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Oct 20th

Winter Season at the Blue Elephant Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

Blue Elephant Theatre 2017 Winter Season

"The exciting fringe outpost that is the Blue Elephant"
Graham Watts, Dance Tabs

 
The Blue Elephant continues to offer a wealth of exciting performances by emerging artists across the arts. New writing, family shows and physical theatre feature strongly in the programme, tackling topics from immigration and aging to consent and mental health.
 
Exciting theatre companies Original ImpactThe Dot Collective and Moon on a Stick return to the Blue Elephant this season and their work alone demonstrates the breadth of the programme. Original Impact are a performance collective with a strong actor-musician focus who present new work and contemporary retellings of classics. The Dot Collective creates high-quality work with and for older people, especially those with dementia. Moon on a Stick creates original shows for children, using puppetry and live music.
 
This is Blue Elephant Theatre’s first season to be announced since learning in June that it is to be added to Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations from April 2018. Blue Elephant Theatre was amongst just five new theatre organisations in London to be added to the portfolio, offering the theatre more stability and greater opportunities to develop its work.
 
Theatre
The Man, The Myths, The Legends

Original Impact
19 – 20 October
 
A night of new work from men, tackling the myths, bringing you the legends.
 
Following the successes of Female Intuition and Tit for TatOriginal Impact returns to the Blue Elephant to showcase more works of new writing, this time from a male perspective.
 
Rat King by Bram Davidovich tells the story of Kelly and Jacko, whose worlds collide on the streets of East London.
 
Delicacy by Mark Jones charts the aftermath of an unusual dinner party as a family discover their neighbour is a serial killer who has fed them human flesh.

Cubicle Confessions by Darrel Draper places pressure on toilet attendant Samarge to reach out and support a stranger contemplating suicide.

In The Rental by Mark Harvey Levine, Sonya receives an extraordinary birthday present - a rented boyfriend. He's the perfect man for her - but he's only there for a day.

Croydon Ho Yo Yo Yo by David Zaman is best described by character Lizzi as “a torrid tale of sisterly deceit, a will to power, and what happens when messed up Esta and me screwed with the wrong President in the wrong time, wrong place”.

In The Red Telephone by Alasdair Melrose, a man sits alone at a table. A telephone sits in front of him. This is an antique red rotary telephone made by Siemens, engraved with an eagle, a swastika, and a name...
 
“Original Impact proves what is possible with a strong cast and some directorial creativity”
Culturised on Original Impact’s Twelfth Night

Directors: Sean Hollands, Stephen Bailey, Dan Burman, Joshua Jewkes, Kris Witham & Dinos Psychogios
Cast: Stanley Eldridge, Victoria Hitchin, Jessica Kearney, Katie Turner, Alasdair Melrose, Will Anderson, Katie Capello, Katie Spencer- Blake, Darrel Draper, Dan Burman, Georgina Bennett, Kris Witham, James Morley, Joshua Jewkes & Zac Wancke
 
Theatre
The Actualisation Show
Ephemeral Ensemble
26 – 28 October
 
Professional Optimists Harley & Pedro bring you The Actualisation Show:
We’ll forget you your troubles and believe in your dreams! Offered now at bargain prices - special rates negotiable! We’re optimistic that you won't be disappointed!
 
The Actualisation Show is the first fully realised production of Ephemeral Ensemble, an international physical theatre company founded by Ramon Ayres and Eygló Belafonte. They co-direct following Belafonte’s recent return from performing in Theatre Re’s sell-out The Nature of Forgetting at the Edinburgh Fringe. Combining the skilled physicality, playful stage craft and vibrant music, Ephemeral Ensemble strives to create original, sincere and ambitious work that is inspired by human stories.
 
The Actualisation Show was created following interviews with those affected by suicide and Ephemeral Ensemble has worked with Papyrus and LAS.

Supported by Arts Council En
 
Directors: Eygló Belafonte & Ramon Ayres
Set, Prop & Costume: Rob Evison
Music, Sound & Lyrics: Alex Paton
Collaborators for research: Professor David Mosse, PAPYRUS & L.A.S.
Cast: Ramon Ayres & Rob Evison
 
Theatre
The Dance Hall
1 – 2 November
 
Caught between the past and the presentThe Dance Hall touches on themes of immigration, loss, loneliness, family and, most importantly, (in)dependence.
 
When Annie dies far too young, Jimmy struggles with getting older and losing his independence. His family ‘try to visit’ when their lives allow, with his daughter and granddaughter supporting him as best they can.
 
An intimate story about an Irish family living in England, The Dance Hall delves into Jimmy's journey from Ireland, how he met his beloved Annie in the dance hall and the loneliness of his life without her.
 
The Dance Hall is presented as a work-in-progress production.
 
Writer: Eve Niker
 
Theatre
The Conversation
8 November
 
A performance exploring the topic of consent
 
In The ConversationLauren Burch considers the language of consent and how we talk about it. Or - how we do not talk about it.
 
Don’t worry, she’s not looking to shock you and she’s definitely not angry at you. She just wants to impress you.
 
Lauren attempts to create a safe space where you feel relaxed and invited to enjoy yourself with the help of her hosting. All of this is for you, and she won’t let you forget it. She’s pulling out all the stops on this special night. She’s setting herself high expectations, and she may fail to meet them. You may feel the urge to leave, and you are welcome to, whenever you want.
 
But oh baby, please don’t go. She just wants you to stay.
 
