Tale of unlikely friends thrown together by circumstance, Essence will premiere at VAULT Festival, London’s biggest, boldest and wildest arts and entertainment festival. Book your tickets now!
Sarah Henley‘s comic drama runs at The Vaults from 21 to 23 February 2020.
Peckham 2020. Laquaya (15 – loves hip-hop, feminism, Peperami) has broken into Elyot’s house. Elyot (32) is reclusive, eccentric and probably quite lonely. He’s making a model boat and listening to Beethoven whilst checking off his life week by week on a chart on the wall. Watch this slightly odd couple go on a humorous and heart-warming journey from denial to acceptance, overcoming extreme difference and fear of vulnerability to realise that deep down, the essence of each of them make for a perfect match.
Essence explores what it’s like to be lonely, how much it takes to let people in, and how the messy bits of life are ultimately where the gold lies. Expect music (classical vs hip-hop), dancing (passable vs all out dreadful) and heavy doses of Great British awkwardness thrown in for good measure.
Playwright Henley’s previous plays include Getting Out, Getting Away and From Where I’m Standing. Her 2016 VAULT Festival show Burkas and Bacon Butties, co-written with Shamia Chalabi, has been optioned for TV, workshopped by the Royal Shakespeare Company and will receive a full run at Park Theatre this summer. She has also received Off West End Award nominations for Muted, Another Way and Streets, all projects on which she collaborated with Tori Allen-Martin.
The pair, who have known each other for more than 20 years, also recently launched Burn Bright, an organisation to support female writers with time, mentoring, advice and bursaries, following their experience working on the Manchester International Festival and Young Vic production Tree.
Henley and Allen-Martin once again team up to present Essence, as Allen-Martin takes the director’s reins on this production. Her previous directorial credits include Streets and Boxed at The Vaults, A Splintered Woman at Theatre 503 and Who I Could’ve Been at The Space.
Newcomer Nina Barker-Francis stars as Laquaya, with Timothy O’Hara (The Mousetrap, Shakespeare in Love) playing Elyot.
Running from 28 January to 22 March 2020, VAULT Festival is a massive, eclectic arts celebration spanning venues across Waterloo. In 2019, it attracted more than 79,000 audience members to see 428 different shows staged by more than 2,000 artists.
In 2020, it also promises a host of fantastic productions, including one-woman show The Journey of a Warlike Mind, Grid Theatre’s Camden Fringe hit Red Peter, tale inspired by by the incredible story of Mary Prince, Sold, and immersive gaming experience Jekyll/Hyde.
Essence runs at Crescent – The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN from 21 to 23 February 2020, with performances Friday to Sunday at 6.15pm, matinee Saturday at 3.15pm. Tickets are priced £13. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!