Ardent Theatre Company in association with the King’s Head Theatre presents


by Philip Osment

at King’s Head Theatre

15 May – 8 June 2019

Director/Designer: Philip Wilson

Ardent Theatre Company today announces the first revival of Philip Osment’s This Island’s Mine, three decades after it was originally performed by Gay Sweatshop. The production opens at the King’s Head Theatreon 17 May, with previews from 15 May, until 8 June.

“Eyes smarting,

Heart aching,

From the pangs of first love.”

1988. Thatcher’s Britain.

Seventeen-year-old Luke runs away to London – away from homophobic playground slurs, headlines that scream ‘Don’t Teach Our Children To Be Gay’ and a family who wouldn’t understand him – to Uncle Martin, who he once saw with his arms around another man at a march.

In the capital, Mark is sacked because of fears about colleagues working with ‘someone like him’. His boyfriend, Selwyn, faces being beaten up both by the police and at home by his own stepbrother. Meanwhile, Debbie battles with her son, who doesn’t want to live with her and her girlfriend. And retired piano teacher Miss Rosenblum – who once found refuge in this country from a terror that swept away half her family in 1930s Vienna – has seen this sort of hatred and fear before.

Soon, these individual stories – of first loves and old flames, alliances and abandonment, missed opportunities and new chances – intertwine to paint a vivid picture of Eighties Britain.

This Island’s Mine was originally performed by Gay Sweatshop in 1988. Now, three decades after the introduction of Section 28 banning positive representations of homosexuality, Philip Osment’s passionate and lyrical play, of outsiders, exiles and refugees, is all too resonant.

Writer Philip Osment said today, “I am delighted that the play is being staged for a whole new generation of audiences. One of the company’s producers Mark Sands saw the play while he was still at college when the Gay Sweatshop production toured to his home town in 1988. It is heartening to know that he was inspired by that experience to work tirelessly to make this revival happen some thirty years later.”

Philip Osment is a writer and actor. His writing credits include the trilogy The Dearly BelovedWhat I Did In The Holidays and Flesh and Blood (all of which were nominated for Writers Guilds awards), Buried AliveLittle Violet And The Angel (co-winner of the Peggy Ramsey award), Wise Guys (nominated for TMA and Manchester Evening News Best Play awards), LeavingCollateral DamageFathers Inside and Whole. Philip also translatedPedro The Great Pretender (Cervantes), George Dandin (Moliere), and Kebab (Carbunariu) As an actor, he has performed with leading alternative theatre companies including The Half Moon, Shared Experience and Gay Sweatshop.

Philip Wilson directs. Philip spent four years as the Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse (2007-2011), during his tenure his directing credits include The Game of Love and Chance, The Constant WifeThe PicturePrivate LivesArsenic and Old Lace and The Winslow Boy. He is the recipient of the 1995 Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme bursary and the inaugural 2015 David Fraser/Andrea Wonfor Directing for Television bursary. His other directing credits include Perfect NonsenseAfter The Dance (Theatre By The Lake), A Fox on the Fairway (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch), Grimm Tales (Shoreditch Town Hall, Oxo Bargehouse, Unicorn Theatre),The Star The Norman ConquestsNoises OffDr FaustusThe Astonished Heart/ Still Life (Liverpool Playhouse), As You Like It (Storyhouse Chester), Beacons (Park Theatre).

Listings                                                                                                                                  This Island’s Mine

King’s Head Theatre

115 Upper St, London, N1 1QN

Box Office: 0207 226 8561


Previews: £10/£14

Standard: £19.40

Premium: £25

Concessions: £18

Unemployed: £5 matinee

Captioned Performance: 31 May

Q&A with Philip Osment (writer), Richard Sandells (actor in the 1988 original), Kate Owen (designer of 1988 original): 2 June after matinee

Q&A with Philip Wilson (director) and the performers: 8 June