Run by Stephen Laughton (an excerpt)

Vada Voices

It’s the last day of term and Yonni’s pissed off. He just wants to get away from Mum, away from Shabbat and head up to his room. That’s where Adam is. The only person Yonni wants to be around, think about, be about…

And as the night unfolds and falls into chaos – some of it real, and some of it not so – Yonni pulls us into his world… A world filled with school riots, first loves, beached whales, political demonstrations, cinema, sex and rebellion.

Brought to you by Vault Festival favourites Rogues’ Gallery Theatre Company (Folk Contraption and The Incredible One Man Pandemic) and penned by acclaimed playwright Stephen Laughton, Run is set in London, right now, and encompasses all of time, space and the universe.

Performed by rising star Tom Ross-Williams and directed by Rogues’ Gallery Artistic Director Oli Rose, Run explores what it means to love and to lose, and how to grow from a boy into a man.

With original music by Helen Sartory.


Sea blurs sky blur as the wash blurs the wind and this isolated milieu against this desolate headland that’s dominated by these two massive power stations is bare and bleak and wild and windswept and just so so so hauntingly beautiful.

We walk slowly down the long long boardwalk.
In silence.

Wrapped up in the empty eeriness all around us.

Dungeness is Britain’s only desert and the beach shelves sharply and the currents seem sure and strong.

I’m mesmorised as we walk across pebbles and shingle and watch the waves crash onto the beach. The coast is rugged and the sky feels vacant.

Flotsam washes up and around whilst ubiquitous junk and jetsam seem to whisper their own memories and history.

And as I lose myself you suddenly take my hand, and start singing Leonard Cohen at me, spinning me up and around and about….
First dance at our wedding you declare…
Really? You’ve thought that far ahead?
You shrug. Say maybe it’s me that’s been thinking that far ahead and now I’m just projecting it onto you.
Yeah. OK. But you’re the one who’s really into Cohen.
You agree. Yeah you are. And you carry on singing at me.

In the voice.

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

And you spin me under your arms as you whisper the sweet beginnings of our own memories before you twist me out and pull me back and then face to face, kiss me, and  send me spinning off –


And then we spot it.

And then we stop.

She’s small, around 22 feet.
You reckon she’s probably a young Humpback.

You start telling me that adults are like 48-63ft in length, that they’re known for their magical songs, which totally relay over like huge distances to mainly attract mates but also to just communicate…

And that noise pollution in the sea is really problematic for them and one of the main causes for beaching… and you tell me how the only day on record when whales’ stress hormones noticeably decreased was in 2001, the day after 9/11 – the day when noise and ship traffic also decreased. Because across the world… Hundreds upon thousands of ships were confined to port.

And on that day, for the first time, in –
I don’t even know how long…
The whales could finally hear one another.
And they could talk to one another.
Sing and shout and call to one another.

On that beautiful day, they re-connected to one another.

Extract from ‘Run’ © Stephen Laughton is reproduced by permission of Nick Hern Books who publish the play in the anthology Plays from VAULT: Five new plays from VAULT Festival, available from

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