In one of the poorest cities in America – Reading, Pennsylvania – a group of factory workers struggle to keep their present lives in balance, ignorant of the financial devastation looming in their near future.
Based on the playwright’s extensive interviews with residents of Reading, Lynn Nottage’s play Sweat is a tale of friends pitted against each other by big business, and a topical reflection of the present and poignant decline of the American Dream.
The play premiered in Oregon in 2015, before being produced at the Public Theater, New York, in 2016, and the following year on Broadway, where it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It received its UK premiere at the Donmar Warehouse, London, in 2018, directed by Lynette Linton, and went on to win Best Play at the 2019 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
‘Lynn Nottage’s devastating account of American industrial decline is a masterpiece… empathy radiates from every word; Nottage’s own sweat has paid off in what is emphatically one of the great American plays’
— Time Out
‘Profound, terrifying, earthy and witty… exquisitely empathetic… outstanding’
— Evening Standard
‘Magnificent… does what drama at its very best can do — it tells the story of our times through one tight-knit and vividly drawn group of people… it’s funny, angry and immensely sad, making a profound plea for those who have been chewed up and spat out by geopolitical forces beyond their control… a humane, heartbreaking and necessary play’
— Financial Times
‘A play of passion, eloquent about the way life can grind a person down… at times staggeringly sad, this is an American story, but also a global one… a nuanced and moving study of a town in decline’
— The Stage
‘Nottage is simply brilliant at capturing the authentic voices of workers caught up in a drama they never wanted or expected’
— The Times
‘Breathtaking… tackles the devastating impact of loss of work and of de-industrialisation on modern America… captures brilliantly the way work, however hard or demanding, gives people an identity and purpose… I can’t think of any recent play that tells us so much, and so vividly, about the state of the union’
‘Written by a dramatist of ambitious scope and fierce focus, Sweat is a bracingly topical portrait of American dreams deferred. It warrants serious applause’
— New York Times
Best Play, Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Susan Smith Blackburn Prize