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Feb 21st

Blue Elephant Theatre 2017 Spring Season

By Carolin Kopplin

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The Blue Elephant announces a new season of collaborations with exciting emerging artists, bringing urgent, thought-provoking and intriguing work to the black-box fringe venue in Camberwell. 

The Blue Elephant continues to support work at all stages of development and the season includes scratch nights and work-in-progress showings as well as Haste Theatre’s Oyster Boy and Resuscitate’s Rounds. Both these shows have had successful past productions but are now premiering ‘revamped’ and further developed versions at the Blue Elephant in March. 

Other highlights include When the Dove Returns, by recent East 15 graduates Backpack Theatre, and Female Intuition, two nights of new writing written and directed by women. 

The season closes with a new production of Twelfth Night by Original Impact Theatre, reimaging the play for new audiences. 

As well as its professional artistic programme, the Blue Elephant has a vibrant and far-reaching participation department, which delivers workshops in local primary and secondary schools and runs two youth theatres in the local area, reaching up to two thousand people each year. 

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

Feb 9th

Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN to open in the West End Autumn 2017

By Carolin Kopplin

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UK PREMIERE AT GARRICK THEATRE ON TUESDAY 10 OCTOBER

 

Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN  - the new comedy musical based on the Oscar-nominated smash hit movie - will open in the West End on Thursday 28 September at the Garrick Theatre (Press Night: Tuesday 10 October). Tickets go on-sale tomorrow,Friday 10 February.

The production will open for a pre West End season at the Theatre Royal Newcastle from Saturday 26 August to Saturday 9 September.

The London run for Young Frankenstein is announced in the week that Mel is to be awarded the BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honourthat the Academy bestow and a lifetime achievement recognising his remarkable career across the arts.

Young Frankenstein, the wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic, see’s Frederick Frankenstein, an esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor, inherit a castle and laboratory in Transylvania from his deranged genius grandfather,Victor Von Frankenstein.  He now faces a dilemma - does he continue to run from his family’s tortured past or does he stay in Transylvania to carry on his grandfather’s mad experiments reanimating the dead and, in the process, fall in love with his sexy lab assistant Inga?

Based on the hilarious 1974 film andco-written with Thomas MeehanBrooks will once again collaborate with Broadway director and choreographer Susan Stroman for this all-singing all-dancing new production, bringing his and Gene Wilder’s classic movie to life on stage.

Casting will be announced at a later date.

Young Frankenstein is produced by Mel BrooksMichael Harrison and Fiery Angel.

Garrick Theatre

Charing Cross Road

London

WC2H 0HH

 

SEASON DATES

Performances begin Thursday 28 September

 

BOOKING ONLINE

www.youngfrankenstein.co.uk

 

PERFORMANCE TIMES

Monday - Saturday: 7:30pm

Wednesday & Saturday Matinees: 3:00pm

 

TICKETS

Tickets from £20

 

                 TELEPHONE BOOKING

0330 333 4811

Dec 13th

New Spring Season at the Finborough Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

The new Spring Season at the Finborough Theatre features three rediscoveries by Arthur MillerB. S. Johnson and Victorian theatrical revolutionary T. W. Robertson, as well as three brand new plays including Dubailand which has just won the Finborough Theatre its tenth Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme Playwright in Residence Bursary, supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation, for new playwright Carmen Nasr

The season opens with two world premieres. Titas Halder’s debut play Run The Beast Down plays for a four week limited season from 31 January-25 February 2017, alongside Carmen Nasr’s award-winning Dubailand. The UK premiere of the Off Broadway hit, Halley Feiffer’s award-nominated black comedy I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard,plays from 28 February-25 March 2017 and runs concurrently with B. S. Johnson’s You’re Human Like The Rest Of Them, an evening of three short plays receiving their first UK productions in over 40 years plus a world stage premiere, playing Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees between 5-21 March 2017.

The season comes to and end with two unique rediscoveries. Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy in its first professional London production in over 50 years, runs from 28 March-22 April 2017 alongside the first UK production in over 20 years of T.W. Robertson’s Caste, marking the 150th anniversary of the Victorian classic.

For full information, please visit the Finborough website here

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Book Online here | Box Office 0844 847 1652 (Calls will cost 7ppm plus your network access charge.

Oct 20th

Battersea Arts Centre News: Cash, Capitalism and Corporations | February - April 2017

By Carolin Kopplin

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The banking crisis, Brexit, capitalism and corporations take centre-stage at Battersea Arts Centre in early 2017 as a host of artists tackle some of the most urgent issues facing Britain today. The season features critically-acclaimed shows from this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe by Theatre Ad Infinitum, Mark Thomas, LUNG and Kieran Hurley – performances that should provoke discussion and debate about the relationship between people, money and power, and the need to challenge the status quo and imagine the alternatives.

