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27 February 13 - 16 March 13

All transaction charges are now dropped. You will no longer be charged for booking online or for using a card. The only charge will be for postage (£1.00) - and you can choose to collect your tickets from the Box Office instead!

The Royal Exchange Theatre in association with the Bush Theatre presents the winner of the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Siblings Tiana, Tionne and Tanika have found themselves home alone.  Tiana's keeping it all together by taking charge of housework and homework. But Tionne's experiments are getting stranger and stranger and Tanika's starting to act up. As the outside world begins to press in, the three will do anything to keep their secret safe from the adults who come to call.
Set in South East London, THREE BIRDS is a startling and darkly comic drama about childhood, family and fantasy. Writer Janice Okoh was the winner of the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.
'A play that is as humane as it is savage...as funny as it is alarming.  It is written with as much warmth as it is with truth.  It's funny and theatrical and alert and alive. It's terrific'  Simon Stephens, Playwright and Chair of the Judges for the 2011 prize

transfers to the Bush Theatre, London from 20 March - 20 April 2013.

Have Your Say

Press Quotes & Audience Comments
Press Quotes & Audience Comments
  “brilliantly suspended, between dark comedy, thriller and an expressive human sympathy worthy of Tennessee Williams. The Times

Theatre doesn’t often deal in thrilling, cinematic twists, provoking genuine revelatory murmurs from an audience finally understanding how a plot ties together. Janice Okoh manages to withhold just enough information in her Bruntwood Prize-winning play, receiving its world premiere here under the soap-y direction of Sarah Frankcom, to keep Three Birds intriguing rather than frustrating. The Stage

“It’s not every day you are lucky enough to witness real talent: last night, I was that lucky. ‘Three Birds’ is a dark comedy which propels the audience into a sombre reality from the moment the lights go down. It was clear that the audience enjoyed the production, as they almost raised the roof with their applause. I know I would jump at the chance to see it again. GQ Central

REMARKABLE…within minutes, you can understand why she [Janice Okoh] won the first prize… she not only takes you on an intriguing journey but has a keen ear for dialogue laces with humour. Her multi-layered characters are totally believable.” Manchester Evening News

 “dark, comedic… incredibly well written and mixes the fantasy and reality intertwined in everyday life. The bar has been set high for 2013 entries to the competition.” The Good Review

And it seems audiences agree with the critics...

Bursting with excitement to see ThreeBirds @rxtheatre tonight!

Press night @rxtheatre #threebirds - imeccably tight text
& beautifully judged casting. Is this the best play to come out of The Bruntwood?

Three Birds @rxtheatre ..... absolutely brilliant.

Deliciously dark humour at @rxtheatre for #ThreeBirds tonight. Great writing and cracking performances from @susiewokoma and co. Go see it!

#threebirds at @rxtheatre just wow! Well worth a watch!

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THREE BIRDS 360 Rehearsal Blog 1
THREE BIRDS 360 Rehearsal Blog 1
Welcome to an insight into the THREE BIRDS rehearsal process!
Captured in quick breaks from rehearsals, these are rough and ready glimpses from the points of view of the writer, director, actor and production manager into bringing the script that won the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting from page to stage.


Here’s some words from writer Janice Okoh to kick us off, followed by a conversation between Janice and Director Sarah Frankcom about beginnings and the relationship between a writer and director…

"When I sent Three Birds in to the competition, I was on my third draft. Although I was happy with it, I felt that it was still far from whole. What’s attractive about the Bruntwood Prize competition is the fact that it offers a year developing the winning plays so it was really exciting when I actually won one of the prizes.

I met Suzanne Bell, my dramaturg, and Sarah Frankcom, the director several times over the year and each time we discussed how we should go about improving the play. We decided that I needed to write an additional scene in order to develop one of my characters, work out a suitable time frame of the play and bring some of the drama that happened off stage on. Suzanne and Sarah also encouraged me to experiment and “go bonkers” with the play so a lot of my drafting involved taking things out in one draft only to find that I would put them back in in a later draft or conversely binning stuff that took the play in a completely different direction.

I really enjoyed the process. Sarah and Suzanne were able to climb right inside my head and voice the thoughts that I would be thinking. It really felt like they got the play. However, it was still really hard work trying to make sure everything fitted together in order to create something I was happy with and, ultimately, proud of.  But it’s been wonderful having a dramaturg and director working hard at making the process work for me. They organised a reading when I wanted one, moved deadlines to accommodate my other writing commitments, and, most importantly, reassured me when I voiced my fears at the thought of Three Birds going into production before it was ready. But The thing is, and I guess a lot of writers would concur, I don’t think my play will ever be ready and, as I prepare to send Three Birds to the publishers, I’m tweaking and adjusting, always trying to make it just that bit better but there has to be a cut-off point which is probably when the actors need to start learning their lines." Janice Okoh

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THREE BIRDS 360 Rehearsal Blog 2
THREE BIRDS 360 Rehearsal Blog 2

We caught up with Susan Wokoma, actress (playing Tanika), for a brief chat about getting hold of a new script and how she approaches it...


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THREE BIRDS 360 Rehearsal Blog 3
THREE BIRDS 360 Rehearsal Blog 3


We chat to Keith Broom, Production Manager, about the nuts and bolts behind bringing a show to The Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre.


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Please hover over for more info:
Claire BrownMichaela CoelJahvel HallLee OakesSusan Wokoma
Written by Janice Okoh
Directed by Sarah Frankcom
Designed by Louie Whitemore
Lighting by Kay Haynes
Sound by Emma Laxton
Fight Director Bret Yount


The Studio

Via Box Office on 0161 833 9833
or online

£12 / £10  (click here for more details)
Click here for full details

2 hours including 1 interval

Wednesday 6 March
Thursdays 7 & 14 March,
11.00am - 1.00pm
Taster writing workshops for everyone aged 18+. More Information

The Studio Season is supported by Manchester Airports Group