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16 For 2016: Neil McPherson

Big isn’t necessarily better and the 50-seat Finborough Theatre has set about proving that over and over again for the last 35 years.

Founded in 1980, the bijou London venue presents plays and musical theatre focused on new writing, as well as rediscovering neglected works from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The theatre came under threat in 2015 as the freeholder of the building sought to develop flats above the auditorium. Plans were rejected by the council and the threat ofredevelopment passed.

Continuing our series of talking to 16 Artistic Directors and Chief Executives from across the country, The Finborough’s Artistic Director Neil McPherson talked to Glen Pearce about the year just gone and hope for the future.


What have been your theatrical highlights (and challenges) of 2015?

For the Finborough, it’s been another packed year as we present 24 shows a year. Highlights included the world premiere of My Eyes Went Dark, which was a huge success and Danielle Tarento’s production of Jerry Herman’s The Grand Tour. Good to do a traditional Broadway musical every now and then! And also writing my first play, I Wish To Die Singing – Voices from the Armenian Genocide (which has also just been published by Oberon Books).

What do you see as the highlights (and challenges) for your organisation in 2016?

The Council turning down a planning application that may have threatened our future was a big highlight – though I suspect that will become more and more of an issue for small London theatres. As always, our biggest challenge is funding (and the lack of it). We’re desperately working towards paying everyone properly but, obviously, that’s easier said than done when the theatre has only 50 seats.

What is your theatrical New Year’s resolution?

To get away from the Finborough and see more work elsewhere.

Excluding funding, if you were Minister for Culture what is the one aspect of the arts sector you’d like to change?

Just the funding!

To find out more about The Finborough Theatre visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk

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