Writer and Performer: Lauren Burch
 
Age guidance: 15+
 
Family Theatre
Shakespearience

Debbie Hicks Productions
 10 November

"Utterly hilarious... a wildly successful all-family show"
The Stage ☆☆☆☆☆
 
Join Shakespeare's Men as they fly through the Bard's Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night in a whirlwind hour of mischievous storytelling. With tons of audience interaction, more than a dash of mayhem and a star turn from one lucky adult (shhh don't tell!), Shakespearience is the perfect treat for all the family. 
 
Theatre
How to Cope with Embarrassment

Two Pale Ladies
15 – 18 November
 
An irreverent showcase of what makes us tick, blush, cringe and silently scream
 
The Two Pale Ladies, and their new pale mate, explore what it is to be embarrassed and how it happens, in hopes of finding a way of coping with it.
 
So that we can reduce the number of times a day we wish that the ground would open up and lose us within its burning furnace.
 
So that we may sleep better, with a clearer conscience.
 
So that we may be less embarrassed.
 
How to Cope with Embarrassment is part forum theatre, live art, cabaret, wanna-be comedy and a little bit of karaoke. Deliberately adopting a disloyal frame, it stomps between genres and styles as a reaction to the fickle and capricious nature of Embarrassment, with a focus on failure and error.
 
The Tricycle
Bright South Theatre
21 – 25 November
 
What would you do for the chance of a better tomorrow?
 
 Apal and Climando have to pay for the tricycle they hired but they don´t have the money. How far will they go to survive in a world where all hope of a future is lost?
 
Three teenagers and an old man try to survive in a hostile, unintelligible and alienating world. They’re just four marginal characters looking for their place in a system which forgot them.
 
The Tricycle was the first play by renowned Spanish playwright Fernando Arrabal. Written in 1952, is a strangely light-hearted tale of poverty and murder. In this perfect example of Absurd Theatre, the writer questions the limits of freedom and the relationship between our acts and their consequences in a rotten society where children commit sinister acts to survive.
 
Bright South Theatre, under the direction of Jesús Chavero, presents the London premiere of a new adaptation of The Tricycle. This young Spanish company presents its first project in English, portraying a playful yet disturbing world and posing questions as relevant now as when The Tricycle was first written.
 
Writer: Fernando Arrabal
Translator & Director: Jesús Chavero
 
Theatre
The Invisible
30 November – 1 December
 
A storyteller stands alone on the stage, sharing a story about an invisible character.
 
She waits for airplanes to cross the sky. She wants to see the outside world. She folds paper planes. She takes a flight. She leaves home. She arrives in a foreign country. She feels invisible. She asks why.
 
What happens when East Asian culture lands at Heathrow Airport? How much do you know about the invisible? How little do you know? The Invisible is a one-woman show by Yuyu Wang, drawing on real experiences of living in a foreign country, incorporating story-telling, music and movement. It aims to explore the vulnerability, homesickness and otherness of Asian communities overseas, offering a new perspective on current contemporary discussions around immigration, alienation and home.
 
Writer and Performer: Yuyu Wang
 
Family Theatre
Little Red Riding Hood

Moon on a Stick
7 – 9 December
 
A much-loved story reinvented as a playful pantomime
 
Moon on a Stick combine enchanting puppetry and imaginative storytelling with traditional pantomime elements to create a fun and engaging show designed especially for tiny audience members.
 
Featuring live music, dance and audience interaction, Little Red Riding Hoodwill have everyone singing and laughing along but most importantly helping Little Red on her big adventure through the forest.
 
Packed full of silliness, a sassy heroine and sparkles, this is the perfect introduction to panto for children aged 3+ and their families.
 
Both performances on Saturday 9 December will be relaxed performances.

Supported by Arts Council England, Apples & Pears Foundation and the Wakefield & Tetley Foundation
 
Theatre
Once Upon a Christmas Song
The Dot Collective
13 December
 
Framed around popular Christmas themes, familiar music and memories, Once Upon a Christmas Song is an alternative Christmas show, guaranteed nonetheless to make you feel festive.
 
Once Upon a Christmas Song is new play by Alexander Moschos, written following The Dot Collective’s storytelling workshops with people living with dementia which were held at dementia friendly cafes, day care centres and activity groups for the elderly.
 
Characters, places and poetry were created. Memories, music and thoughts were shared between the service users and the artistic team. These one-hour workshops revealed many magical stories springing from the dynamic minds of the clients, regardless of age, disability or dementia. Moschos has responded to the memories and ideas around Christmas shared to write Once Upon a Christmas Song.
 
This play is truly a collaboration between the many minds met during the workshops and the playwright.
 
Writer: Alexander Moschos
 
Listings Information:
Venue: Blue Elephant Theatre, 59a Bethwin Rd, Camberwell, SE5 0XT (entrance on Thompson Ave)
Nearest tube: Oval (Northern Line)
Wheelchair accessible
Box Office: 020 7701 0100

www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk
info@blueelephanttheatre.co.uk
Twitter: @BETCamberwell
Oct 7th

VIBRANT 2017 – A FESTIVAL OF FINBOROUGH PLAYWRIGHTS

By Carolin Kopplin

THE NINTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR

VIBRANT 2017 –
A FESTIVAL OF FINBOROUGH PLAYWRIGHTS

Curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson.
Produced by Lynne McConway.

