London's Reality Television Play to Close Early

News   London's Reality Television Play to Close Early On the Third Day, the winning play in the Channel 4 television series "The Play’s the Thing," will close early on July 29. The drama by Kate Betts was to run at London's New Ambassador’s Theatre until Sept. 2.

The British television program sought to find new playwriting talent and climaxed with the winning writer’s script receiving its world premiere in the West End.

Betts' play was chosen from 2,000 hopefuls by the judges, producer Sonia Friedman, literary agent Mel Kenyon and actor Neil Pearson.

By the end of the truncated run, the play, which features a modern-day Jesus who attempts to reconcile a troubled relationship between siblings, will have lasted seven weeks in the West End and played to audiences of approximately 51%.

In a statement, Friedman said, "Producing a play by a first-time writer in the West End was always going to be a fascinating challenge, which is why I agreed to participate. Plays produced in smaller subsidized theatres which run for six weeks and are seen by smaller audiences than the ones enjoyed by On The Third Day are routinely seen as a success.  That is why I believe that a seven-week run for a production of a new play by a first-time writer in the West End playing to audiences of 51% should be seen as an achievement. I would also like to add that 'The Play's The Thing' has been a very useful exercise in stimulating a debate about new work by new writers in the West End.  I am very grateful to Channel 4 for devoting so much of their mainstream schedule to a program about theatre, the West End, and new writing.”

"It was an honor to have my play chosen” added playwright Betts, “and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Sonia Friedman, (directors) Steven Pimlott, Robert Delamere and with a cast and technical team that were so completely devoted to and enthusiastic about On the Third Day.  I have learned a lot from these professionals, and this valuable experience will not only help me with my future writing but will, I hope, encourage, inform and stimulate other new writers out there who are passionate about writing for the theatre."