From the award-winning Anna Jordan (Killing Eve, Sid Gentle Films Ltd; Succession, HBO), written between the Brexit vote and Trump’s Presidential victory, We Anchor in Hope captures a moment of deep uncertainty in recent history and the characters’ lives when local pub, The Anchor, closes for good. Chaos is in the air, and yet life goes on. For the duration of the play’s run The Bunker will become The Anchor – transformed into a functioning pub with post-show events including pub quizzes, karaoke nights and music.
Chris Sonnex’s first production at The Bunker since being appointed as the theatre’s Artistic Director in 2018 will feature Valentine Hanson (Orpheus Descending, Theatr Clwyd and Menier Chocolate Factory; Handfast, Summerhall Edinburgh Festival), Alex Jarrett (Aisha, Old Red Lion, King’s Head and Tristan Bates; Les Misérables, BBC), Daniel Kendrick (Ding Dong the Wicked and Vera Vera Vera, Royal Court; Coalition, Theatre503), David Killick (Pressure, Ambassadors Theatre; The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre and Tour) and Alan Turkington (Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre; Hamlet, Donmar at Wyndham’s Theatre).
Since 2001 a quarter of all UK pubs have disappeared, with two still closing every day. Like The Anchor, these pubs are likely to become private flats. For regulars the pub is many things: a haven, a burden, a family, a home. All are about to disappear. It’s the end of an era, but Kenny and the gang are going out with a bang – determined to drink the place dry. There’s karaoke and a lot of Campari. There’s secrets divulged and forgotten dreams resurrected. History, like beer, has seeped into the carpet. Tonight, there’s a lot more to lose than a pub.
We Anchor in Hope was commissioned by Chris Sonnex as part of the Royal Court Theatre’s Beyond the Court project. Originally performed script-in-hand it is a fictional piece inspired by interviews and drinking sessions Anna Jordan carried out in and around Pimlico.
Playwright Anna Jordan commented: “This play is very special to me for various reasons. I started the interviews in July 2016. It was two months after my mother had died and I was very raw. Three months later we were performing the play in a pub in Pimlico – script in hand. I almost didn’t do it, but I’m so glad I did. It saved me, in many ways. I’ll never forget those few months and the kindness and light brought to me by many people. And the play – so much about memory and love and loss – is a tribute to my mum. I think she would have liked it. I bloody hope she would.”
The Bunker’s Artistic Director Chris Sonnex added: “This play is rooted in my soul. I grew up in a council estate in Pimlico and spent childhood and teenage years running around pubs; absorbing the culture, playing too many games of pool and spending one pound coins to hear the new “Now That’s What I Call Music!” album on the jukebox. Pubs created a community and provided theatre for me before I even knew what both were, and that led me to commission Anna to write this play when I was working with The Royal Court community programme in Pimlico. I’m happy that I get to represent that important part of my life on stage with all the joy, rage, love, heartbreak and sarcastic mocking that has shaped part of who I am.”
We Anchor in Hope will be running at The Bunker from Wednesday 25th September to Saturday 19th October 2019.