who; Shakespeare Uncovered; Law & Order.
For the Donmar: The Recruiting Officer.
Theatre includes: Breeders (St James’); Kafka’s Dick (Theatre Royal Bath); The Magistrate (NT); 66 Books (Bush); The Village Bike (Royal Court); Ghost Stories (Lyric/Duke of York’s).
Film includes: The Lady in the Van; War Book; The Worlds End.
Television includes: Coalition; Uncle; Crackanory; The Tractate Middoth; The Crimson Field.
For the Donmar: Privacy.
Theatre includes: Shakespeare in Love (Noel Coward); Twelfth Night (Globe/Apollo/NY); as well as numerous credits for the Royal Court, RSC, National, Young Vic and West End. Paul is an RSC Associate Artist
Film includes: The Voices; Venus; The Libertine; Notting Hill.
Television includes: Him & Her; The Tunnel; What Remains; The Hour, Holy Flying Circus.
For the Donmar: Henry IV.
Theatre includes: Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory); 9 to 5 (UK tour); The Belle’s Stratagem (Southwark Playhouse); Mogadishu (Lyric Hammersmith); Mamma Mia (International tour), Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace), Julie Burchill Is Away (Soho), A Wedding Story (Soho/Birmingham Repertory), Showstopper (Arts/Edinburgh Fringe), Bitchin’ (Edinburgh Fringe/Arts).
Film includes: Breathtaking.
Television includes: The Bill; Eastenders; Waking the Dead.
Theatre includes: Cornelius (NY); The Dark Earth & The Light Sky, The House of Bernada Alba (Almeida); After The Dance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (NT); If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet (Bush).
Film includes: Lady in the Van; I Give It A Year; A Bunch of Amateurs; Run, Fat Boy, Run.
Television includes: The Hollow Crown; Mr Selfridge; Titanic; Life Begins; NY-Lon
For the Donmar: City of Angels.
Theatre includes: Miss Julie (Chichester Festival); NT 50th Gala, The Light Princess – Evening Standard Award, Table, London Road (NT); Macbeth (Manchester International Festival); Finding Neverland (Leicester Curve); Aspects of Love (Menier Chocolate Factory).
Film includes: London Road.
Television includes: Scrotal Recall; Spooks; Miranda; My Family and Other Animals; Casanova.
For the Donmar: Passion Play.
Theatre includes: Made in Dagenham (Adelphi); Handbagged, Pink, You Me & Wii (Tricycle); Joe Guy (Soho); I Like Mine With A Kiss (Bush).
Film includes: Child 44; Vera Drake; Mark of Cain.
Television includes: Line of Duty; EastEnders; Holby City; Life of Riley; Torchwood.
For the Donmar: Madame de Sade (Wyndham’s).
Theatre includes: Peter and Alice (Noël Coward); Amy’s View (NT/Aldwych/NY); A Little Night Music, Absolute Hell, Anthony and Cleopatra (NT); Juno and the Paycock, Macbeth (RSC).
Film includes: Philomena; Shakespeare in Love; Mrs Brown; Iris; Notes on a Scandal; the role of M in seven James Bond films.
Television includes: Esio Trot; Cranford.
Accolades include six Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, an Academy Award and ten BAFTA Awards.
Theatre includes: See How They Run, Dick Whittington (UK Tour); Curious Curios (NT Watch This Space); Volpone (Gatehouse); Story Whores (Southwark Playhouse).
Television includes: Life’s Too Short: Special.
For the Donmar: City of Angels; Coriolanus; The Machine.
Theatre includes: The Pajama Game (Chichester Festival); Les Misérables (Queen’s/Palace); The Pirate Queen (Hilton, NY); Pacific Overtures (Leicester Haymarket); Assassins (Sheffield Crucible); Longitude (Greenwich); The Shaughraun (Abbey Dublin).
Film includes: Les Misérables.
Television includes: Holby City; The Wrong Mans; Sons of Liberty; Doctor Who.
For the Donmar: Coriolanus; The Recruiting Officer.
Theatre includes: 55 Days (Hampstead); Season’s Greetings (NT); All About My Mother (Old Vic).
Film includes: Our Kind of Traitor; Frankenstein; Match Point; The League Of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Shaun of the Dead.
Television includes: Mapp and Lucia; Wolf Hall; Sherlock; Game of Thrones.