Plays by
June Carryl, Sue Healy, Adam Hughes, Iain Finlay Macleod, Joe Marsh, Carmen Nasr, Jeff Page, Avin Shah and Athena Stevens

Directed by
Charlie Barker, Manuel Bau, Jelena Budmir, Liz Carruthers, Shane Dempsey, Fay Lomas, Ali Pidsley, Tricia Thorns and Oscar Toeman.

Supported by
The Richard Carne Trust. Oberon Books. Hogarth Estates. Samuel French Limited.

Now in its ninth consecutive year, the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre – the coalface of British Theatre – presents Vibrant 2017  A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, its annual explosion of new writing, performing on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26 October 2017

As always, this year's festival features an intriguing selection of staged readings of new works by UK and international playwrights, both established and new, discovered, developed or championed by the Finborough Theatre.

Concentrated solely on full length works for the stage, Vibrant 2017  A Festival of Finborough Playwrights continues to introduce you to some of the fascinating diverse vibrant voices the theatre has nurtured.

Since the first festival in 2009, Vibrant festivals have included over 100 new plays, 26 of which have gone on to be produced in full productions at the Finborough Theatre including Mirror Teeth by Nick Gill, The Man by James Graham, And I And Silence by Naomi Wallace, Black Jesus by Anders Lustgarten, Carthage by Chris Thompson, Nona Shepphard and Craig Adams' musical version of Thérèse Raquin, This Heaven by Nakkiah Lui, Continuity by Gerry Moynihan, and Dubailand by Carmen Nasr. Many other plays first seen in Vibrant have also gone on to be produced by other theatres.

Despite remaining completely unsubsidised, the Finborough Theatre has an unparalleled track record of discovering new playwrights who go on to become leading voices in British theatre. Under Artistic Director Neil McPherson, it has discovered some of the UK's most exciting new playwrights including Laura Wade, James Graham, Mike Bartlett, Chris Thompson, Jack Thorne, Alexandra Wood, Al Smith, Nicholas de Jongh and Anders Lustgarten; and directors including Blanche McIntyre, Robert Hastie, Kate Wasserberg and Sam Yates.

Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights is again curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson, winner of The Writers' Guild Award for the Encouragement of New Writing, and twice winner of the OffWestEnd Award for Best Artistic Director.

Week One – 8 - 12 October 2017
Sunday, 8 October 2017 at 7.30pm
Genie by Athena Stevens. Directed by Jelena Budimir.

With severe Cerebral Palsy, an IQ of 30, and the inability to hear, Genie has spent the past two decades isolated in an institution. But when Jessica, Genie's twin sister, decides to take her out of the care home, none of the doctors can explain why Genie has developed a compulsion to destroy anything made of fabric. With a home shredded and Jessica's marriage in tatters, being a carer proves to take more of a toll than Jessica expected. But when an unlikely explanation arises regarding Genie's compulsion, it calls into question how much she is aware of, and whether more meaning can be woven into her life than anyone ever thought. Based on the work of Judith Scott, Genie is an inspirational testament to the power of creativity in the face of trauma.

Monday, 9 October 2017 at 7.30pm
The Climbers by Carmen Nasr. Directed by Charlie Barker. 

British couple Yasmin and Charlie are inexperienced but passionate mountaineers, determined to climb the highest mountain on Earth and see the curve of the Earth from the summit. With a hired professional guide and an army of Sherpas, they set off to conquer the mountain. But when things go wrong on the climb, and Charlie goes missing on the descent, Yasmin and the guide's accounts of what actually happened don't quite add up...

Exploring the questionable ambition of today's increasingly inexperienced expeditions to Mount Everest, The Climbers challenges our dangerous tendency to celebrate the human conquest of nature.

Thursday, 12 October 2017 at 3.00pm
Checkpoint Chana by Jeff Page. Directed by Manuel Bau.

Poet Bev Hemmings is in the eye of a storm after she publishes a poem that the world seems to believe is anti-Semitic. She's convinced she's innocent, but everyone else – including her PA, Tamsin – wants her to apologise. A press interview is planned to begin her public rehabilitation, but Bev's erratic behaviour, exacerbated by drink and a dying father, make her public contrition a complex process.
Checkpoint Chana examines the point where pro-Palestinian criticism of the government of Israel and anti-Semitism blur.

Week Two – 15 – 19 October 2017
Sunday, 15 October 2017 at 7.30pm 
Beeston by Adam Hughes. Directed by Ali Pidsley.

Summer 2005. Beeston, Leeds. A once white-working class community divided by mass immigration and industrial decline. Nobody knows this more than scaffolder Jordan. His only real companion is younger brother Liam, who has fallen for Nadima, a medical student from the Asian community. But with the 7/7 bombings, everything changes, and Jordan finds himself moving down a dark path from which there may be no return... A new play exploring the demonisation of the white working-class and offers a fresh perspective on nationalism and identity in modern Britain.

Monday, 16 October 2017 at 7.30pm 
Imaginationship by Sue Healy. Directed by Tricia Thorns.

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. 59-year-old Ginnie attempts to seduce her unrequited love, the nymphomaniac Brenda. Attila is from Hungary but has ended up scraping an existence in Yarmouth –and pursues Melody who is obsessed with her cold and distant evening-class tutor, Tony. Power-plays and relationships clash until a seduction too far leads to mass murder. Set in a marginalised Brexit town, Imaginationship explores obsession, sex addiction, and the devastating effect of imbalanced relationships, not least between immigrants and locals, London and the regions.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 at 3.00pm
Morningland by Iain Finlay Macleod. Directed by Liz Carruthers.

