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New Season at the Orange Tree Theatre

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 26th Oct 2015 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

The Orange Tree's new season from January to June 2016 features plays by Robert Holman, Chris Urch, Brad Birch and Bernard Shaw, directed by Ellen McDougall, Alice Hamilton, Mel Hillyard and Artistic Director Paul Miller.

The Orange Tree, despite losing all its funding when AD Paul Miller took over, can look back at a year of award-winning theatre playing to 90% capacity and 25% newcomers. The OT production of Alistair McDowall's Pomona has played to full houses at the National Theatre and will transfer to the Royal Exchange Theatre from 29 October, with Deborah Bruce's hit OT play The Distance opening at Sheffield Crucible Studio on the same night.

At the UK Theatre Awards Ned Bennett has just won Best Director for Pomona and Joel MacCormack won Best Performance in a Play for Doris Lessing's Each His Own Wilderness.

The new season opens with the London premiere of Chris Urch's The Rolling Stone directed by Ellen McDougall. Set in Uganda it focuses on a gay couple having a relationship in a country where homosexuality is illegal and a religious family struggling to come to terms with it. Winner of a Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, it is a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre where it premiered to critical acclaim in April 2015. The cast includes Faith Alabi, Fiston Barek, Jo Martin, Faith Omole and Sule Rimi.

The first major revival of Robert Holman's 1977 play German Skerries will be directed by Alice Hamilton in a co-production with award-winning touring company Up in Arms (Barney Norris' Eventide and Visitors). This pertinent play is set against the backdrop of the Redcar steel works on Teeside, the closure of which has just been announced. It will then go on tour.

Mel Hillyard's production as the recipient of the J. P. Morgan Award for an Emerging Director will be the world premiere of Brad Birch's new play The Brink, in a co-production with W14 Productions and the National Theatre Studio.

Following his sell-out production of Bernard Shaw's debut full-length play Widowers' Houses in 2014, Paul Miller will direct Shaw's second play The Philanderer in a major new revival designed by Simon Daw.

Take Part, the OT’s education and participation work involves over 20,000 people from the local community every year. This year the Shakespeare Up Close production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Gemma Fairlie aimed at secondary school students plays in the Theatre and on tour to schools. Our Primary Shakespeare production will be The Comedy of Errors, directed by Imogen Bond.

The OT will be a partner theatre for National Theatre Connections for the first time in May, with 7 young companies visiting the OT to perform plays written especially for Connections over its incredible 20 year history, alongside our own Connections Company which presents James Graham's Bassett, directed by Corinne Meredith. The Orange Tree Young Company will also present a one-off performance of their show The Joy of Normal, directed by Rob Watt.

Orange Tree Extras, a new series of one-offs and short runs of the best comedy, music and theatre features West End and Broadway star Hadley Fraser, Edinburgh Festival hit The End is Nigh from Jonny and the Baptists, Sally Phillips & Lily Bevan, plus classical concerts from the Allegri Quartet. P

Further information: www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk

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