 

The old town hall, recently rejuvenated through a final phase of work with architects Haworth Tompkins, will once again be an engine room for social change. Also taking place are creative projects such as The Agency, supporting local young entrepreneurs to make positive change in their communities, and That’s Power, a project in development combining art, democracy and digital technologies to get people sharing their visions for spending in advance of the Government’s spring budget announcement.

 

Theatre Highlights: 

Bucket List | Theatre Ad Infinitum | 13 February – 4 March 
Powerful physical theatre performed by an international all-female ensemble, Bucket List tackles neo-colonialism and free will versus fate. Milagros is an ordinary Mexican woman who, with only a bloodstained list of those responsible for her mother’s murder, embarks on extraordinary quest for justice.

The Red Shed | Mark Thomas | 6-11 March

Three decades after he first took to its stage, Mark Thomas returns to The Red Shed in Wakefield, a 47-foot-long wooden hut that doubles up as a Labour Club, to celebrate its 50th birthday and the people that have inspired him.


E15 | LUNG | 13 March – 1 April 
Adapted exclusively from the real-life testimonies of 29 single mothers and children threatened by skyrocketing rent and eviction from their Newham homes, this piece of documentary theatre follows their campaign to push housing to the top of the political agenda. 

 

Heads Up | Kieran Hurley | 20 March – 1 April

Multi award-winner Kieran Hurley weaves a picture of a familiar city at its moment of destruction and three people within it  – a drunken woman, a faithless priest and a broken finance worker – asking what we would do if we found ourselves at the end of our world as we know it. 


Cash, Capitalism and Corporations also features hip-hop theatre by Conrad Murray (Denmarked | 22 Feb – 11 Mar), a half-term offering by non zero one (Ground Control | 17 Feb | For ages 7-12) and more.  

 

More info: 

www.bac.org.uk | @battersea_arts

Oct 16th

Winter Season of the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell

By Carolin Kopplin

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The Blue Elephant Theatre launches an ambitious and engaging new Winter Season this October. Their commitment to supporting emerging artists is demonstrated yet again, especially by their second Elefeet Dance Festival which provides an important platform for upcoming choreographers to showcase their work in London and runs until 19th November.

 

Elefeet includes the final Blue Cloud Scratch of 2016, an exciting collaboration with Cloud Dance Festival, which has already fed into the main programme at the Blue Elephant. 

 

The Blue Elephant continues to present quality children's productions, with Moon on a Stick returning to Camberwell in December with their magical Christmas show Jack Frost.

 

This season also sees the launch of Mad about the Elephant, the Blue Elephant's new Friends' Scheme. For as little as £25 a year, Friends of the theatre can support its important work with emerging artists and local young people and help secure its future.

 

Executive and Co-Artistic Director Niamh de Valera says “2015 and 2016 have seen some of our toughest times, but also some of our most rewarding. We've faced the reality of cuts in core funding and uncertainty over whether there will be any funding at all. At the same time, we've reached thousands of young people, ran successful projects with adults around mental health, engaged new audiences and supported many companies to secure funding for the first time and showcase their work. We're especially delighted that Sulaimon Idris, who was part of our youth theatre from the time he was 10, is now the assistant on the project and an incredible example to the young people he works with. We're so excited about the shows we have coming up and we hope people will venture to Camberwell to support these fantastic performances and join our Friends' Scheme so that we can continue to offer opportunities like these.”

 

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 & Instagram: @BETCamberwell

 

Sep 27th

VIBRANT 2016 – A FESTIVAL OF FINBOROUGH PLAYWRIGHTS Sunday, 30 October – Thursday, 17 November 2016

By Carolin Kopplin

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THE EIGHTH YEAR: VIBRANT 2016 – A FESTIVAL OF FINBOROUGH PLAYWRIGHTS

Curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson.

with plays by Gerry Moynihan, Colleen Murphy, Jim Nolan, Sarah Page, Micah Smith, and James Anthony Tyler

and The Earl’s Court Film Festival 2016

and After Orlando International Theatre Action

Now in its eighth consecutive year, the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre presents Vibrant 2016 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, its annual celebration of new writing, running between 30 October – 17 November 2016. This year's festival also includes the Earl's Court Film Festival 2016, and the European premiere of the After Orlando International Theatre Action, 70 short plays inspired by the Orlando nightclub shooting earlier this year. 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.

