Plays by Rory Kinnear

The Herd

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Rory Kinnear’s first play The Herd is a witty and heartfelt portrait of a family falling apart – and finally pulling together again – when life doesn’t turn out quite the way they imagined it. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 13 September 2013.

The play is set in the downstairs kitchen and living room of a suburban house. Carol, an anxiety-ridden mother, has arranged a small family party to celebrate the 21st birthday of her severely disabled son, Andy, who has long been in a care home. Those invited are Andy's elder sister, Claire, and his grandparents, Brian and Patricia. But there are also two unexpected guests: Claire's boyfriend, a Lancastrian performance-poet, and Andy's father, Ian, who abandoned the family and who is loathed by everyone in the room. It is Ian's presence in particular that bursts open old wounds and leads to explosive recriminations and the uncovering of a life-changing secret. Meanwhile, Andy and his caregiver are running late – very, very late.

The premiere production was directed by Howard Davies and designed by Helen Goddard. The cast was Amanda Root, Louise Brealey, Anna Calder-Marshall, Kenneth Cranham, Adrian Rawlins and Adrian Bower.

Kinnear won the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award in 2014.

The play was premiered in the US by Steppenwolf at their Downstairs Theater, Chicago, from 2 April 2015. The production was directed by Frank Galati.

Picture of Rory Kinnear

Rory Kinnear is a British actor and writer. His debut play, The Herd, premiered at the Bush Theatre, London in 2013, and won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2014.

As an actor, Rory Kinnear has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and the National Theatre. In 2010 Kinnear played Angelo in Measure for Measure at the Almeida Theatre, and later the title role in Hamlet at the National Theatre. The two roles won him the Best Actor Award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. His role as Iago in the National Theatre’s 2013 production of Othello won him another Evening Standard Theatre Award (shared with his co-lead Adrian Lester) as well as the Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards for Best Actor. He won his first Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role and the Ian Charleson Award for his performance as Sir Fopling Flutter in The Man of Mode at the National Theatre in 2008. Other theatre credits include: The Trial (Young Vic, 2015); The Revenger’s Tragedy and Philistines (both National Theatre) and the role of Mitia in a stage adaptation of the Nikita Mikhalkov film Burnt by the Sun (National Theatre, 2009).

Television credits include Lucan (ITV); Count Arthur Strong, Loving Miss Hatto, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cranford and Richard II (BBC); Southcliffe and Black Mirror: National Anthem (Channel 4).

His film credits include Spectre, Trespass Against Us, Skyfall and Broken, for which he won Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards.