The Nether

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The Absence of War

6th Feb 2015 - 9th May 2015

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The Nether

17th Jul 2014 - 25th Apr 2015

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The Nether Post Show Q&As

17th Feb 2015 - 24th Mar 2015

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arts council funded

A Brief History of the Labour Party

BBC takes a look at the origins of the Labour party in Britain.

The Absence of War

It's now or never for George Jones. The charismatic leader of the Labour Party needs to get out of opposition and into Number Ten. Plagued by a hostile media, beset by divisions in his party and haunted by his own demons, George has three weeks to convince the Great British Public that he's their man.

But how much compromise is he prepared to make? How can you truly appeal to the man in the street from the House of Commons? And which tie should he wear for Prime Minister's Questions?

Headlong presents a vigorous new production of David Hare’s funny, stinging political drama on a timely national tour during the build up to the 2015 General Election.

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The Nether transfers to the West End

Following a sold-out run at the Royal Court Theatre, Jennifer Haley’s critically-acclaimed, multi-award-winning play transfers to London’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a limited 12-week run.

The Nether offers complete freedom – a new virtual wonderland providing total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire.

An intricate crime drama and a haunting thriller set in the year 2050, The Nether follows an investigation into the complicated, disturbing morality of identity in the digital world, and explores the consequences of making dreams a reality.


British Politics: The Great Fracturing

Back in the 1950s, the Conservative and Labour parties ruled the elections and, together, got about 97% of the vote. Today, Britiain is becoming a six-party system thanks to insurgents such as the Scottish National Party, the UK Idependence Party and the Green Party. Is the two-party system gone forever? Are the new parties making the UK unstable?

The Nether West End Reviewed

'Bravo to the producers for bringing this highly pertinent, scintillatingly staged and deeply disturbing piece of theatre to the West End'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


'Jennifer Haley’s drama about the darker side of the internet is more riveting than ever in this West End transfer.'

★ ★ ★ ★


'A relentlessly gripping, entertaining play'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


'Playwright Jennifer Haley has come up with a clinically efficient and unflinching 75 minutes of drama... Rarely has the West End worried over such a pertinent issue.'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


The Nether - Transfer Diary

For three short weeks in July 2014, The Nether  stunned audiences Downstairs at the Royal Court. An explosively provocative new play, it explored the consequences of a fully technologised future. The play confronted some of our most prescient fears about the modern world, examining one of the only remaining contemporary taboos. It was technically thrilling, pushing the limits of what could be achieved on a traditional stage and inventively attacked the challenge of realising a virtual word in a literal medium. A theatrical hand grenade detonated in Sloane Square and The Nether  became a word-of-mouth hit that stunned its audiences.

The Absence of War Reviewed

'Hare’s play is a private tragedy as well as a political analysis... Reece Dinsdale plays the leader excellently as a Sheffield native blessed with a bouncy likability and loyalty to his cohorts.'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


'Dinsdale is moving as a charismatic leader who has turned his party round, but can’t get himself over the finishing line.'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


'Essential viewing'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


'Jeremy Herrin’s persuasive, slickly staged Headlong revival'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


'Well worth seeing'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


The Nether Trailer

Take a look at our new interactive trailer for The Nether.


The Absence of War Rehearsal Diary - Week 5

This week is Tech Week. Monday is a travel day, and I put it off until the last minute because I hate packing. I finally threw some stuff into a bag and trekked to St Pancras in time to be really early for my train to Sheffield. The entire creative team is housed on a block of corporate flats. I arrive and instantly feel like Hugh Grant. My place has the feel of a bachelor pad with a nice big comfy bed and leather sofas. My neighbours on either side are director Jeremy and designer Mike, and the close proximity is really handy for late night or early morning note sessions. During the busy technical rehearsal week and preview period, the work day stretches from first thing in the morning to late at night.

Can gaming make the world a better place?

Jane McGonigal explains how gamers could use their skills to effect changes in the real world.

How did Labour lose in '92?

The 1992 general election result has become one of the mysteries of 20th-century politics. Here was a governing party, which had been in power for 13 years, fighting a campaign at the end of the longest recession for more than 50 years. Unemployment was rising, interest rates were above 10 per cent, house prices had collapsed. From the beginning of the campaign on 11 March, the parties were neck and neck in the opinion polls, with Labour fractionally ahead. The commentators predicted a hung parliament; the only question, it seemed, was whether Labour or the Tories would be the largest party. Even the exit polls suggested a hung parliament.

Power of Imagination

Carl Jung on the incredible creative power of the human imagination.

David Hare's 'The Absence of War': Labour of love gets the vote

On 14 April 2010, three weeks before the general election, David Hare was on stage for a Platform talk at the Lyttelton Theatre and spoke of a frustrating failure. His play The Absence of War, premiered in the Olivier in 1993, had fictionalized Labour’s doomed 1992 election campaign, which ended with John Major still in Number Ten, and was followed by Neil Kinnock’s resignation as party leader, and, under John Smith and Tony Blair, the birth of New Labour. Hare told his Platform audience that he had been unable to convince any producing theatre to revive The Absence of War for the 2010 poll: “It is about the roots of New Labour and, now that we assume New Labour is coming to an end in three weeks’ time, it would be fantastic to show that play.”

Theatre and Technology

Robert Delamere, Jeremy Herrin, Dawn King and Tassos Stevens discuss the ways in which technology is transforming contemporary theatre and performance.

Can the Labour party find its voice?

David Hare looks back on his time following the Labour party in 1992 researching for The Absence of War. He talks about his relationship with Neil Kinnock, and how, when the play first premiered, people assumed it was a documentary about the 1992 election, rather than a work of fiction. Hare explains the ways in which the play still resonates, especially in the context of the upcoming election.

The Absence of War Glossary

What was 'The Agency'? What are PMQs? How do party leadership elections work? Find out more about parliament, its history and the people who have walked its halls in our short guide to the terms referenced in David Hare's The Absence of War.

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