The Hope Theatre to stage Nick Hornby’s football novel, Fever Pitch

Last Updated on 11 July 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

The Hope Theatre in London is to premiere a new stage adaptation by Joel Samuels of Nick Hornby’s bestseller, Fever Pitch, about being a football fan

Fever Pitch theatre
Artwork for Fever Pitch at The Hope Theatre by Ali Wright

Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, Fever Pitch, about the highs and lows of being a football fan is to premiere as a stage adaptation at London’s Hope Theatre.

The new play, written by Joel Samuels, will kick off on 31 August 2021 and play until 25 September, with opening night on 2 September. Tickets are on sale now.

It will be directed by Kennedy Bloomer – her first and last in-house production as artistic director after she joined just as the pandemic hit at the start of 2020.

Fever Pitch, published in 1992 and adapted into a film starring Colin Firth, charts more than two decades of one man’s total and utter obsession with Arsenal Football Club. It is a story about what it means to be a fanatic and what that means for everyone in our lives who isn’t. From exhilarating, all-encompassing moments of joy and pleasure to totally debilitating and soul-destroying lows, Nick’s obsession infects every aspect of his life. Is it really only a game?

The play is described as an “exhilarating, moving and brutally funny love letter that will appeal to football obsessives and football haters alike”. Writer Joel Samuels’ previous work includes A Wake In Progress which premiered at London’s Vault Festival in 2019.

The Hope Theatre, in Upper Street in Islington, will be releasing 10% of all tickets for Fever Pitch for free to residents of Islington. Residents should email to check availability and to reserve tickets. There will be one ticket per audience member on a first-come, first-served basis.

The theatre is also working with Arsenal Football Club to strengthen existing links and bring in some of the community groups that the club works with, especially those who might not otherwise have access to arts and culture.

Bloomer said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing Fever Pitch to The Hope. A hilarious, joyous production that our community and football lovers and haters alike can enjoy. I can’t wait to finally direct an in-house show after closure.”

Samir Singh, community development officer at Arsenal Football Club, added: “At Arsenal we’re proud of our work in the community and we always look for ways to support local arts and culture and to bring it to the community groups we work with, who might not otherwise have access.

“We’ve worked with The Hope Theatre previously, and are thrilled that they’re staging an adaptation of such an iconic book, particularly whilst English football is having such a glorious summer.”

The Hope Theatre, with space for up to 50 seats, reopened in June at 50% capacity but Fever Pitch is expected to open to full capacity in line with Government easing of Covid restrictions.

Full casting will be announced shortly.

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.