The world premiere

Lyn Gardner avatar
6 January 2020  ·  Follow on Stagedoor
“The tiny Earl’s Court theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and it kicks of the celebrations with the premiere of Scrounger, a piece written by Athena Stevens about the treatment of people with disabilities that is inspired by her own experience of an airline destroying her wheelchair. Stevens’ previous plays include Schism – which transferred to the Park Theatre – and this new one is directed by Lily McLeish, who has worked extensively as an associate director with the revered (and reviled) Katie Mitchell.”


“And I don’t know how to engage,
With people of the wrong side of justice,
That can’t be bothered to tell their left
From what’s right.”

The first production of the Finborough Theatre’s 40th anniversary year, the world premiere of Finborough Theatre Playwright in Residence and Olivier Award nominee Athena Stevens’s new play.

On the streets of Elephant and Castle, everyone likes to make speculations about Scrounger. She needs help, she must not be aware of the complexities of the world, she is sent from the demons to torture her mum… at least according to her Nigerian Uber driver.

Scrounger doesn’t care. A successful online personality, she’s got more power from her bedroom than anyone on the Southwark estates could dream of. She’s educated, she’s ballsy, and with a huge network of online allies, Scrounger is a woman who knows how to make change happen. 

That is, until an airline destroys her wheelchair. 

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Stevens herself, Scrounger drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.

Originally seen as part of Vibrant 2019 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, Scrounger now receives its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre.

Critic reviews

While Scrounger isn't exactly a perfect production, it is a notable step ahead in terms of representation and the tackling of a major issue

Broadway World

Scrounger is a great demonstration of Stevens' writing ability

Everything Theatre

Athena Stevens’s excellent new play is an uncomfortable exploration of the 2015 incident in which an airline trashed her wheelchair

Time Out

Athena Stevens creates comedy and occasional danger from a real-life incident in this tricksy drama

The Guardian

Athena Stevens’ ‘amusing, provocative’ exploration of ‘the shit disabled people have to deal with day in, day out’.


A courageous and emotional piece of utmost honesty

The Upcoming

It is a great concoction of strong performance, lighting and direction

A Younger Theatre

Well-told play about a disabled woman's quest for justice that holds back some of its anger

The Stage

It is unashamedly provocative; justifiably angry

Lyn Gardner for Stagedoor

It's a bitter and intermittently funny piece of theatre

The Arts Desk

A sharp and an incisive piece on how discrimination affects disabled people


Date & time

Show ended
Tue 7 Jan - Sat 1 Feb, 3pm & 7.30pm
Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins


118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED London, UK · Get Directions

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