Josh Finan is starring in the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize winning play Shook, which is opening at the Southwark Playhouse, before touring across the UK.

Winner of the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize from a record 1,406 entries, Samuel Bailey’s debut full production tenderly and honestly examines the young men society shuts away.

Shook is at Southwark Playhouse, with previews from 30 October, and runs until 23 November 2019. Following the run at Southwark Playhouse, the production tours to Hope Street Theatre, Liverpool (26 November), Theatr Clwyd (27 – 28 November), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough (30 November) and Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (4 – 7 December).

You’re appearing in Shook at Southwark Playhouse ahead of a tour, what can you tell us about it?

Shook is a play about three young fathers in a youth offenders’ institution. They are taking parenting classes led by Grace, whose job it becomes to help them grow up, as much as it is to help them bring up their own children.

Tell us about your character?

Cain is a lad full of contradictions which arise from his own deep insecurities and anxieties. Around the quieter, more vulnerable boys he could perhaps be mistaken for an alpha male but he’s soon put in his place – something which only worsens his anxiety. However, he’s funny and ultimately a very clever and tender person…if only he’d stop talking long enough to realise it!

How have you researched the role of a young offender?

Before rehearsals I watched a few documentaries on YouTube and was particularly interested in the methods prisoners use to cope inside. There are also prison handbooks in the rehearsal room with useful information about the typical structure of a day in a YOI.

What do you think you have learned most about yourself as a performer working on Shook?

That it’s really important to peel back the layers underneath what characters say in order to find the truth of what they really mean.

It won the Papatango New Writing Prize, what has impressed you the most about Samuel Bailey’s writing?

Sam cares a great deal about the people he writes about. He’s also a master of bursting an emotionally ‘heavy’ moment with sidesplitting laughter!

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Shook?

There’s a good chance you’ll end up laughing far more than you thought you would at a play set in prison!

Shook starring Josh Finan is at Southwark Playhouse from 30 October.

Main Image: Josh Finan

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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