The Earl’s Court Film Festival 2016, one of the most innovative short film events in London, the Earl’s Court Film Festival returns for the second year featuring six locally shot and co-produced Earl’s Court Film Festival funded short films, as well as showings of an additional 12 external film submissions. The estimated running time of each screening will be 1 hour 30 minutes including a post-film Questions and Answers session led by Festival Producers Sean Duffy and Caroline Tod-Richardson. 

After Orlando International Theatre Action is an international playwright driven theatre action including over seventy playwrights from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Africa. Plays have been specifically written and curated in response to this tragic event and will be performed across the US and in the UK throughout the autumn including readings in New York City (Rattlestick Theatre, LGBT Center, Abingdon Theatre, and HERE); Los Angeles (Theatre @ Boston Court, The Road Theatre, East West Players and EST-LA); Seattle (Forward Flux Productions and Cornish College); Portland, Oregon (Artists Repertory Theatre and Boom Arts): Washington, DC (Round House Theatre and Olney Theatre Center); Philadelphia (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Boston (Brandeis University) and many more theatres and universities across the United States and internationally.

Playwrights include both noted and emerging voices in the theatre including Israel Horovitz, Neil Labute, Anders Lustgarten, Jordan Tannahill, Caridad Svich, Lindsey Ferrentino, Stephen Sewell, and many, many, more. 

Directed by Clare Bloomer, Liz Carruthers, Robert Cavanah, Helen Donnelly, Melissa Dunne, Tommo Fowler, Sara Joyce, Jonny Kelly, Scott Le Crass, Anna Marsland, Lydia Parkerand Lotte Wakeham

Further information: www.finboroughtheatre.com

PLEASE NOTE – Tickets for the Earl’s Court Film Festival are only available on the Earl’s Court Film Festival website at www.filmearlscourt.com or by calling 07789 435448. 

Sep 25th

Finborough Winter Season 2016/17 Announced

By Carolin Kopplin

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Winter Season at the Finborough concentrates on rediscoveries with works from the 1930s, 1940s, 1970s and 1980s including the rediscovery of playwright James Bridie, one of the West End’s most popular dramatists of the 1930s and 1940s. New writing is represented by the eighth consecutive year of Vibrant 2016 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights featuring a selection of staged readings by UK and international playwrights, developed, nurtured or championed by the Finborough Theatre. This year’s festival also includes new filmmaking from the Earl’s Court Film Festival, and the European premiere of the After Orlando International Theatre Action, a collection of 70 short plays in response to the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016.

The season opens with Magnificence, Howard Brenton’s seminal 1973 political drama, playing 25 October–19 November 2016. It runs alongside the eighth consecutive year of Vibrant 2016 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, on Sunday and Monday evenings and Thursday matinees from 30 October–17 November 2016.

Rodney Ackland’s After October receives its first Central London production in 80 years, playing from 22 November–22 December 2016, running alongside the first English production for nearly 70 years of Scottish dramatist James Bridie’s Dr Angelus, playing Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees from 27 November–20 December 2016.

The season culminates with Tony Harrison’s The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus in its first London production for nearly 30 years playing 3–28 January 2017, together with the first UK production in over 25 years of Veterans Day by multi-award-winning American playwright Donald Freed, on Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees from 8–24 January 2017. The Finborough Theatre will also be relaunching its Friends Scheme this Winter with a new range of categories and benefits.

Elsewhere, following its critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Finborough Theatre earlier this year where it was nominated for seven OffWestEnd Awards including Best New Play, Best Male Performance, and Best Director, Neil McPherson's new play It Is Easy To Be Dead transfers to the Trafalgar Studios playing 9 November–3 December 2016.

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

Aug 16th

First Major Revival of Caryl Churchill's Blue Heart - 19 Years after its Royal Court Premiere

By Carolin Kopplin

A Tobacco Factory Theatres and Orange Tree Theatre co-production
Blue Heart
BY CARYL CHURCHILL

Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Orange Tree Theatre are embarking on a new co-producing partnership to stage the first major revival of Caryl Churchill’s Blue Heart. Tobacco Factory Theatres and Orange Tree Theatre are thrilled to make the link between the two organisations as they each expand their individual in-house production portfolios. Blue Heart brings both organisations together to work again with key creatives David Mercatali and Angela Davies, who have worked on previous projects with both organisations.

