The Vote

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The Vote
Written byJames Graham
Date premiered24 April 2015 (2015-04-24)
Place premieredDonmar Warehouse, London
Setting7 May 2015, London polling station

The Vote is a 2015 British play written by James Graham. The play received its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse as part of their spring 2015 season, where it ran from 24 April to 7 May 2015. Directed by Josie Rourke and set in a fictitious London polling station on election night 2015, the play was broadcast live on UK television channel More4 on the night of the election.

Production history[edit]

The Vote was written by playwright James Graham.[1] On 3 November 2014, it was announced the play would premiere as part of the Donmar Warehouse's spring 2015 season and would begin previews at the Donmar Warehouse, London on 24 April with an official opening, and final night on 7 May 2015.[2] Tickets for the play's short run were made available through a ballot.[3] In addition to its theatre showing, a live broadcast of the play aired on the UK television channel More4 on the night of the election.[4]

The Vote is set in a polling station in Lambeth,[5] during the final 90 minutes of polling for the 2015 general election on 7 May 2015,[6] meaning it was the first ever play[7] broadcast live at the exact time it was set.[8] The broadcast attracted 555,000 viewers at its peak, making it the most viewed production in the history of the Donmar Warehouse.[9] The broadcast was filmed using fixed-rig cameras, similar to those used in television shows such as One Born Every Minute, rather than conventional filming methods.[10]

The play was directed by Josie Rourke,[11] with design by Robert Jones,[12] lighting design by Oliver Fenwick,[13] movement by Stephen Mear,[14] composition by Michael Bruce[12] and sound design by Nick Lidster.[12] The work which had been in development for a year previous[15] reunited the Donmar Warehouse's artistic director Rourke with writer James Graham, who last worked together on the play Privacy, which also premiered at the Donmar.[4][16]

The play featured an ensemble cast of around 40,[17] including Catherine Tate, Mark Gatiss, Timothy West,[18] Nina Sosanya and Bill Paterson.[19] Judi Dench also starred alongside her real life daughter Finty Williams for the first time, playing a mother and daughter[20] and marking her first performance at the theatre since 1976.[21]

A typical performance ran 90 minutes, with no interval.

Describing the live broadcast, director Rourke said, "This is a unique opportunity for the Donmar to make a small theatre feel very big",[22] whilst writer Graham added that he hoped to illuminate the "diverse, diligent and often hilarious individuals" who turn the "unglamourous" settings of polling stations into "places where history is made".[21]



  1. ^ "James Graham interview: meet the writer bringing drama to this year's election race". The Independent. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Donmar Warehouse to Revive Closer, Plus Premiere Two New Plays; Casts Include Rufus Sewell and Simon Russell Beale". Playbill. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss and Catherine Tate lead cast of Donmar's election play". 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Voting in general elections gets TV treatment from Donmar and Channel 4". The Guardian. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  5. ^ "The Vote (Donmar Warehouse)". 7 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Dench and Gatiss lead Donmar and Channel 4 election night first". The Guardian. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Dame Judi Dench to make stage debut with her daughter". The Daily Telegraph. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Live play set in the final minutes of the general election to be broadcast in TV first". The Daily Telegraph. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Television broadcast of The Vote attracted half a million viewers". 20 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Channel 4 to air theatrical event The Vote on Election Night 2015". Channel 4. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Meet The Vote creators Josie Rourke and James Graham". London Evening Standard. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  12. ^ a b c "First look at Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss and more in rehearsals for The Vote". 27 April 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  13. ^ "The Vote review". The Stage. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Donmar Warehouse Casts Its Vote, and Plans a Long-Term Play Project". Playbill. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Judi Dench and the anarchists: why British theatre has gone election mad". The Guardian. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  16. ^ "More4 to screen Donmar Warehouse's election night drama". BBC News. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  17. ^ "The Vote, Donmar Warehouse, London – review". Financial Times. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Dame Judi Dench teams up with Catherine Tate and Jude Law as she leads an all-star cast in political stage drama The Vote". Daily Mail. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Rehearsals for election night play The Vote may stop me voting". London Evening Standard. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  20. ^ "A family affair: Judi Dench to star alongside daughter Finty Williams in play The Vote". Daily Express. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Judi Dench to star with daughter in polling station play aired live on election night". The Independent. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Mark Gatiss, Judi Dench to star in live election play The Vote for More4". Digital Spy. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.