Royal Court Theatre Announce Temporary Theatre Space The Site Created By Designer Chloe Lamford

Chloe Lamford

An experiment in design, collaboration and process with new work by writers EV Crowe, Stacey Gregg, Theresa Ikoko, Nathaniel Martello-White and Deborah Pearson.

Tickets go on sale today for the Royal Court Theatre’s temporary theatre space The Site curated by Royal Court Associate Designer Chloe Lamford.

The programme includes new work from writers EV Crowe, Stacey Gregg, Theresa Ikoko, Nathaniel Martello-White and Deborah Pearson. With Creative Direction by both Chloe Lamford and Royal Court Associate Director Lucy Morrison.

The Site is a workshop and rehearsal space situated next door to the Royal Court and rented from Transport for London. Chloe is transforming the space and is offering audiences an invitation; an experiment in design, collaboration and process. She has designed a space where language, form, the body and instructions are the materials and where both artists and audiences are invited to rethink how we create, present, and watch plays.

This series of works is an experiment, exploring performance through language, physicality and the power of the imagination, created by five playwrights in response to Chloe Lamford’s provocation.

As well as being a leading theatre designer of her generation Chloe is now well known for her extraordinary collaborations with leading European artists such as Lies Pauwels, Katie Mitchell and most recently Wanda on a pop gig. She has collaborated with the Tate Modern and as Associate Designer at the Royal Court is in a constant conversation with the writers to help them challenge form and question the image-based and visual dramaturgy of their work. It is in this spirit that she is leading this project.

Chloe Lamford Royal Court Associate Designed comments in the below video;

“The usual roles in theatre are quite clearly defined; the writer writes a play, a director would then take the play on and then a theatre designer would visualise and create the play from that series of conversations. This time around we’re making a space and then we’re having conversations with five writers in response to this space that we’re making. Each writer is responding to the space in a different way.”

Watch the full video here of Chloe Lamford discussing the concept of The Site

Tickets will be £12 and go on sale today. To increase accessibility to the work there will be a second release of tickets online on Tuesday 2 May at midday plus an allocation of tickets that can be purchased in person, on the door at every performance.

The work:

LIGHTS OUT by Stacey Gregg

In 2017 Gregg began to examine strategies used to bridge the gap between socio-economic backgrounds.

The project takes place in the context of Lights-Out manufacturing, which refers to factories that are fully automated and require no human workers, thus no need for light.

It’s All Made Up by Deborah Pearson

Deborah Pearson isn’t very comfortable writing fiction.  To her, it feels like lying. As a result, she’s made her career in theatre by telling real stories about her life or her performers’ lives.  Chloe has challenged Deborah not to do that.  Deborah has been asked to write a made-up story that takes place in a real life place – The Site.

Deborah will only start making up the story as soon as she first walks into the Site, always writing from and in The Site.  She hopes that what ends up being performed is a string of pathological lies and made-up magic.

A new work by Nathaniel Martello-White

A provocation

What happened.

Did we see what we think we saw?

What are the facts?

Is a square really a square? Or a triangle posing as one?

Or has our capacity to discern a square perished

Truth is in the eye of the beholder

So it’s beauty

So is murder

Or maybe it isn’t

Did we just have that conversation?

In this new unknown space, Nathaniel Martello-White explores the post-truth era where facts have become irrelevant and we are forced to question the ‘reality’ that surrounds us.

The Unknown by EV Crowe

 There are four basic principles: 

1) They are not willed by the individual self

2) They reflect social reality

3) They are public rhetoric

4) They are collectively interpretable

EV Crowe’s real life dreams will be shared as a play and interpreted by an audience.

Quote source: Nocturnal Omissions: Steps Toward a Sociology of Dreams (pages 95–104). Gary Alan Fine and Laura Fischer Leighton

 A new work by Theresa Ikoko

 “From creators Chloe Lamford and Theresa Ikoko comes The Site, the brand new, state-of-the art venue of The Space Between.

 Welcome, the 107,683,902,202nd contestant will join us shortly. 

 I will be your host. Life points are under your seat. Feel free to use them today. Or save them for your turn. Maybe soon…

 The final level. 

 What’s next?”


Casting Announcement for The Children by Lucy Kirkwood at Royal Court Theatre

Cast of The Children

FRANCESCA ANNIS, RON COOK and DEBORAH FINDLAY cast in The Children by Lucy Kirkwood

Cast of The Children

Cast of The Children

Francesca Annis, Ron Cook and Deborah Findlay have been cast in Lucy Kirkwood’s new play The Children which runs in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, 17 November 2016 – 14 January 2017 with Press Night on Thursday 24 November.

