Stay in the know.
Sign up for updates about events, news and special offers.
Turning the Screw
Drama + Main House

Turning the Screw

How do you say “no” to someone who has the power to make or break your career?

Exploring the dynamics of power and art, Turning the Screw is a fascinating and nuanced exploration of a key point in the life of composer Benjamin Britten and his relationships with boys.

It's 1950s Britain and 'pink panic' is on the rise. As the government is trying to crack down on ‘high profile homosexuals’, Britten is writing a new opera based on Henry James’ novella ‘The Turn of the Screw’. As he grapples with the melodies, and his own sexuality, he welcomes choirboy David Hemmings into the home he shares with his partner Peter Pears. Britten takes Hemmings under his wing for private lessons; to sing out loud, for the first time, the opera he is writing.

But this innocent relationship between Britten and Hemmings soon turns into an obsession and the ‘curious story’ on which the opera is based begins to bleed into their shared reality. This award winning play speaks to historic power imbalances within the arts, living with the knowledge that someone has the power to make or break you. 

Turning The Screw - Playwright's Response

K-Squared Productions invite writers of all levels to submit pieces in response to Turning The Screw. A selection will then be showcased on 5th March after the evenings performance on our main house stage.

You can apply to take part and sign up for a free ticket to the show on either 14th or 15th February HERE 

We understand the financial strain creatives face and whilst we cannot offer a set fee, the showcase will be a low cost ticketed event with a share of the proceeds going to the writers. We are particularly keen to hear from LGBTQIA+ Writers.


Benjamin Britten | Gary Tushaw
David Hemmings | Liam Watson
Peter Pears | Simon Willmont
Imogen Holst | Jo Wickham
Basil Coleman | Jonathan Clarkson
Harry Morris / Cover David Hemmings | Sam McHale

Director | Tim McArthur
Writer | Kevin Kelly
Producer | K-Squared Productions Limited
Set Design | Laura Harling
Costume Design | Michelle Taylor-Knight
Sound Design | Paul Gavin
Music | Benjamin Britten
Additional Composition | Rudy Percival
Lighting Design | Vittorio Verta

Ticket Price

£10 - £45


14th Feb - 10th March


King's Head Theatre



"Sensitively directed... a tantalising look at Benjamin Britten” The Times

"A fascinating study of the balance of power” The Stage

“A musical masterpiece” British Theatre Guide

"Magnificent... a must-see for theatre and music lovers” ★★★★ Ham and High

“Riveting… raises questions which need to be explored”  ★★★★ London Pub Theatre

“Exceptionally creative work”  ★★★★ Reviews Hub

“Startling thematic relevance to today” ★★★★ Spy In The Stalls

"An almost flawless play" Fringe Review"Provocative and thought provoking" Once A Week Theatre

"A remarkable piece of theatre" Means Happy


Age Restriction: 16+

Running Time: 1hour 30mins

Content Warnings: Touches on themes of Emotional Abuse, Paedophilia and Victim Shaming

There will be a post show Q+A with the cast and creative team on the 19th February


Comedy + Main House Later

Eurovision Your Decision

A true homage to Eurovision! Completely Camp & Absolutely Bonkers!

Comedy + Main House

Houdini's Greatest Escape

Drama + Main House

How to Survive Your Mother

The true story of a Technicolor woman in a black and white world

Comedy + Main House Later

Hot Queer Magic (part of Liebenspiel's Late Night Week)

Get ready to immerse yourself in a riot of colours, laughter, and artistry.

Comedy + Main House Later

Hot Rubber (part of Liebenspiel’s Late Night Week)

Join your hosts for the world's only Scalextric tournament/comedy night. Six comedians have designed their own remote-controlled cars, ready for victory or destruction on the track.

Comedy + Main House Later

Joy Multiplication (part of Liebenspiel’s Late Night Week)

Who are Joy Multiplication, you ask? Joy Multiplication are 4 best friends who just so happen to be 4 of the country's best AND horniest comics.