Gillian Axtell, Alex Beckett, Amanda Boxer, Amelda Brown, Andy de la Tour, Maroussia Frank, Mona Goodwin, Janet Henfrey and Tracey Lee Sharples will appear in Caryl Churchill's two exhilarating one act plays, which have not been seen for nearly twenty years.

Heart’s Desire sees a family awaiting their daughter’s return from Australia, though in a series of alternative scenarios, the play collapses as it keeps veering off in unexpected and ridiculous directions.

Blue Kettle tells the story of conman Derek and the five women he misleads into believing he is their biological son. Try as he might, Derek’s plans are scuppered as the play is invaded by a virus.

In Churchill’s ever-inventive style, the plays pull apart language and structure in a way that is theatrically remarkable and fast paced, in a stirring yet truthful exploration of family and relationships.

Blue Heart was first produced by Out of Joint and the Royal Court Theatre at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds on 14 August 1997.

Tobacco Factory Theatres produces and presents art in unique, intimate spaces at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol, as well as off site in Bristol and in venues across the country. It presents a jam-packed programme of diverse and exciting shows, workshops and events, from classic and contemporary theatre, to theatre for families, comedy, dance, music, opera and puppetry. It also runs an expanding programme of engagement, learning and participation opportunities for audiences, young people and artists.

Blue Heart is supported by the Tobacco Factory Theatres Production Fund. A small group of individuals have generously supported this fund to help Tobacco Factory Theatres to produce more of its own work.

Website tobaccofactorytheatres.com | Email tickets@tobaccofactorytheatres.com 
Twitter 
@tftheatres | Facebook/Instagram Tobacco Factory Theatres

The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, South West London wants to change lives by telling remarkable stories from a wide variety of times and places, filtered through the singular imagination of our writers and the remarkable close-up presence of their actors. Over its forty-five-year history the Orange Tree has had an exceptional track record in discovering writers and promoting their early work, as well as rediscovering artists from the past whose work had either been disregarded or forgotten. In the last year alone, the OT has been recognised for its work with nine major industry awards, including 5 Offies (Off West End Awards), 2 UK Theatre Awards, the Alfred Fagon Audience Award and the Peter Brook Empty Space Award.

Website Orangetreetheatre.co.uk | Email box.office@orangetreetheatre.co.uk

Twitter @OrangeTreeThtr | Facebook/Instagram OrangeTreeTheatre 

Blue Heart

By Caryl Churchill

AGE RECOMMENDATION 12+

Tobacco Factory Theatres

Thu 22 September – Sat 01 October
8pm / Matinee Sat 2.30pm (No show Sun)

Tobacco Factory Theatres, Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1TF

Box Office tobaccofactorytheatres.com | 0117 902 0344
Post-Show Talk Following the performance on Tue 27 September

Orange Tree Theatre

13 October - 19 November 2016

Orange Tree Theatre, 1 Clarence Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 2SA

Box Office orangetreetheatre.co.uk | 020 8940 3633 (open 10am to 6.30pm Mon-Sat).

Post-show talks Wed 26 Oct 7.30pm & Thu 10 Nov 2.30pm

Audio-described performances Wed 2 Nov 7.30pm & Sat 5 Nov 2.30pm

Aug 16th

Richmond Theatre Invites 8-16 Yr Olds for the Ultimate Musical Theatre Battle!

By Carolin Kopplin

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Calling all 8-16 year olds, this summer Richmond Theatre needs you! An almighty battle is brewing between which is best: the stage or the screen, theatre or movies and the theatre’s Creative Learning Department are inviting young performers to battle it out! 

From Monday 22nd August – Friday 26th August, the Richmond Theatre Summer School recruits will spilt into two age groups and prepare to do battle with their weapons of choice: acting, singing and dancing. The week will then culminate in a battle of musical theatre wills as they perform on the Richmond Theatre stage where the audience will decide the outcome! 

Nikki Ward, director of Let The Battle Commence: Stage v Screen! and Creative Learning Manager at Richmond Theatre said: “Our Summer Schools are always really popular and loads of fun. This year we are inviting 8-16 yr. olds to go to town on performing their favourite songs and dances from the theatre and from movies. They will perform scenes written by themselves and having the audience deciding the outcome of the show will be very exciting!” 

Places are strictly limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Therefore prompt booking is strongly recommended to be guaranteed a place.

