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About Sweat

Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat by Lynn Nottage is transferring to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre for 50 performances only following a sold-out run at the Donmar Warehouse.

Based on interviews with residents of the rustbelt town of Reading, Pennsylvania, this ‘breathtaking new play’ (The Guardian) delivers ‘a knock-out blow of theatrical force’ (Daily Telegraph) as it examines the lives of factory workers facing de-industrialisation. As friendships strain under fear, anger and racial tensions, a devastating outcome awaits the divided community.

This ‘profound, terrifying, earthy and witty’ production ‘excels from start to finish’ (Evening Standard) and is ‘the year’s most powerful play’ (The Observer).

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“Sweat” follows two friends and colleagues at a local factory, Cynthia and Tracey (played by Clare Perkins and Martha Plimpton), and their families, as they go about their lives in Reading, Penn. Their friendship is pushed to the limit when a promotion becomes available at the factory, and both women believe they are the best person for the job. However, an even bigger problem strikes the small town, and the two friends are forced to do whatever it takes in order to survive, even if it involves the ultimate betrayal. “Sweat” offers a glimpse into how a community responds to adversity when all hope begins to fade.

Described as the “first theatrical landmark of the Trump era” by The New Yorker “Sweat” gives voice to residents of an economically deprived city of the United States who felt Trump’s presidential campaign spoke to them. This thought-provoking Pulitzer Prize-winning play is incredibly relevant to the current political climate as it delves deep into the struggles many Americans face today. Racial tensions and economic hardship are at the forefront of Lynn Nottage’s play which The Guardian calls a “breathtaking drama about life in the American rustbelt.”

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What To Watch For

  • Lynn Nottage is the only female playwright to have won the Pulitzer Award for Drama twice. In addition to “Sweat” she also received the award for “Ruined” in 2009.
  • Nottage was commissioned to write a play by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2011 and spent over two years interviewing residents of Reading, Penn., statistically one of the poorest cities in the United States.
  • “Sweat” received a Best New Play nomination at the 2019 Olivier Awards, as well as nominations for Tony and Drama Desk Awards in 2017.

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Start Date

End Date

The year’s most powerful play
The Observer

Gielgud Theatre

35-37 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, - W1D 6AR

Opening June 2019

June

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