Barbican announces Finn Beames & Company as this year’s recipient of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award


Today, the Barbican announces the winner of the 2024 Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, Finn Beames & Company. The new work, Quiet Songs, is a piece of music theatre for a single actor, a string quartet and an armoury of swords, and will receive its world premiere in The Pit as part of the arts centre’s autumn season.

Written, composed and directed by Finn Beames, in close collaboration with an actor and string quartet, Quiet Songs is a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age tale which follows what happens to a voice when it is cruelly pushed to breaking point, and how self-expression can be found beyond that.

Finn Beames, Artistic Director of Finn Beames & Company, said:
“Developing this show has been a long, lived-in process, but lightning has struck at exactly the right moment with the Oxford Samuel Beckett Trust Theatre Award. Winning it has brought my creative vision into sharp focus, and Quiet Songs will be a daring realisation of that in a venue I love. This is thanks to the Trust and the Barbican who, together, enact a rare thing: a genuine search for something different.”

Barbican Theatre & Dance Producer, Liz Eddy, said:
“We were really impressed by Finn’s initial presentation, following the week-long R&D workshop as part of the Award process here at the Barbican. The powerful extract we saw was so arresting and accomplished. We can’t wait to share the full production this autumn with our audiences.

We are delighted to continue working closely with the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust to deliver this award, a process which allows artists who are at a pivotal moment in their career to take risks, and have the time and space needed to create freely. There is no better place for this to happen than in our experimental space, The Pit.”

Finn Beames & Company is a changing group of collaborators making music-led work for live performance. Quiet Songs is their first production.

Finn Beames is a theatre maker combining text, music and staging to create new work. Finn’s current projects include Heavenly Bodies, a new musical commissioned by Audrey Productions and supported by Bristol Old Vic. He is a founder and leader of the Aphasia New Music Group, a co-creative music project delivered with UCL’s Communication Clinic. The ANMG supports adults with aphasia to develop a new music practice, and has mounted two London performances and a national tour to date. In 2015 Finn won the Genesis Future Directors Award at the Young Vic, and directed Man: 3 Plays by Tennessee Williams. Following this he took up the Lina Bo Bardi Fellowship for research into theatre and social housing in the UK and Brazil, appointed by the British Council, Sesc São Paulo and Instituto Bardi.

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award (OSBTTA) supports the development of emerging practitioners engaged in bold, challenging and innovative performance. Since 2007, the Barbican and the OSBTTA have worked together to stage 15 new productions, based on a prize-winning proposal, for The Pit or a site-specific location. Previous winners include ZooCo with Perfect Show For Rachel (returning to The Pit in spring 2024 with an extended run, 24 May – 9 June), HighRise Entertainment, IN BED WITH MY BROTHER, Alan Fielden with JAMS, Mars.tarrab, Dickie Beau, and You Me Bum Bum Train.