 Booking information: 

Online: http://www.atgtickets.com/Movie-Madness-and-Magic-Summer-School-22nd-26th-August-2016-Tickets/45/17805/

Telephone: 020 8332 4524

In person: Richmond Theatre Box Office

Rehearsals: Monday 22nd August – Friday 26th August, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm

Performance on the Richmond Theatre stage: Friday 26th August at 5.15 pm

Photograph: © Alastair Hilton

Jul 4th

Helen George on Patrick Marber's "After Miss Julie"

By Carolin Kopplin

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Helen George as Miss Julie

How would you describe the character of Miss Julie?

She’s a very complicated character. She’s a character who’s really been there through history, through art and through literature. The particular take on Miss Julie in Patrick Marber’s adaptation is of someone who is very confused. She was brought up by a mother who had very socialist ideals and it’s suggested she could have been part of the suffragette movement as well. Her father is a labour peer and her mother brought her up as a child of nature. She brought her up in boys’ clothes, teaching her about the land and farming, so she’s torn between being the lady of the house and this weird upbringing she had from her mother. She watched her parents have a very destructive and abusive relationship so she’s quite complicated and damaged and somewhat ill-fated.

Does she present any particular challenges for you as an actress?

There’s so much meat to the part. There’s so much substance. There’s so much research to be done. Patrick helps so much with his writing; it’s really all there in the script. Joining up the poeticism and flowery nature of the Strindberg text, which Patrick uses some of, with Patrick’s own language is very interesting. It gets quite bloody and gory in the middle of a refined play so it’s about finding the links between the horror, the gore, the tragedy and the reality because it’s a very real tale.

What is it about the character that resonates with you?

I think there’s something in each of these characters which would and should resonate with each person in the audience. I think at some point everyone will have been in a similar love triangle or could be in one and they could be either one of these people and play either role within this tale of how these three people work together and the power struggle between them all. Another resonant theme is that of finding a woman’s place in a modern world when you’re slightly constrained by how you should behave and how you should carry out your life whilst at the same time juggling the masculinity that’s within yourself as well.

What do you see as the other key themes of the play?

One of the main themes is entrapment – like entrapment of gender and the entrapment of class. The two central characters, Julie and John, have this very passionate love affair which is very animalistic but they can never truly be together. John has this wonderful line where he says ‘Men like me can rise like bread but never like cake’ and I think that sums up his role in it.

Were you already familiar with the play?

Absolutely. It’s a classic. This particular adaptation I did extracts from at drama school, so I was familiar with it. When my friend Anthony Banks, who is directing it, asked whether we should do this I jumped at the chance. I thought ‘It would be amazing to revisit it ten years later with more experience and more life experience’. This time round I understand more what she’s talking about whereas when I was 20 I didn’t.

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Miss Julie (Helen George) taunting John (Richard Flood)

Why do you feel sets Patrick Marber apart as a playwright?

He’s very good with his language because he sets the play in a different landscape to Strindberg and it’s politically-themed, which enables him to address the gender fight and the sexual fight. He’s very direct; he cuts across, like I said, the flowery nature of Strindberg’s work. He’s really honest and makes it accessible to a modern-day audience and hopefully makes them feel it’s not far-fetched – that’s not just a piece of theatre, it’s a piece of realism as well.

He’s fantastic and the joyous thing is that he’s been involved in the production. He’s answered questions that are left to the audience’s imagination but which the actors need to know, but it’s rare to have the writer in the room with you – certainly not when it’s an adaptation.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t be without on tour?

I’m touring with my dog Charlie so if I lose him I’ll be scuppered. I also take the script with me of course. 

Do you have any pre or post-show rituals?

Post-show I always have a drink in the pub. Pre-show I try to just stay calm and focussed. A few years ago I’d say my lines 20 times before I went on stage but you can drive yourself mad doing with the fear of it when actually you just have to relax beforehand, listen to some music and calm down. 

Can you pop to the pub without being recognised? And is Trixie on Call The Midwife the role you’re most recognised for by the public?

There are a few times when I am recognised and I always feel very awkward about it because I never know what to say, but a lot of time I can live my life without it happening. But yes, it’s mainly Call The Midwife people know from me and also Strictly Come Dancing. Outside of London people are more likely to come up and ask for a photo whereas in London it seems people will notice you and take a sneaky picture. It’s completely different. 

Have you kept up the dancing since Strictly?

No, but we are doing a little dance section in this so that’ll be the first time since I did the show.

Do you have any plans to do more musical theatre?

It’s what I started off doing and I wouldn’t say no to it, it’s just the right musical hasn’t presented itself yet. Maybe at some point in the future.

 

After Miss Julie will be playing at Richmond Theatre from 11th July 2016.

Tickets: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/after-miss-julie/richmond-theatre/#buy-now

Photographs by Nobby Clark.