'Polly Creed’s direction shines...truly magical'
'An example of how to perform Shakespeare well, the Globe could learn a few things...'
'Compelling and serious drama'...an outstanding show'
'An important and hard-hitting piece of theatre'
Lyn Gardner's Pick of the Fringe
London Student Drama Festival 2018
Previous collaborators and partners
Polly is an award-winning playwright, predominantly interested in writing on environmental and socially-engaged themes. In 2018, her play The Empty Chair was featured in The Independent, The Scotsman, and was selected as one of Lyn Gardner's picks of the Fringe. It was winner of Best Writing at the London Student Drama Festival and was shortlisted for a Sit-Up award at the Edinburgh Fringe.Her work has been performed at the Duchess Theatre in the West End. In 2020, she was shortlisted by the Royal Court for their writers' group.
Polly's latest play 'Humane' had a three week run at the Pleasance in 2021 and is published by Aurora Metro. She is also currently developing a children's book. She is represented by Paul Moreton at Bell Lomax Moreton.
Polly is currently directing The Straw Chair at the Finborough Theatre. In July 2019, Polly directed 'All Rise for the Planet: A 2030 Showtrial' a piece of performance art, taking place at the Tate Modern, in collaboration with Plan B, Theatre 198, Tate Exchange, and True Name Theatre.
Directing credits include: Next Time (Pleasance/Edinburgh Fringe 2018); The Empty Chair (Pleasance/Edinburgh Fringe 2018 and Duchess Theatre/Pleasance London); Les Justes (Teatro Technis 2018); As You Like It (RADA Studios 2017); JORDAN (Bloomsbury Studio 2016), Inferno (Spotlight/Edinburgh Fringe 2016); Darkside (Crypt St Pancras 2015) .
Her short film Alone Once, written by Jess Moore, starring Francesca Isherwood, was created in lockdown in 2020. It was selected for the Cannes Short Film Festival, Montreal Independent Film Festival, and she was shortlisted for the Young Filmmaker Award by Cinemagic.
In 2018, Polly co-founded Power Play, a feminist think tank and theatre company, specialising in data activist work around women in the arts and commissioning new work by women. Power Play have conducted the first statistical analysis of gender at the Edinburgh Fringe, and are currently working on a groundbreaking new study taking a wide-reaching view of gender across the theatre industry in partnership with ERA. Power Play aim to engage new audiences with their mission, working with female designers and artists to create eye-catching, provocative graphics and videos, akin to the Guerrilla Girls in the art world (see examples below).
In 2019, she founded True Name, an activist theatre company, using theatre as a means to find solutions to and connections between the interconnected ecological and social problems we face in the world.
In 2018, Polly produced the Power Play showcase, which included Emma Dennis-Edward's Fringe-First winning play, 'Funeral Flowers' . Power Play's work has been featured in the national press and on various different platforms, including The Guilty Feminist podcast. Power Play are responsible for the first ever statistical breakdown of gender at the Edinburgh Fringe and are currently partnering with ERA to conduct a wide-ranging piece of pioneering data research looking at gender across the industry. She was shortlisted in 2020 for the Old Vic 12. She is currently in developing a new documentary about Holloway Prison.
Two Ukrainian Plays
9 August - 3 September
★★★★★ Five Stars, The Stage
★★★★★ Five Stars, Libby Purves
★★★★ Four Stars, The Guardian
Pussycat in Memory of Darkness
by Neda Nezhdana, translated by John Farndon.
The first production outside Ukraine
“I want to report a robbery…I was robbed. What was stolen from me? Almost everything…Home, land, car, work, friends, city, faith in goodness…’”
Donbas, 2014. A nameless woman stands in the street. Wearing a pair of dark black sunglasses, she tries to sell a basket of kittens. She has lost everything else she holds dear: her home, her family, her hope.
Russia has taken over Crimea and stirred up ongoing violence in her beloved homeland of Donbas. Betrayed by her neighbour and brutalised by Russian-backed militia, her hope has waned for humanity. She can only now place her hope in finding a home for a basket of kittens, a home she cannot offer.
An urgent piece of new writing from Neda Nezhdana – in her UK debut – that starkly reveals the roots of Russia’s war on Ukraine through the brutalised eyes of one woman.
The Straw Chair
by Sue Glover
19 April-14 May 2022
★★★★★ Five Stars, The Upcoming
★★★★★ Five Stars, Time and Leisure
★★★★★ Five Stars, London Pub Theatres
Standing Ovation Nomination from London Pub Theatres
OffWestEnd Award Nomination for Performance Ensemble
OffWestEnd Award Nomination for Costume Design – Carla Joy Evans
“There is a lesson you should learn from your stay on Hirta: the danger of being too troublesome a wife.”
1735. Isabel, barely seventeen, is sent from Edinburgh and the life she has always known, to live with her new husband on Gaelic-speaking St Kilda, an island on the furthest edges of the Outer Hebrides, in the storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Struggling to adapt to island life, Isabel meets Rachel – a wild, seemingly mad woman, shunned by the local inhabitants. Over time, Isabel learns that Rachel is none other than the infamous Lady Grange, kidnapped by her husband following their bitter divorce and long imprisoned on the island. Lady Grange clings with tragic dignity to the two things she has left in the world – a consuming rage and an old straw chair.
Inspired by a true story, The Straw Chair is a modern Scottish classic, exploring liberty, marriage, madness and incarceration, and female empowerment, against the backdrop of the lost way of life of the Western Isles.
First performed in 1988 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in a co-production between Focus Theatre and the Traverse, and revived on an extensive Scottish tour in 2015, The Straw Chair finally receives its English premiere at the Finborough Theatre.
CARLA JOY EVANS
Presented by True Name Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.
Photography by Carla Joy Evans
3-21 November 2021
"Look at us both. Proper grown women. Like kids on a Saturday night, waiting for our kids to come bail us out."
1995. Brightlingsea. A small port in rural Essex. Residents wake up to lorries thundering through the town, carrying live captive animals in horrendous conditions. A motley crew of mums, grannies, and skiving school kids unite; they know they have to do something to stop it.
Over the next 10 months, the unlikely group becomes committed and remarkable activists, facing arrest and encountering the brunt of police brutality. Humane - a new play by Polly Creed, directed by Imy Wyatt Corner - tells their true story.
The play has been published by Aurora Metro books.
Supported by the Cockayne Foundation and Arts Council England
Produced by True Name Theatre and Pleasance
Francesca Isherwood and Colette Zacca
Imy Wyatt Corner
Photography by Ali Wright
Power Play's activist work: