King’s Head #Festival45 stages powerful new prison drama

Festival 45

Islington’s King’s Head Theatre completes its 45th anniversary celebrations with a major new event aimed at promoting new writing.

#Festival45, which kicks off on October 26, features 23 different shows from 23 exciting young companies over five weeks.

It offers them a chance to bring their work to one of London’s most diverse and dynamic Off West End venues.

A highlight of the festival will be the award-winning Epsilon Productions’ The State vs John Hayes which runs at the theatre from October 28.

The State vs John Hayes

This engrossing drama is set in Huntsville prison, Texas, in 1959. Elyese Dukie is on Death Row for murdering her husband and her lover.

Tomorrow she goes to court for the last time. But tonight Elyese reveals the one thing she won’t tell the court or the string of psychiatrists sent to diagnose her: that she is not alone in her cell… John Hayes is in there with her.

Writer and performer Lucy Roslyn’s striking one-act, psychological thriller is based on extensive research into real-life female killers and laced with dark humour. It is directed by Epsilon’s artistic director Jemma Gross.

#Festival45 reaffirms the theatre’s commitment to new writing. Alongside new work this year from Sylvia Freedman and Richard Cameron there is also a new writing initiative, the Adrian Pagan Award.

Artistic director of the King’s Head, Adam Spreadbury-Maher, said: “This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this, and we’ve scaled the country to find interesting and unique new writing pieces from exciting companies.

“And everyone will be paid. This is an experiment for us – we’re feeling our way as we go – but we believe that this is how fringe festivals should be run, and if it’s successful – we’ll do it again!”

Now in its 45th year, The King’s Head Theatre now aims to become a crucible for new writing and critical rediscoveries.

#Festival45 runs from October 26-November 28 with the hour-long The State vs John Hayes running from October 28-November 22.

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