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The Finborough Theatre's 40th year opens with Athena Stevens’ new play Scrounger

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE first production of the Finborough Theatre’s 40th anniversary year is the world premiere of Scrounger. Written by Finborough Theatre Playwright in Residence and Olivier Award nominee Athena Stevens, it runs for a four week limited season – from Tuesday, January 7 to Saturday, February 1, 2020.

And I don’t know how to engage,
With people of the wrong side of justice,
That can’t be bothered to tell their left
From what’s right.

On the streets of Elephant and Castle, everyone likes to make speculations about Scrounger. She needs help, she must not be aware of the complexities of the world, she is sent from the demons to torture her mum… at least according to her Nigerian Uber driver.

Scrounger doesn’t care. A successful online personality, she’s got more power from her bedroom than anyone on the Southwark estates could dream of. She’s educated, she’s ballsy, and with a huge network of online allies, Scrounger is a woman who knows how to make change happen.

That is, until an airline destroys her wheelchair.

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Stevens herself, Scrounger drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.

Originally seen as part of Vibrant 2019 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, Scrounger now receives its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre.

The cast includes Leigh Quinn (Troilus and Cressida, Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II, Henry V, The Famous Victories of Henry V, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Royal Shakespeare Company, Pride and Prejudice, Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) as P.A. and Athena Stevens as Scrounger.

Athena Stevens’ productions at The Finborough Theatre also include Genie as part of Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights and Schism, which subsequently transferred to the Park Theatre. For her work on Schism, Stevens was nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Female Performance in a Play and an Olivier Award.

Presented by Sarah Lawrie for Aegis Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, Scrounger is directed by Lily McLeish and designed by Anna Reid, with lighting by Anthony Doran and sound by Julian Starr.

Also at The Finborough Theatre: Welsh playwright Emlyn Williams’ The Wind of Heaven (November 26 to December 21, 2019).

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 01223 357851 (calls are free but there is a 5% booking fee) or visit