A man and woman stand in Glenfinnan forest in the middle of the night. Sorley and Eimhir. He grallochs a deer they have hit with the car and tells her he is AWOL. They are going to Raasay, a place with its own ghosts for Sorley, but the only place no-one will find him. He was brought up there by his uncle, who was traumatised by the Spanish Civil War. Eimhir is Irish and Sorley hid it from her for long enough that he was in the army. Now she finds out that he speaks Arabic and works in intelligence. He has gone AWOL after having to question a man, Ali, involved in a terrorist attack. When they reach the island, his uncle, a man long dead, is there. Sorley encounters the three stories of his life at once – his childhood with his uncle, his unrequited love of Eimhir and the night he interrogates Ali.

Week Three – 22 – 26 October 2017
Sunday, 22 October 2017 at 7.30pm
The Good Minister From Harare by June Carryl. Directed by Shane Dempsey.

Inspired by the human toll of Robert Mugabe's massacre of at least 20,000 Ndebele in Zimbabwe thirty years ago, The Good Minister From Harare was the winner of the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance $10,000 Saroyan/Paul 2016 Human Rights Award, judged by Rob Drummer, Artistic Director of Boundless; Neil McPherson, Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre since 1999; and Simon Levy, Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles since 1993.

When a low-level bureaucrat is asked to right a wrong committed in his village thirty years before, he quickly finds himself plunged into a nightmare wonderland of red tape, government thugs and revolutionary zealots. When the past won't stay buried, do you turn a blind eye and live, or die a martyr in the bloody business of liberation?

Monday, 23 October 2017 at 7.30pm
Outcaste by Avin Shah. Directed by Fay Lomas.

1914: A Hindu village boasting generations of warrior tradition. With the outbreak of war in Europe, the army recruitment business booms. With Untouchables deemed unfit for service, Yasmin's father sees an opportunity to enlist by converting to Islam. When he sails off to France, adolescent YASMIN remains behind in a religious community disgusted by her father's blasphemous act. Banned from education and a victim since birth, she struggles to adapt to her adopted Muslim faith whilst vulnerable to persecution and sexual violence. But when news arrives from the Western Front of her father's bravery, her underdog's guile is awakened. Climbing out of the gutter, she steps into the vacant men's shoes and becomes a fearsome adversary...

Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 3.00pm
We Struggle by Joe Marsh. Directed by Oscar Toeman.

A grey summer's day in East London. Jihad is a man on the edge. He has lost his job and his girlfriend Abida has left him in mysterious and sinister circumstances. Heartbroken and directionless, he defecates on the floor of his local Tesco superstore, steals a kitchen knife from its shelves, and over the hours that ensue has a series of encounters with friends, family and strangers as he forges a dark path forward. These encounters are interspersed with flashbacks to his ill-fated relationship with Abida, as their story of shattered hopes, insecurity and radicalisation unfolds, pointing towards the day's extraordinary climax... Bold and uncompromising, We Struggle is an urgent exploration of how life in our broken city is pushing people to extremes.

Introduce Yourself to the Finborough Theatre
To ensure our work remains accessible to all, accompanying this year's Vibrant 2017  A Festival of Finborough Playwrights is the return of our Introduce Yourself initiative for writers who have never previously submitted work to the Finborough Theatre. The last Introduce Yourself saw us receive more than 200 submissions – one of which went on to a full production at the Finborough Theatre. We pride ourselves on accepting full length scripts all year round, but during Vibrant 2017 A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, we'll be relaxing our usual submission rules to make ourselves even more accessible to new writers.

Introduce Yourself is for new writers from the UK who have never previously submitted work to the Finborough Theatre. We'll read your work and guarantee feedback from our Literary Team.

Please submit
An unperformed short play or twenty pages of an unperformed full length script.
A synopsis of whatever you are submitting.
A little bit about you. It could be a short biography, or a CV, or a chatty letter telling us what music you like.

Submissions must be made between Sunday, 8 October to Thursday, 26 October 2017

Please email ONLY and include the words 'Introduce Yourself' in the subject line toliteraryteam@finboroughtheatre.co.uk

We cannot accept submissions by post or by hand.

PDF attachments are preferred if possible.

Your play can be on any subject or in any style you like. We want to read what you are passionate about – not impose themes or subjects or time limits on you. Writers can be any age, but must be resident in the United Kingdom, and have never previously submitted work to the Finborough Theatre.

And every Wednesday evening during Vibrant 2017 - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights (11, 18 and 25 October), Neil McPherson, Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre, and Sue Healy, Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre, will be in the Finborough Arms pub below the theatre between 7.30pm and 9.30pm if you want to Introduce Yourself personally. Bookings will open for each fifteen minute slot at the Finborough Theatre through the Vibrant page of our website onSunday, 1 October 2017. Please note these meetings are for writers only. We will be holding similar events for directors and designers soon.

 Inaugural Meeting of the Finborough Theatre Writers' Group 

The Finborough Theatre Writers' Group will launch on Thursday, 19 October 2017 at the Finborough Arms pub, and, thereafter, it will be held at the Finborough Arms pub on the third Thursday of every month at 8.00pm. 

The group is by invitation only and we will email the emerging and established playwrights we are keen to get to know better and those whom we feel would be an asset to and benefit most from the evening.

The speaker for the inaugural meeting will be announced on 10 October 2017.