Theatre includes: Play Mas (Orange Tree); Birthday (Royal Court); Family Man (Stratford East); Sunshine Boys (Bath); Amen Corner (Bristol Old Vic).
Film includes: Paddington; Black Sea; Harry Enfield The Movie; Second Coming; Nativity.
Television includes: Birthday; Delivery Man; Absolutely Fabulous; Big School; Nighty Night.
Theatre includes: To Avoid Precipice Cling To Rock (Babolin); Three More Sleepless Nights (Robinson).
Television includes: Fish Bowl; Stella; Teacup Travels; Game of Thrones; Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars.
For the Donmar: City of Angels.
Theatre includes: Dorfman Opening Gala, Home (NT); Jesus Christ Superstar (UK & AUS Tour); Sister Act (UK Tour); Black Snow (Moscow Arts); The Red Knot (RNCM).
Television includes: Crims; Call the Midwife.
Theatre includes: Antony & Cleopatra (Chichester Festival); The Taming of the Shrew (RSC); Welcome to Thebes, The Observer (NT); La Dispute (Abbey, Dublin).
Film includes: Wasted; Radiator; L’Ivresse Du Pouvoir; The Fever.
Television includes: Kingmakers; Casualty; Eastenders; Skins; In Deep.
Radio includes: The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Film includes: A Monster Calls; Black Book; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Television includes: Parch; An Inspector Calls; Man Down; The Trials of Jimmy Rose; All At Sea; Peaky Blinders; Doctors; The Secret; The Mimic; Gameface; A Poet in New York; Cardinal Burns.
Theatre includes: The Low Road, Death and the Maiden (also Duke of Yorks’) (Royal Court); And No More Shall We Part (Hampstead); Earthquakes In London, Guys and Dolls (NT); Ivanov (Almeida).
Film includes: The Witches; Comfort and Joy; Truly Madly Deeply; The Killing Fields.
Television includes: Law and Order UK; Criminal Justice; The Crow Road; The Singing Detective; Auf Weidersein Pet.
Theatre includes: Dara, Emperor and Galilean, Hamlet, London Assurance (NT); Henry V (Noel Coward); The Letter (Bush); Twelfth Night (RSC); Thyestes (Arcola).
Film includes: The Gunman; Diana; Mobius.
Television includes: Critical; Apocalypse Slough; New Tricks.
Radio includes: The Raj Quartet.
For the Donmar: Privacy; The Vortex.
Theatre includes: Apologia (Bush); Love’s Labour’s Lost, As You Like It (RSC); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Novello); Fix Up (NT).
Film includes: Manderlay; Love Actually.
Television includes: W1A; Last Tango in Halifax; Silk; Shetland; Wizards vs Aliens; Treasure Island
Theatre includes: Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory); Much Ado About Nothing (Wyndham’s); Season’s Greetings (NT); Under the Blue Sky (Duke of York’s); Some Girls (Gielgud).
Film includes: Nativity 3 – Dude, Where’s My Donkey; Superbob; Gulliver’s Travels; Monte Carlo.
Television includes: The Catherine Tate Show; The Office US; Big School; Nan – One Off Special and Nan’s Christmas Carol; Doctor Who.
Theatre includes: Sonnet Sunday (Globe); Shared Memories (Kali/Curve); Crystal Kisses, Everybody Watches TV, Summer Love (Contact, Manchester); New Writing Festival (Curve); Bulletproof Soul, Bolt-Hole, Three-Way (Birmingham Rep).
Film includes: Last Days On Mars; My Brother the Devil; Stolen.
Television includes: Critical; Dracula; Savage.
Theatre includes: Uncle Vanya (Chichester Festival); A Number (Menier Chocolate Factory/Fugard, South Africa); Quarter (UK Tour); Coriolanus (RSC/International Tour); King Lear (NT).
Film includes: Ever After; Joan Of Arc; Endgame; Iris; The Day of the Jackal.
Television includes: EastEnders; Last Tango in Halifax; Bleak House, Bedtime, Brass.
For the Donmar: Luise Miller.
Theatre includes: The Armour (Defibrillator); Dangerous Corner (Birmingham Rep / UK Tour); Macbeth, The Lightning Child, Bedlam (Globe); Twelfth Night (NT); Bedroom Farce (Rose / West End).
Film includes: The Importance of Being Earnest; Gosford Park; Ladies in Lavender.
Television includes: Cranford; Born & Bred.