Plays by James Graham

Albert's Boy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Graham’s portrait of Einstein’s tortured conscience is delightfully tinged with both homely and black humour, in a play that is nonetheless deeply serious about questions of pacifism and necessity.

It is 1953 and Albert Einstein’s house is empty, his cat is missing, he can’t unify the fields of relativity and particle physics and he can’t escape his guilt. When a family friend, newly released from a POW camp, comes to visit, a warm reunion soon becomes a collision of opposing beliefs on the subjects of evil, the winning of wars and the construction of the atomic bomb. Albert’s Boy is both a fascinating biographical sketch and a passionate duet about the ethics of moral responsibility. The play premiered at the Finborough Theatre in 2005.

The Culture - A Farce in Two Acts  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

January 2018, and a busy day at the offices of Hull 2017. Today is the ceremonial handover to ambassadors from the next UK City of Culture. Meanwhile, the monitoring and evaluation team have to present The Audit – a measurement of the impact 'the culture' has had on the city. Can their logic models, outcome evaluations and statistical analyses really measure its impact on the people of Hull? The visiting Minister from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport certainly expect so.
What could go wrong…?
Only, perhaps, Dennis, an average citizen who arrives into the offices of Hull 2017 on lowgate to register a complaint but accidentally finds himself at the centre of events that could bring the whole thing to its knees
The Culture is a satirical farce in two acts, examining the 'culture' of culture, and the inner workings of the Hull 2017 project. 

Eden's Empire

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Eden’s Empire is a powerful historical play about Anthony Eden’s infamous term as Prime Minister, a gripping account of power and political mistakes.

Fifty years ago, Britain propelled itself into a disastrous war in the Middle East. Condemned by the UN and accused of falsifying intelligence, the Prime Minister was left fighting for his political life against a Party disillusioned, a public betrayed and a wily Chancellor with ambitions to take his place.

Under the pressure of opposition to his war, Prime Minister Anthony Eden rapidly lost his grip on both the Empire and his health. Unable to control either the growing power of both the United States and the Arab world, or his own failing body, history would mark him as the worst British Prime Minister of the twentieth century.

Graham’s uncompromising political thriller explores with electrifying theatricality the events of the Suez Crisis, and the tragic story of its flawed hero – Churchill’s golden boy and heir apparent, Anthony Eden.

Eden’s Empire was first performed at the Finborough Theatre in 2006.

A History of Falling Things

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A History of Falling Thingsis a delicate and affecting play, which opens with a boy being hit on the head by a shoe falling out of the sky.

Jacqui and Robin are keraunothnetophobiacs – prisoners of their fear of falling things. Restricted to living indoors, Jacqui and Robin meet online even though they live only a few streets away. As their relationship strengthens, despite the gap of open sky between them, they begin to confront their fear and to discover what is real in their lives.

A History of Falling Things is a gentle love story that is fearful, funny and moving. It premiered at the Clwyd Theatr Cymru in 2009.


Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

I want to tell you a story. And it's true. That's what makes it a good fucking story, right, 'cause all the best stories are true.

Fleet Street. 1969. The Sun rises.

James Graham's ruthless, red-topped play leads with the birth of this country's most influential newspaper – when a young and rebellious Rupert Murdoch asked the impossible and launched its first editor's quest, against all odds, to give the people what they want.

Ink was first published to coincide with the world premiere of the play at the Almeida Theatre, London, on 17 June 2017, in a production directed by Rupert Goold.

Labour of Love  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Labour MP David Lyons cares about modernisation and "electability"... his constituency agent, Jean Whittaker cares about principles and her community. Set away from the Westminster bubble in the party's traditional northern heartlands, this is a clash of philosophy, culture and class against the backdrop of the Labour Party over 25 years, as it moves from Kinnock through Blair into Corbyn... and beyond?

This razor-sharp political comedy from James Graham was produced by Michael Grandage Company and Headlong and received its world Premiere at the Noël Coward Theatre in September 2017.

The Man

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Graham presents an affectionate and funny portrait of a year in the life of one nervous self-employed man, pieced together from receipts, shopping and commercial transactions. With a web of narratives, the play's structure is innovative and flexible; in performance, each receipt triggers a unique story and the actor plucks the receipts from the audience's hands at random.

Ben has been dreading his self-assessment form, with every transaction evoking the good times and the bad – memories of things gone wrong, gone right, journeys taken, relationships that have begun and ended. Prompted by frequent calls to the Inland Revenue helpline, Ben relives the humiliations, successes and tragedies of the last twelve months, stitching together his memories of the Tax Year 2009/2010 from tiny scraps of paper.

The Man opened in 2010 at the Finborough Theatre, London.


Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

I have to believe in the institutions we trust to be fair, and functional. Whether that be the judiciary, the police, the media … That they should all be able to resist the temptations of a more entertaining lie, over a less extraordinary truth.

April 2003. Army Major Charles Ingram, his wife and coughing accomplice are convicted for cheating on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

The evidence is damning. The nation is gripped by the sheer audacity of the plot to snatch the £1,000,000 jackpot. But was he really guilty? It's time for you to decide.

Question everything you think you know in James Graham's provocative new play.

Olivier Award-nominee James Graham returns with a sharp, fictional imagination of one of the most famous quiz show controversies to date. The production premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre and this edition was published this edition was published to coincide with the West End opening at the Nöel Coward Theatre in April 2018. 


Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Charles Dickens' London is reimagined for the 21st century.

Twenty-four hours in the life of a city that has 371 people in every square kilometer, where every street and square shelters heroes and villains, emotional turmoil, violent allegiances, adventures, the remarkable and the everyday.

Olivier Award-winning playwright James Graham forges a uniquely crowd-sourced play, incorporating scenes by emerging writers into his own sweeping narrative. Dickens' panoply of London and Londoners, his big characters and fantastic stories in Sketches by Boz are updated for the modern age, incorporating the broadest range of voices from across the community in a theatrical whirligig of wonder and imagination.

This House

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

This House is a timely and relevant political comedy, exploring Westminster and the 1974 hung parliament.

In the run-up to the General Election pressure mounts as squabbling whips attempt to attract key regional votes. As it becomes clear the results will be closely balanced, the play tracks the formation, perils and consequences of a coalition government, including the compromises, conflicts and power games all in the interest of gaining control of Parliament.

With well-paced, witty and waspish dialogue, This House playfully explores the childish digs and chauvinistic attitudes that riddle political life. Award-winning playwright James Graham combines comedy with comment in this portrayal of the strain between the thinking individual, the pressure to toe the part line and the end goal of winning government.

This House had its world premiere at the Cottesloe Theatre, London, on 25 September 2012.

Picture of James Graham

James Graham won the Catherine Johnson Award for the Best Play 2007 for Eden's Empire. His previous plays include Albert's Boy (recipient of a Pearson Playwriting Bursary) Little Madam (Finborough), Tory Boyz (Soho Theatre), The Man (Finborough), The Whisky Taster (Bush), Sons of York (Finborough) (Bush) and This House (National Theatre). James is writer-in-residence at the Finborough Theatre and also writes for TV and film.