Date: Thursday, 19 October (and the 3rd Thursday of every month thereafter).

Time: 8.00pm.

Place: The Finborough Arms pub, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED.

LISTINGS INFORMATION

Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights
Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED
Book online at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
Telephone Booking 0844 847 1652 (calls will cost 7ppm plus your network access charge). 

Sep 7th

Autumn Season at the Finborough Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

The final season of 2017 at the Finborough brings together vibrant new writing and unique rediscoveries, with three plays unseen in the UK for many years, and twelve new plays from the UK, the US and Canada. 

 

The season opens with the UK debut of acclaimed American playwright Keith Bunin with the European premiere of The Busy World is Hushed, directed by the founder of Theatre503, Paul Higgins, playing an eight week limited season from 3 October-25 November 2017. It is accompanied by the Finborough's new play celebration, Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights – now in its ninth consecutive year – which plays Sunday and Monday evenings and Thursday matinees between 8-26 October 2017, accompanied by the return of the ‘Introduce Yourself’ initiative for new playwrights.

 

This year’s Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights includes new plays from the Finborough's Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme Playwright in Residence Carmen Nasr, three of their Playwrights on Attachment, Scots Gaelic author Iain Finlay Macleod, and June Carryl’s winning play from the ADAA $10,000 Saroyan/Paul 2016 Human Rights Playwriting Competition. And then by a controversial rediscovery, the queer classic Quaint Honour by Roger Gellert, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, and unseen in the UK for 60 years, playing Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees between 29 October-21 November 2017. 

 

The year ends with the first London production in nearly 70 years of The Passing of the Third Floor Back by Jerome K. Jerome, author of Three Men in a Boat, playing from 28 November - 22 December 2017, running alongside the first London production in 80 years of Israel Zangwill's classic drama of refugees and immigration, The Melting Pot, on Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees between 3-19 December 2017. 

 

Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson said: "In a financial climate that is making our continued work even harder to achieve, our new season continues to bring together the very best of new playwriting from the English-speaking world, with work from the past that has been unfairly neglected in an ambitious and idiosyncratic selection of work that you’ve never seen before and can’t see anywhere else. With the help of funding from our regular patrons, we have also recently completed the first stages of a refurbishment of the Finborough Theatre building. As always, please do consider supporting us by joining our Friends Scheme.”

 

The Finborough Theatre has had a superlative year to date with acclaimed sell-out productions, transfers in London and to New York City, and an Olivier Award nomination. Rediscoveries have included Tony Harrison’s The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, B. S. Johnson’s You’re Human Like The Rest Of Us, a centenary production of T. W. Robertson’s Caste, Arthur Miller’s Incident At Vichy and Cicely Hamilton’s Just To Get Married. New writing has included the debuts of new playwrights Carmen Nasr (Dubailand which also won her our tenth Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme Playwright in Residence Bursary, supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation), Titas Halder (his London debut with Run The Beast Down which has just been nominated for The Stage Debut Award for Best Writer), and Canada’s most exciting new playwright Jordan Tannahill (his European debut with Late Company); as well as the English premiere of David Ireland’s Everything Between Us.Finborough Theatre productions have also transferred to New York City (My Eyes Went Dark) and elsewhere in London (Incident at Vichy to the King’s Head Theatre and Late Company to Trafalgar Studios). Last year’s It Is Easy To Be Dead by Neil McPherson was also nominated for an Olivier Award following its transfer from the Finborough Theatre to Trafalgar Studios.

For full information, please visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk 

Aug 2nd

RUSSELL WATSON TO PLAY THE VOICE OF GOD IN BRAND NEW MUSICAL HEAVEN ON EARTH

By Kirstie Niland


Russell Waston will play the voice of God in brand new arena spectacular Heaven on Earth which will be touring across the UK from December 2017 to May 2018.

 

 

This epic and inspirational journey of Adam and Eve is told through state of the art digital technology, innovative staging and stunning choreography.

 

Russell will star alongside Kerry Ellis as Eve (Wicked, Cats, Les Miserables, We Will Rock You) and Hugh Maynard as Adam (Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Lion King).

 

Find out more at www.heavenonearththemusical.co.uk

 

Heaven on Earth Tour Dates

  • Birmingham Barclaycard Arena 4 - 7 December 2017    
  • Cardiff Motorpoint Arena 15 - 18 Jan 2018    
  • Nottingham Motorpoint Arena 27 -30 Jan 
  • Leeds First Direct Arena 9th - 12 Feb 
  • Manchester Arena 22 – 25 Feb 
  • Sheffield Arena 7 – 10 March 
  • Edinburgh Royal Highland Centre 14 - 17 March   
  • Liverpool Echo Arena Liverpool 22 - 25 March 
  • Aberdeen AECC Arena 28 - 31 March  
  • Portsmouth Guildhall 4 - 7 April 
  • Newcastle Radio Metro Arena 11 - 14 April 
  • Glasgow Clyde Auditorium 18 - 21 April 
  • Exeter Westpoint Arena 26 - 29 April 
  • The SSE Arena, Wembley 9 - 12 May

 

Jul 20th

SPECTACULAR NEW MUSICAL THEATRE CRUISE TO SET SAIL IN 2018

By Kirstie Niland

15th October 2018 

The UK's first specialist fully fledged Musical Theatre Festival at Sea - Stages - featuring Michael Ball, Collabro, Beverley Knight, Lee Mead, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical launches next year.

