Punk at the theatre

Prospect Magazine

Punk at the theatre

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The playwright Simon Stephens is a rebel at the heart of British theatre

Women are shown as deer in Stephens’s Three Kingdoms (2011), a play about sex trafficking © Ene Liis Semper


The most prolific playwright of our new century, 41-year-old Simon Stephens, sits at the very centre of new British theatre, a ubiquitous activist who believes in “making” theatre, not writing it, relishing what he calls “the gang mentality” involved.

Port, which opens at the end of January at the National Theatre, defines Stephens’s talent and areas of interest almost perfectly. A story of growing up and escape in his native Stockport, Port charts the odyssey of a young girl over 12 years as she strikes out on her own, with a much younger brother. Pushed to the margins in the shadow of a big city, she embodies the spirit of melancholy and alienation Stephens admires in the music of Morrissey and the Smiths.

Last year alone, Stephens had six titles performed

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