Concerning the Life and Crimes of Dr Harold Frederick Shipman opening at the Courtyard Theater


Sarah Lawrie for Nailed Productions will present the world premiere of THE QUALITY OF MERCY: Concerning the Life and Crimes of Dr Harold Frederick Shipman, written and performed by Edwin Flay | Directed by Bernie C. Byrnes, September 27 – October 8, 2022.

The Courtyard Theatre, Bowling Green Walk, 40 Pitfield Street, N1 6EU @CourtyardHoxton | @NailedCreates | #QualityofMercyPlay

Performer and playwright Edwin Flay has a unique perspective on the subject, as a former patient of Shipman since childhood. His family lived in Hyde in the 80s and 90s and his grandmother, Renee Lacey, was one of Shipman’s victims, aged just 63.

The Quality of Mercy is an investigative play, exploring with unflinching candor the motivations of Britain’s most prolific serial killer and questioning society’s attitudes towards death, justice and compassion.

From his cell in the wee hours of the morning, Harold Shipman breaks his silence to record a confessional tape, laying out his version of events as he prepares to take one last life.

In an effort to understand this senseless crime, Flay conducted extensive research into Shipman’s career, including an extensive review of the Smith Report on Shipman’s history and motivations.

Among the files he found details of his own family’s evidence at the inquest when Dame Smith examined Ms

Lacey’s death, which directly informed the creation of the piece.

Writer and performer Edwin Flay studied film and theater at the University of Reading, where he graduated in 1998, and now works as an actor, writer and producer. TV credits include OUTLANDER (Amazon Prime), THE SUFFRAGETTES (BBC), BOOMERS (BBC) and TO WAR! (BBC). Film credits include THE CARROT (Another Footnote Ltd), SERVANTS’ QUARTERS (Aviary Films), CROWHURST (Splash Page Media), REFUGEE (CTVC) and GRACE OF MONACO (Stone Angels). Theater credits include RICHARD II (The Vaults), MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS (English Theater of Hamburg), A LA CARTE (Southwark Playhouse), THE TAILOR-MADE MAN (The White Bear), THE CRYSTAL EGG (The Vaults), THE BRIGHTON KILLERS (Brighton Fringe) and THE HOUSE (So & So Arts Club). In 2021, he made his debut on Radio 4 in the legal series BARRED (B7 Media). Edwin wrote, produced and starred in a short film titled AN UNKIND WORD, which played at festivals around the world, winning an Indie Spirit Award at Idyllwild and a Remi Bronze at Worldfest Houston. He has also written several feature film scripts. THE QUALITY OF MERCY is Edwin’s first play. Twitter: @EdwinFlay

Director Bernie C. Byrnes is a multi-award winning screenwriter and director with a Ph.D. in literary criticism. Bernie was playwright on the award-winning shows MUSE OF FIRE (Shakespeare’s Globe) and LITTLE SOLDIERS (Theatre Re). International work includes projects in Poland, Switzerland, USA, Mumbai and Singapore. Previous orders include the RSC, Soho Theatre, Channel 5, Pluto Productions, Digital Catapult and Blackwatch Entertainment. Bernie is an established theater practitioner, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Fellow of the Guild of Directors. She has worked alongside Stephen Pimlott, Ed Hall, Michael Attenborough, Gareth Armstrong and Wayne Sleep. Bernie’s specialist interests are mental health, art and vulnerable communities, and new writing. Twitter: @BernieCByrnes

Sound Designer Kirsty Gillmore is an award-winning sound designer, producer and owner of Sounds Wilde. She has worked in professional sound for over twenty years, in sound design, recording and mixing for theatre, opera and audio and radio drama. Theater and opera credits include THE GRAVITY (Bristol Old Vic), KILL CLIMATE DENIERS (Pleasance), THE SHAPE OF PAIN (Battersea Arts Centre), L’OPESDALE (Wiltons) and THE LITTLE PRINCE (Arcola). Audio and radio drama credits include PERSUASION (Audible), THE SPACE RACE (Audible/B7 Media), GREENBORNE (B7 Media), and THE SANDMAN: ACT II (Audible Original), based on Neil Gaiman’s cult graphic novels. Kirsty is also an acclaimed voice director and casting director for games and animation. Recent titles include LIVEALIVE (Square Enix), DESTRUCTION ALLSTARS (Lucid Games) and BALDUR’S GATE 3 (Larian Studios.) In 2021, she was chosen for the prestigious BAFTA Breakthrough UK program as Voice Director for Games. Twitter: @SoundsWilde

Lighting Designer and Production Manager Adam Bottomley is a freelance set builder, lighting designer and production manager with a diverse portfolio ranging from touring opera and musical theater to festivals, Fringe theater and specialty productions at the site. Lighting design credits include POLICE COPS THE MUSICAL (new diorama) and BADASS BE THY NAME (international tour), HUSH NOW (Courtyard Theatre, Hereford), THE SPIRAL PATH White Bear Theater and Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans) and JOURNEY’S END at Kruitmagazijn, Ypres. Twitter: @AdamBottomley

Producer Sarah Lawrie has been in theater since 2013. Most recently, she produced the Arts Council-funded web series LEAR ALONE, which won Best Series at the 2022 Off West End OnComm Awards. New Writing in partnership with the BBC Writers’ Room), LOVE & DESTRUCTION (Playground Theatre), LEAVES (Jermyn Street Theatre), SCRUNGER (Finborough Theater – winner of Best New Play at the Off West End Awards 2021), web series LATE NIGHT STARING AT HIGH RES PIXELS (winner of London Pub Theatre’s Standing Ovation Award for Best Online Theatre) and TIMELESS (Space Theater and Touring). Sarah is a founding member of And Tomorrow Theater Company, whose inaugural production, DEATH OF A HUNTER, premiered at the Finborough Theater in 2018 and transferred to the Brighton Fringe Festival. Sarah is also co-creator and sole producer of Rula Lenska’s one woman show FROM DZIKOW TO WILLESDEN GREEN and is currently developing SHUTTERS: A LESBIAN ROCK OPERA for The Vindicate Company. Twitter: @La_Lawrie

Company information
Written and performed by Edwin Flay | Directed by Bernie C. Byrnes | Produced by Sarah Lawrie for Nailed Productions Production Management and Lighting Design by Adam Bottomley | Sound design by Kirsty Gillmore
Videography by Neil Monaghan | Directed by Becky Brown | Associate Producer Kat Rogers

About Nailed Productions

Nailed Productions is a company run by Edwin Flay, producing films and theatre. The company began life as Nailed Films, a short film production company run by Edwin Flay and Neil Monaghan. Following the completion and festival success of their first short, AN UNKIND WORD, starring Robert Daws and Susan Penhaligon, they are now finishing work on a second alongside THE QUALITY OF MERCY.

How to buy tickets

September 27 – October 8, Tuesday – Saturday at 7 p.m. Saturday morning at 2:30 p.m. | www.thecourtyard.org.uk/whatson Tel. : 0844 477 1000 | Tickets £16, £12 off including booking fee. General admission + published script £20

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