Some of the world’s most celebrated West End and Broadway stars will entertain passengers on-board the Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas on a four-night round-trip voyage from Southampton.

Stages will feature an array of West End and Broadway stars including Olivier Award-winning star Michael Ball, musical theatre group Collabro, and Beverley Knight - award-winning soul singer & star of The Bodyguard, Memphis the Musical and Cats

  

They will join Lee Mead (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour DreamcoatWicked), Sophie Evans (The Wizard of Oz, Wicked), John Owen-Jones (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera) and Drama Desk Award Nominated actress and ‘diva’ impressionist Christina Bianco – direct from Broadway. 

Last but definitely not least, this spectacular festival will feature the Olivier Award-winning West-End production Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, an Edinburgh Fringe favourite.

And there will be lots of opportunities for audience particpation via the Masquerade Ball, dance classes and the Musical Theatre choir.

The luxurious Stages cruise is produced by Floating Festivals, with assistance from Royal Caribbean, with live music promoters Cuffe and Taylor sourcing the major star artists and attractions.

Unlike other chartered cruises, Floating Festivals will not just replace the usual cruise ship entertainment programme, it will transform the ship into a full Musical Theatre floating resort.

Guests will be transported to the stages of the West End and Broadway for a real extravaganza at sea including full live shows and performances, workshops with stars from the world of musical theatre and live Q&A events and activities.

Floating Festivals is the brainchild of Jonathan Blackburn, who said: “Not only will there be show-stopping performances and shows, but passengers will also get the opportunity to meet and hear from the people behind some of the most celebrated musical theatre shows in the world.

“The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship and while we will look forward to seeing passengers having an absolute ball with all the entertainment and shows, they will also be able to sit back, relax and enjoy all the fantastic attractions included on this wonderful ship.

As well as being part of the UK’s first ever Floating Festivals passengers will be able to enjoy all the amazing features of the Navigator of the Seas including a 9-hole miniature golf course and separate Golf Simulator, the unique FlowRider surf simulator, the signature Royal Caribbean Rock Wall, ground-breaking virtual balcony cabins, the Vegas style Casino Royale, luxurious Vitality Spa & Fitness Centre, three pools, six whirlpools, Video Arcade and a selection of luxury Boutique Shopping experiences.

All Floating Festivals packages also include complimentary à la carte restaurant and buffet dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Speciality Restaurants are also available for an additional charge.

The Floating Festivals Stages cruise will depart Southampton for four nights from 15 October 2018 and includes a full day in Amsterdam.

Prices from £699.00 (inclusive of mandatory charges of £110.00pp for gratuities, taxes and fees). For more details go to www.FloatingFestivals.co.uk

A second cruise - Throwback - departs Southampton for three nights from 12 October 2018 and includes a full day in Bruges (from Zeebrugge).
Throwback is a party-fuelled three-night roundtrip cruise Southampton/Southampton including a full day stop in Bruges, celebrating all things 80s and will feature a line-up of chart-topping legends from the decade including headliners The Human League, OMD and Erasure’s Andy Bell, along with Jason Donovan, Sonia and Imagination featuring Errol Kennedy, while Captain Sensible will be helping steer the ship back to the 80s.

Jul 20th

MARTI PELLOW JOINS STAR-STUDDED WEST END PROMS

By Kirstie Niland

Lytham Festival, 2nd-5th August

Internationally renowned musical theatre star and pop icon Marti Pellow has been added to the bill at this year’s Lytham Festival.

No stranger to the event after performing at Lytham Festival’s Last Night of the Proms in 2015, Marti will join the line-up for this year’s West End Proms on Sunday August 6.

His West End and Broadway credits include Blood Brothers and the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago and Che in Evita.

He will join West End and Broadway royalty as Miss Saigon star Lea Salonga, musical theatre group Collabro, Olivier Award winner Ruthie Henshall, Chicago star Claire Sweeney, 90s pop sensation turned musical theatre star Jon Lee, Blackpool musical theatre star Jodie Prenger, Lytham-born rising West End star Lucie Mae Sumner and English National Opera soprano Jo Appleby will all perform too.

The news follows the announcement earlier this week that 13-year-old Britain’s Got Talent finalist Beau Dermott will also form part of the line-up.

Lytham Festival director Peter Taylor said: “We are thrilled Marti is returning to Lytham Festival. He was a firm favourite when he performed here in 2015 so to be bringing him back two years later is fantastic.

“He is a wonderful addition to our West End Proms line up and we can’t wait. This night will mark a spectacular end to this year’s Lytham Festival and is sure to be a truly memorable evening.”

With a string of hits under his belt including Sweet Little Mystery, Wishing I Was Lucky and one of the longest running Number One singles in UK Chart history, Love Is All Around, Marti Pellow has gone on to become a leading musical theatre star, as well as releasing seven solo albums. 

Lytham Festival’s West End Proms will see the stars of both stage and screen perform an array of hits with a full 60-piece orchestra. The evening will end with a traditional Last Night of the Proms finale – an event when families and live music lovers are encouraged to pack up their candelabras and picnic hampers for an evening of musical celebration.

