A divisive left-wing leader at the helm of the Labour Party. A Conservative prime minister battling with her cabinet. An identity crisis on a national scale. This is Britain 1981.
One Sunday morning, four prominent Labour politicians – Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins and David Owen – gather in private at Owen’s home in Limehouse, East London. They are desperate to find a political alternative. Should they split their party, divide their loyalties, and risk betraying everything they believe in? Would they be starting afresh, or destroying forever the tradition that nurtured them?
Steve Waters’ thrilling drama takes us behind closed doors to imagine the personal conflicts behind the making of political history. Limehouse premiered at the Donmar Warehouse, London, in 2017, directed by Polly Findlay. It is a fictionalised account of real events, and it is not endorsed by the individuals portrayed.
‘Bitterly funny… the story of the SDP is one of political history’s most intriguing “what if’s”. Limehouse expertly adds to its mystique’
‘Richly enjoyable… Steve Waters’ deliciously well-written, quick-paced play is timely… the clash of politicians’ vanities feels spot on’
— Daily Mail
‘A highly intelligent account of the birth of the SDP… Waters characterizes his protagonists with great clarity’
— The Arts Desk
‘Steve Waters sharply characterises each member of the gang and allows them a turn in the spotlight… admirably brings to life a key moment in postwar politics’
‘A smart take on the Gang of Four… political drama of intellectual heft topped with a deliciously nimble-footed humour’
— Evening Standard
‘Funny, serious, timely… the glory of this surprisingly moving play is that it is no cynically hopeless Thick Of It. It does not despise politicians. It gives each of this ill-assorted quartet credit for real faith and real decisions’
‘Intelligent and timely… fascinating contemporary parallels abound’
— The Stage