Vivienne Franzmann

Plays by Vivienne Franzmann


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Vivienne Franzmann's play Bodies is a family drama exploring the ethical and social dilemmas raised by surrogate motherhood. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 5 July 2017.

The play's action takes place over the course of nine months. White, middle-class TV producer Clem, age 43, is desperate for a baby. So she and her husband, Josh, pay £22,000 to an agency and find themselves locked into a global transaction in which a Russian woman’s egg is fertilised by Josh and implanted in the womb of an Indian woman. But Clem is increasingly estranged from her old-fashioned socialist dad, David, who has motor neurone disease, and who says she should be ashamed of herself. Her residual guilt surfaces in Skype conversations with the Delhi doctor supervising the surrogacy, and is compounded when legal difficulties arise.

The premiere production was directed by Jude Christian and designed by Gabriella Slade. It was performed by Lorna Brown, Brian Ferguson, Philip Goldacre, Salma Hoque, Justine Mitchell (as Clem), Hannah Rae, Manjinder Virk, Alexander Molony and Rohan Shinn.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Vivienne Franzmann’s play Mogadishu is a cautionary tale of a teacher who intervenes on behalf of a troublesome student, only to find her actions rebounding on herself to disastrous effect. It was the joint winner of the 2008 Bruntwood Playwriting Competition and was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 26 January 2011.

When white secondary-school teacher Amanda is pushed to the ground by black student Jason, she’s reluctant to report him as she knows exclusion could condemn him to a future as troubled as his past. But when Jason decides to protect himself by spinning a story of his own, Amanda is sucked into a vortex of lies in which victim becomes perpetrator. With the truth becoming less clear and more dangerous by the day, it isn’t long before careers, relationships and even lives are under threat.

Franzmann worked as a secondary-school teacher in London for twelve years before submitting Mogadishu, her first full-length play, for the Bruntwood Playwriting Competition.

The Royal Exchange premiere was directed by Matthew Dunster and designed by Tom Scutt. The cast was Malachi Kirby, Tara Hodge, Farshid Rokey, Tendayi Jembere, Savannah Gordon-Liburd, Hammed Animashaun, Michael Karim, Julia Ford, Shannon Tarbet, Ian Bartholomew, Christian Dixon and Fraser James.

The production transferred to the Lyric Hammersmith, London, with performances from 3 March 2011.

The play was revived by the Royal Exchange and Lyric Hammersmith as a touring production in 2012, playing at the Liverpool Playhouse from 30 January at the start of a UK tour.

Mogadishu was awarded the 2010 George Devine Award.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Vivienne Franzmann's play Pests is about how and why young women get caught up in the criminal justice system, and the impact that drug dependency, childhood sexual abuse and associated mental illness can have on their lives.

It was commissioned by Clean Break, a theatre company committed to exploring issues surrounding women and crime, in a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre, London, and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. It was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 12 March 2014 before transferring to the Royal Court on 27 March 2014 and touring the UK.

The play opens with Rolly, 21, returning home, heavily pregnant, to her older sister's squalid, rats' nest of a flat, after a spell in prison. The sister, Pink, 25, is suffering from psychosis and anxiety, which she previously had medication for, but she stopped taking it while Rolly has been away. Rolly is off the heroin and determined to make a fresh start, but Pink is finding it harder to escape the past: her psychosis is linked to memories of being taken into care and abused in the home by lots of different men. Pink has a child called Tia who has been removed from her. They both have cherished memories of a childhood caravan holiday in Camber Sands, where they watched The Wizard of Oz. But while Rolly was later fostered, Pink stayed in care, and she doesn't welcome the idea of her little sister escaping the nest.

The Royal Exchange premiere was directed by Lucy Morrison and designed by Joanna Scotcher, with Frances Ashman as Rolly and Ryan Fletcher as Pink.

At the Royal Court Theatre, Rolly was played by Ellie Kendrick, and Pink by Sinead Matthews.

Picture of Vivienne Franzmann

Vivienne Franzmann was a teacher for thirteen years in a variety of London secondary schools. In 2008 she was one of four winners of the Bruntwood Playwriting Award with her debut play Mogadishu, which was produced at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2011 and later transferred to the Lyric Hammersmith. Franzmann was subsequently awarded the George Devine Award.

Her other plays include The Witness (Royal Court, 2012) and Pests (Clean Break/Royal Court, 2014).

Vivienne Franzmann won a Pearson Playwrights’ Bursary in 2012 and was on attachment to the Royal Court. She was Resident Playwright for Clean Break in 2012 and has taught the playwriting course several times. She has also written for Channel 4, BBC 1, Radio 4 and Radio 3.