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Theatre503 presents

A Woman Walks Into A Bank

Written by Roxy Cook
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Moscow, August 2018. The World Cup has just ended, and it has been a roaring success. Free Metro travel. Parties in the square. The police, the ones with guns, they were smiling! People finally saw that yeah, it’s okay over here and no, it doesn’t snow in the summer, it’s actually very warm. And wait, did we mention it was an incident free event?

But when an old woman walks into a bank, she is conned into taking out a high interest loan which she immediately forgets all about. A catastrophic series of events are set in motion…with only her cat Sally to bear witness.

Winner of the 2023 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award, A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK is a powerful portrayal of a country in crisis. Inspired by childhood fairytales, Roxy Cook’s vibrant debut play uses biting humour to interrogate the social apathy tearing Russia apart. How did we get here? How can we get out?

Running time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (including a 15 minute interval)

Age guidance: 12+

Content Warnings: Please find a link to the content warnings for the show here. A full Care Pack can be found here.



21 November 7.30pm WRITERS NIGHT: A chance for writers to enjoy a discounted ticket and meet our literary department and the writer of the show. Attendees to Writers Night are invited to submit for our Rapid Write Response initiative. To unlock a £6 ticket, email to be digitally tagged as a writer. If you have previously been tagged as a writer, your ticket will automatically adjust to £6 on the final page of booking – you do not need a Promo Code. On Writers Night, there will be a Q&A with the literary department and writer of the show between 6:50pm-7:20pm. If you are unable to attend our Writers Night, the £6 Writers tickets will also be available up until Saturday 25th. There will also be a digital version of this conversation on Zoom with Roxy Cook, writer of the play, and our Literary Manager, Steve Harper on Monday 13th November at 7pm. Tickets can be booked for this Zoom session here.

29 November 7:30pm & 2 December 2:30pm PAY WHAT YOU CHOOSE: These are our two Pay What You Choose performances, where tickets start from £5. Please note, unlike previous seasons, the final Saturday of the run is no longer a Pay What You Choose performance.

6 December 12pm PARENT & BABY:  Provided as an opportunity for parents and/or guardians to enjoy a spot of theatre without the need to hire a babysitter. Please note, we do not exclude other audience members from booking to see this performance.

Poster image: Frank Herfort Photography

This production is generously supported by:





Roxy Cook

Roxy is a writer and director working across theatre and TV. After 5 years directing new writing (associate dir. Olivier award winning Rotterdam; assistant dir. Describe the Night; dir. Happy to Help; working with Rob Drummond on The Majority), she began writing in 2019. A Woman Walks Into a Bank is her first play, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2021 and longlisted for the Bruntwood Prize and Verity Bargate Award, both 2022. Alongside writing, Roxy works in development and script editing for TV.


Artistic Team
Roxy Cook
Roxy Cook
Set & Costume Designer
David Allen
Lighting Designer
Joe Price
Sound Designer & Composer
Hugh Sheehan
Associate Director & Movement Director
Sam Hooper
Casting Director
Nadine Rennie CDG
Associate Lighting Designer
Nicola Crawford
Stage Manager
Rose Hockaday
Assistant Stage Manager on Placement
Amie Whickman
Production Manager
Misha Mah
Ceri Lothian
Assistant Producer
Humnah Abdullah
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A/An Old Woman
Giulia Innocenti
B/A Young Man
Sam Newton
C/A Debt Collector
Keith Dunphy
THE GUARDIAN - 4 Stars, A Woman Walks into a Bank review – tricksy Russian tragicomedy with a talking cat
Posted on 1 December 2023

This play opens just as the title promises. Two narrators tell us the story of an elderly woman (Giulia Innocenti) from old Russia who is stranded in the new Moscow of 2018 that is still high from hosting the World Cup.

She is sold a loan with an extortionate interest rate by a callow, morally slippery bank manager (Sam Newton), even though it is intimated that she is in the early throes of dementia and can’t keep hold of the manager’s name. That action spirals into a tragicomedy, of sorts, narrated by characters-cum-storytellers. They restart again and again, it seems, and the drama appears beguilingly simple but gathers Matryoshka doll-like layers.


Read the full article

Bruntwood Blog: Roxy Cook’s Theatre503 Premiere!
Posted on 3 November 2023

Londoners, get down to Theatre503! Roxy Cook’s A Woman Walks Into A Bank opens on 21st November for a three-week run, after winning the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award. Roxy began writing in 2019, after 5 years of directing new writing for theatre: she was Associate Director on Olivier award winning Rotterdam at Theatre503, Assistant Director on Describe the Night and The Majority, and Director on Happy to Help. A Woman Walks Into a Bank is Roxy’s first play, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting (2021) and longlisted for the Bruntwood Prize and Verity Bargate Award (2022).

Speaking to us about the play’s journey, Roxy has said…

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THE STAGE - Cast announced for Roxy Cook's debut play A Woman Walks Into a Bank
Posted on 19 October 2023

Debut play A Woman Walks Into a Bank by Roxy Cook will be performed at Theatre503 in London, starring Keith Dunphy, Giulia Innocenti, and Sam Newton.

Cook is also directing the play, which was selected as the winner of the Carne Prize 2023 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award, alongside associate and movement director Sam Hooper...

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Posted on 19 October 2023

Theatre503 has announced the cast and full creative team for Roxy’s Cook’s debut play A Woman Walks Into a Bank with Keith Dunphy (Under Black Rock, Arcola) playing C/A Debt Collector, Giulia Innocenti (Inspector Sands’ Wuthering Heights) playing A/An Old Woman, and Sam Newton (Big Big Sky, Hampstead) playing B/A Young Man. The part of a cat, Sally is played by all three...

Read the full article

Audience Reviews
a whimsical, layered meta-tale...absorbing, original and sophisticated storytelling
The Guardian
hilarious, moving
The Reviews Hub
thoroughly delightful...prepare to be astonished
The Spy In The Stalls
Giulia Innocenti, Sam Newton, and Keith Dunphy all deliver electrifying performances
A Youngish Perspective
A blazing production, rammed with pathos, humour and a fabulously comedic cat...beautifully complex and whip-smart
Broadway World
innovative to the point of feeling like a new form of play
London Pub Theatres
All That Dazzles
surreal, trippy, and wonderfully human
Theatre Weekly
Lost in Theatreland
An absurdist well-written satire with a terrific cast
Everything Theatre
Plays To See
Every line rings true
British Theatre Guide

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