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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arts council funded

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.


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 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 nominated for four Olivier Awards

Thrilled that The Nether has been nominated for four Olivier Awards:

Best New Play - Jennifer Haley

Best Set Design - Es Devlin

Best Actor in a Supporting Role - David Calder (Doyle)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Jaime Adler, Zoe Brough, Perdie Hibbins & Isabella Pappas (Iris)


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.'

★ ★ ★ ★ 


Politics and the Young

It used to be the case that when you are young, you are a liberal, and when you are old, you are a conservative. But the newest generation getting involved in politics just might not grow out of their liberalism. This may be due to the high levels of university attendence, or the fact that youths respond so well to Mayor Boris Johnson, or something else entirely. But either way, the policies and social injustices that are acknowledged are changing from one generation to the next. 

Playing Gwenda

Maggie McCarthy is being interviewed for her role in the Absence of War.

Maggie McCarthy discusses her role as Gwenda, the Diary Secretary to Labour leader George Jones in The Absence of War.

The Possibilities of Virtual Experience

Digital game designer and bestselling author Jane McGonigal joins playwright Jennifer Haley to discuss the implications of the increasing amount of time we spend online in virtual worlds in what some have termed a 'mass exodus' from our offline existence.

Greece has voted for a new politics, not just a new party

The new Greek Prime Minister, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, is unlike any of his predecessors. With Syriza's liberal approach to immigration, gay rights and religion, independent Greeks might be getting nervous. Either way, Greek policies are about to change under this new, state educated, young Prime Minister. 

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 - Rehearsals Week 1

It is the first day of rehearsals and as I walk in, there is the bustle of what feels like hundreds of people all milling around in the rehearsal room at Copperfield Studio. It is a large hall with a high ceiling and there is a large table in the centre of the hall with scripts on it and chairs around it set up ready for the read through. The whole team is here: David Hare; the creative team designing set, costume, video, lighting, sound; and the production team. The producers from The Rose and The Crucible, who are co-producing, as well as Daniel Evans, artistic director of Sheffield Crucible, are here as well. Jeremy kicked the day off by saying a few words about the play and the production, and then everyone introduced themselves. We sat down to read through the play with the actors in the middle around the table and everyone else around the outside of the room.

Uncovering the Codes for Reality

Are we all really living in the matrix? Physicist James Gates reveals why string theory stretches our imaginations about the nature of reality.

Playing Bruce

Theo Cowan is being interviewed about his role in The Absence of War.

Actor Theo Cowan discusses his role as the Shadow Chancellor's minder Bruce in The Absence of War.

The Nether Trailer

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


Iceland: The Path Not Taken

In times of financial crisis, it is common for banks to be bailed out while the general public still has to pay the price. But New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman is telling the story of Iceland, a country that was faced with an economic disaster where the bankers ran away, leaving the country in a huge amount of debt. Iceland used the crisis as an excuse to break conventional economic rules and became a successful anomaly.

Jeremy Herrin on The Nether

Jeremy discusses the questions raised by Jennifer Haley's The Nether and the creative potential of its staging.

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