our calendar

29.10.13 to 24.11.13
Billy the Girl by Katie Hims
12.03.14 to 14.06.14
NOW TOURING: Clean Break, Royal Court Theatre & Royal Exchange Theatre present Pests by Vivienne Franzmann
12.03.14 to 14.06.14
Clean Break, Royal Court Theatre & Royal Exchange Theatre present Pests by Vivienne Franzmann
Clean Break is recruiting a Development Manager


Pests trailer
Rolly and Pink scrap - photo by Jonathan Keenan
'I'd while away da hours / conferrin' wiv da flowers / if I only had a brain...' - photo by Jonathan Keenan
Sinéad Matthews as Pink - photo by Jonathan Keenan
Ellie Kendrick as Rolly - photo by Jonathan Keenan
Rolly and Pink in their den - photo by Jonathan Keenan
photo by Jonathan Keenan
photo by Jonathan Keenan
Ellie Kendrick as Rolly - Photo by Katherine Leedale
Sinéad Matthews as Pink - Photo by Katherine Leedale
Director Lucy Morrison - Photo by Katherine Leedale
Pests by Vivienne Franzmann
Joanna Scotcher's set design
Kim Beveridge's video design creeps across the set
written by Vivienne Franzmann
directed by Lucy Morrison
12.03.14 to 14.06.14

Design: Joanna Scotcher
Lighting Design: Fabiana Piccioli
Sound Design: Emma Laxton
Video Design: Kim Beveridge

ROLLY: Ellie Kendrick
PINK: Sinéad Matthews

Dates and venues

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Dates: 12 – 22 March 2014
Box office: 0161 833 9833 / royalexchange.co.uk
Tickets: £12 / £10

Royal Court Theatre, London
Dates: 27 March – 3 May 2014
Box office: 020 7565 5000 / royalcourttheatre.com
Captioned Performance: Tuesday 29 April
Tickets: £20 (Mondays all seats £10) / £15 concessions
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Dates: 22 – 24 May 2014
Box office: 0131 228 1404 / traverse.co.uk
Tickets: £15.50 / £12.50 concessions
Studio, Everyman Playhouse, Liverpool
Dates: 28 – 31 May 2014
Box office: 0151 709 4776 / everymanplayhouse.com
Tickets: £12 / £10
The Drum, Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Dates: 3 – 7 June 2014
Box office: 0175 226 7222 / theatreroyal.com
Tickets: £14 / £10
Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham
Dates & times: 11 – 14 June 2014
Box office: 0121 236 4455 / birmingham-rep.co.uk
Tickets: £12 / £9 concessions

Share equal da child-care? When done you get so fuckin’ middle- class? What, you gonna get a nanny next? Gonna start quaff quaffin’ red wines an’ chattin’ shit ‘bout dem rocketin’ house prices?

Pink loves Rolly. Rolly loves Pink. And Pink loves getting bombed off her face. Sisters from the same nest. Both trapped in a tiny rotting world. Both cuffed to a past that refuses to release them. One wants out.  The other needs her in. Trouble is that when you complete each other, you’re nothing on your own.

Commissioned by celebrated theatre company Clean Break, Pests is the searing new play from Vivienne Franzmann (Mogadishu, The Witness) winner of the 2008 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2008, George Devine Award 2010 and the Pearson Playwright Bursary for the Royal Court 2012. She developed the play during her time as Resident Playwright with the company, which has included a number of residencies in women’s prisons, secure mental health and community settings.

The play is co-produced with Royal Exchange Theatre, which premiered Vivienne’s award-winning debut play Mogadishu in 2008, and Royal Court Theatre, which commissioned and presented The Witness in 2012.

As Resident Playwright at Clean Break, Vivienne Franzmann’s work also included writing Sounds Like an Insult, a short play commissioned by Clean Break in association with National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the Department of Health. Performed by graduates of the company’s education programme, the production tours to criminal justice audiences, policy-makers and politicians.  

Ellie Kendrick plays Rolly. For the Royal Court, she appeared in The Low Road and In the Republic of Happiness. Her theatre credits also include Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe and film credits include Cheerful Weather for the Wedding and An Education. Ellie’s television credits include Game of Thrones, Misfits, Chickens, Being Human, Upstairs Downstairs and the title role in the BBC’s most recent adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank.

Sinéad Matthews plays Pink. For the Royal Court she appeared in A Time To Reap. Sinead's recent theatre credits include Blurred Lines at the National Theatre, Trout Stanley at the Southwark Playhouse and The Master and Margarita for the Barbican. Sinead's TV credits include the Sky 1 drama The Smoke, Way To Go for BBC 3 and Black Mirror - Be Right Back for Channel 4. Her film credits include Untitled Mike Leigh 2013, Wreckers, Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang, The Boat that Rocked, Pride and Prejudice and Vera Drake.

Trailer created by Impact Marketing
Publicity image by Dan Bass


Ellie Kendrick

Sinéad Matthews

Edgily feral, brilliantly realised

4 stars
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

Fiercly impressive and powerfully intimate

4 stars
Kate Bassett, The Times

A wired force of nature... writing, performance and direction that keep us mesmerised

5 stars
Alison Goldie, What's On Stage

Two spirited survivalists miraculously represent hope... and reckless defiance

4 stars
Patrick Marmion, Time Out

Sizzles, skitters and explodes across the stage

3 stars
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Electric performances... brutally compelling

Catherine Love

Contains every feature of humanity... Unflinching, raw and gut-wrenching

4 stars
Elise Gallagher, What's On Stage

Two women hold up their scars with skill and intensity... A real achievement of theatre making: deeply moving, intimate, absorbing

5 stars
Stephen M Hornby, Public Reviews

Screams with authenticity

Chris Bartlett, The Stage

'Dark and brutal and fierce and dreamy and nightmarish'...it's hard not to admire their fervency and commitment.

A Younger Theatre

'I would defy anybody to walk into a prison and spend a day there and not come away thinking that we got this system completely wrong.'

Vivienne Franzmann interviewed by Kirsty Lang for FrontRow

Vivienne Franzmann's Pests: 'It is brutal. But it is authentic'

Vivienne Franzmann interviewed by Amelia Gentleman for The Guardian