For further information and tickets go to www.lythamfestival.com

Line-up Lytham Festival 2017:

MAIN PROMS ARENA

Weds August 2 – Olly Murs

Thurs August 3 – Hacienda Classical

Fri August 4 – 80s V 90s

Sat Aug 5 – Madness

Sun Aug 6 – West End Proms

LOWTHER PAVILION

Tues Aug 1 – Woofers Comedy Club presents Tom Binns

Weds Aug 2 – The Mersey Beatles 50th Anniversary Tribute to Sgt Pepper

Fri Aug 4 – Welcome to the Dancefloor Aftershow Party

Sat Aug 5 – The Blitz Club Aftershow Party

 

Jul 3rd

Blue Elephant Theatre is to Become a NPO

By Carolin Kopplin

The charming and innovative Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell, which has nurtured such artists and companies as Theatre Ad Infinitum, Theatre Témoin and On the Run was amongst just five new theatre organisations in London to be added to Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations on June 27th.  

Blue Elephant Theatre is a small fringe theatre located on the Wyndham and Comber Estate in Camberwell, South London. It seeks to offer creative opportunities to those who may not otherwise to be able to access them, through both its Artistic and Participation Departments. Its Artistic Department works with emerging artists, programming new work across art forms but with a particular focus on theatre and dance. Its Participation Department has developed free high-quality creative, learning and community provision over many years to tackle issues locally which prevent people, especially disadvantaged young people, achieving their potential. The Blue Elephant’s equal emphasis on professional and participation work is very unusual in London fringe theatre.

Blue Elephant Theatre has been supported by Southwark Council since it opened in 1999 and by many other funders over the years, including Children in Need which has supported its Young People’s Theatre for a decade. In 2014, members of Young People’s Theatre joined Gareth Malone and a number of celebrity singers to record the year’s official BBC Children in Need single which went to number one in the charts. Recently, as Southwark Council’s Arts & Events’ budgets have been drastically cut, the future of the Blue Elephant has been uncertain at best but the prospect of being a National Portfolio Organisation from 2018-2022 provides much-needed stability for the organisation.

Co-Artistic Directors, Niamh de Valera and Jo Sadler-Lovett, are delighted by the news as are all Blue Elephant’s Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers. Niamh says, “We’re absolutely blown away by this news and by the number of people who have come forward to congratulate us this week. The Blue Elephant has touched a lot of people’s lives for the better and we are so relieved and excited that its future is now more secure than ever”.

More info on the Blue Elephant Theatre: http://www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk/

Jun 23rd

Forced Entertainment and Little Bulb Return to the Battersea Arts Centre

By Carolin Kopplin

 

Tim Etchell's Forced Entertainment returns to the Battersea Arts Centre, as its London home, to reinvent Dirty Work – a performance created nearly 20 years ago, that draws the audience into imaginary performances with casts of thousands. Following closely behind is the creative Little Bulb Theatre who will fill the BAC Courtyard theatre with their joyful musical melodrama, Extravaganza Macabre

DIRTY WORK (THE LATE SHIFT)

By Forced Entertainment

Returning to their 1998 performance Dirty Work, Forced Entertainment have created a new version of the piece that digs deeper into the comical and unsettling territory they established just before the turn of the Millennium.

The new work, Dirty Work (The Late Shift) develops the simple but immensely generative form of described or virtual events and celebrates the power of language to make things happen, co-opting the imaginative capacities of the audience to fill the stage with a delirium of images, scenes and events in bewildering and unnerving succession.

In Dirty Work (The Late Shift) two performers conjure an extraordinary performance in a collaborative and competitive act of description. From vast explosions to sub-atomic particles, with daily life, political interludes, dramas and cabaret turns in between, no event is too large and no image un-stageable for the protagonists, whose game of virtual theatre takes the audience on a roller coaster ride.

From theatrical spectacle to historical events, daily life to impossible feats, cabaret to political speeches, and from sublime beauty to vivid terrors, everything is here, in provocative, intimate and comical style. Accompanied by the sound of piano on a battered record player, Dirty Work (The Late Shift) explores and exposes a world in which real life is so often presented as spectacle.

Listings Information:

Title: Dirty Work (The Late Shift)
Artist/Company: Forced Entertainment
Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN
Date: 27 Jun – 1 Jul
Time: 7:30pm (Running Time: 85 mins)
Price: £17.50, £15, £12.50 concs
Age Recommendation: 16+
Booking Link:
www.bac.org.uk/dirtywork
Box Office: 020 7223 2223
 

Extravaganza Macabre by Little Bulb Theatre

Little Bulb Theatre returns to Battersea Arts Centre’s new open-air Courtyard this summer to delight family and fun-loving audiences with the joyfully silly production, Extravaganza Macabre, from 4 – 29 July.


A celebration of melodrama, music and mischief set in Victorian London, Extravaganza Macabre was created especially to launch Battersea Arts Centre’s Courtyard last year. Having gone down a treat, the production invites audiences to get up-close to the slapstick action across ground floor and balcony levels, with Pimm’s and picnic hampers chock-full of British favourites available to add to the summertime experience. 

Extravaganza Macabre tells a tale of two passionate lovers separated by a freak storm which leaves their fate in the clutches of a scheming villain set on keeping them apart forever. With only a clairvoyant maid and a loyal urchin to come to their rescue, a whirlwind of plot twists, original music hall numbers and audience interaction ensues, recommended for ages eight and up. 

The new 75m2 Courtyard is a unique and intimate space nestled at the heart of Battersea Arts Centre’s beautiful old town hall building. Designed by Stirling Prize winning architects Haworth Tompkins, the Courtyard was inspired by the radical Teatro Oficina in São Paulo, Brazil. With walls made from a bold mix of old red and shiny white bricks, trapdoors and surprise entrances and exits spread across three levels add to the 360 degree, open-air fun. The auditorium levels, made by Steeldeck, form the UK’s most intimate open-air theatre structure. 

Listings Information:

Title: Extravaganza Macabre

Artist/Company: Little Bulb Theatre

Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN

Date: 4 – 29 July

Time: 7:30pm | Saturday Matinees 2:30pm

Price: Stalls (Seated) £20 - £25 | Balcony (Standing) £10 - £15

Booking Link: www.bac.org.uk/extravaganza

Box Office: 020 7223 2223

Jun 13th

NEW SUMMER SEASON AT THE FINBOROUGH THEATRE

By Carolin Kopplin

The new Summer Season features two premieres of new writing and two rediscoveries. The two new plays – Continuity by new Northern Irish playwright Gerry Moynihan and the European premiere of Dolphins and Sharks from new African-American playwright James Anthony Tyler – were both originally seen as staged readings as part of Vibrant 2016 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. The two rediscoveries are Just To Get Married by renowned suffragette Cicely Hamilton, first performed in 1910 and last seen in London in 1918; and Windows by John Galsworthy, which premiered in London at the Royal Court Theatre in 1922.

 

The season opens with the first London production in over a hundred years of Just To Get Married, a romantic comedy by renowned suffragette Cicely Hamilton, playing for a four week limited season from 25 July-19 August 2017. It runs concurrently with the world premiere of Continuity by new playwright Gerry Moynihan, playing Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees between 30 July-13 August 2017.

 

The season continues with the first professional UK production in 85 years of Windows by John Galsworthy, directed by Geoffrey Beevers, well known for his work at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. Described by its author as “a comedy for idealists and others”, Windows plays from a three week limited season from 22 August-9 September 2017.

The season concludes with the European premiere from new African-American playwright James Anthony Tyler, Dolphins and Sharks plays for a three week limited season from 12 September-30 September 2017.

 

Elsewhere, two sell-out Finborough Theatre productions transfer in June: Incident At Vichy by Arthur Miller transfers to the King’s Head Theatre from 7-25 June 2017; and My Eyes Went Dark by Matt Wilkinson transfers to 59E59 Theaters, New York City, from 7 June - 2 July 2017.

 

Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson said: "Our new Summer Season is evenly balanced between our artistic policy’s twin strands – to present essential new writing, alongside genuinely unique rediscoveries. We have also just relaunched our Friends Scheme, making it even easier to support our award winning work.”

 

For full information, please visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk

Photo credit: KinoLOWRES

Mar 26th

Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre - UK Tour from 8 April - 23 September 2017

By Carolin Kopplin

Jane_Eyre_Revised_carousel_2016.jpg

Sally Cookson's imaginative new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's beloved novel Jane Eyre will tour the UK from April to September 2017. Nadia Clifford will take over the central role of Jane Eyre and Tim Delap will play Rochester.

Before the beginning of the tour, the National Theatre invited regional press and representatives of regional theatres to a second-week rehearsal with the opportunity to interview director Sally Cookson and members of the cast. 

A collaboration between the Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre, the production was originally presented in two parts in Bristol. Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, asked to have it cut down to one part before it transferred to the NT. Director Sally Cookson agreed and got rid of the "not so good bits" which made the production "even more epic". The UK Tour will feature the third version of Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre.

After directing Peter Pan at the Bristol Old Vic, Sally Cookson was asked what she would like to do next and she immediately decided on an adaptation of Jane Eyre. Cookson had seen Orson Welles' film as a child and had been fascinated by the images and Bernard Hermann's music. When she eventually got to read the book, she realised that Jane Eyre was not a mere love story but a cry for equal rights of women, focusing on the importance of individual human rights and what is needed to thrive as a human: "Jane Eyre understands this from an early age and strives for it". Sally Cookson wanted to tell Jane Eyre's life-story, not a romantic costume drama with a love story at its centre.

Sally Cookson's imaginative production captures the spirit of the novel but is geared towards a modern audience. Cookson felt that costumes and a historical set limited the story. The Victorian period is referenced but the main purpose of Michael Vale's set is to reflect Jane's struggle. An obstacle course consisting of various platforms and ladders demands physical strength and fitness from the cast. Sally Cookson confirmed that the actors ran about 5 miles during every performance.

After working on the story with a dramaturg to achieve a basic structure, the play was developed by Cookson and the cast during an 8-week process through collaboration and improvisation, using dialogue from the novel as well as creating new dialogue. All songs in the production were written by Benji Bower and emerged during the rehearsal period, with the exception of "Mad About the Boy" and "Crazy". There is an orchestra on stage, creating an impressive soundscape. The production is miked to make sure that the actors can be heard over the orchestra and sound effects which include many percussive elements.

The actors performed some parts of the production that had already been rehearsed beginning with Jane's birth and her struggle with her aunt Mrs Reed after she is orphaned. The conflict is exacerbated by the death of Jane's kindly uncle and Cookson's production clearly shows Jane Eyre, now played by the charismatic Nadia Clifford, as a strong and determined character. It was also important to the director to do justice to Bertha who gets a bit of a raw deal in the novel. Bertha is always present at Fairfield Hall and finishes with a melancholy but very lyrical song.

This compelling and highly creative production can now be seen in many regional theatres after a sell-out run at the National Theatre.

By Carolin Kopplin

Running time: 3 hours with one interval

Tour dates: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/jane-eyre-on-tour

First stop Salford from 8th April 2017