Directed by James Macdonald. With design by Miriam Buether and lighting design by Peter Mumford.

“At our time of life, we simply cannot deal with this shit.”

Two retired nuclear scientists in an isolated cottage by the sea as the world around them crumbles.

Together they are going to live forever on yogurt and yoga, until an old friend arrives with a frightening request.

“Do you want to call your children?”
“To let them know your plans.”

The Children is a Berwin-Lee commission.

The Big Idea: 

Lucy Kirkwood in Conversation

Jerwood Theatre Downstairs

Friday 2 December, Post-show

Lucy Kirkwood talks with Royal Court Associate Director Lucy Morrison.

The Big Idea is a strand of work launched during Open Court, offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage. The Big Idea seeks to foster debate and collaboration, bringing together leading thinkers and artists from all walks of life to engage with the big ideas of our times, through a series of debates and events.

Raising the curtain on The Royal Court’s Open Court Festival – This isn’t child’s play

Royal Court Youth board members

In the back of a smartly decorated theatre, just off Sloane Square, several members of the Royal Court’s Youth Board greet me. Noisily and full of enthusiasm, we gather in Vicky Featherstone‘s office. It’s quite a good office.

The Vision of Lynne Gagliano

But, front and centre, I discover that Lynne Gagliano – Head of Young Court – tragically died, from a brain aneurism. Youth Board member Lucy tells me “She was a massive part of our lives – this was her dream. Open Court would have made her proud. We will let it live on and do our best to deliver her vision.” They are determined to do Lynne proud. What you are seeing, as a result, is a sense of work that is passionately curated.

Youth Board at Open Court

Royal Court’s Youth Board members

Youth Theatre as process and product

Youth theatre, as both process and product, is not merely everywhere. There is a huge interest in work being performed and created by young people for adult audiences. It has proven itself to be infinitely innovative. Take Chichester Festival Theatre’s spectacular transfer of RUNNING WILD at Regent’s Park and British Theatre Academy’s 6 week run of the youth-led SECRET GARDEN currently playing at Ambassador Theatre.

Open Court Festival at Royal Court

This summer young people had the keys to the Royal Court in Open Court Festival. The reins of each department were handed over to the young people, who swiftly became the driving force of the operation. Youth Board Member Jack emphasises the benefits of working with professionals, “We all came to this through various routes; a lot of us are in National Youth Theatre, but we really feel wanted here at the Court. The staff know you by name, there’s a familiarity… It’s surreal to be honest! The staff trust us and they care about what we have to say.” It’s plain to see that this diverse work gives young people a voice and we should all be listening.

The teenagers come across as fully fledged artists, providing excellent value for money. Open Court reflects that work created with and by young people is one of the most vital parts of British Theatre. Youth Theatre has often played it’s strong suit; numbers, ensemble, spectacle, but it has also often neglected the fact that it needs to be producing citizens before theatre professionals.

PRESENTING… – a brilliant idea

I ask them how they decided on what to programme. Ellie chips in “We are focused on seeking out new and exciting voices. It’s really cool that Royal Court is doing this festival – the writing for PRESENTING is outstanding – all the plays that have been submitted by young people are of a really good quality!” PRESENTING contains solid debut plays from Young Court’s playwrights with original stories to tell. Writers include Serafina Cusack, Thomas Fowler, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, Mark Hannah and more. Each night aims to showcase a variety of plays performed by members of the National Youth Theatre. It’s a brilliant idea and allows for a richly imaginative array of work that is clearly rooted in topics which matter most to them.

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PRESENTING… © Alex Brenner ( all images)

Looking ahead

In 2016 audience allegiances are polarised, historically devised theatre often converts performance forms and infuses them with something innovative manifold; an authentic response to issues and experience derived from the sensibility of young people. I ask them what their roles entail and Lucy jumps in: “We do a bit of everything – Stage managing, admin, design, directing. We don’t have set rules – we allocate our own rules and allocate tasks.” Sounds fun. But, how did they get involved? Tara tells me, “Keep an eye on Twitter! Keep your eyes peeled – things pop up… If you attend the theatre: you meet people. You start a conversation and hear about other peoples’ passions and projects, you make theatre friends.”

The work on display is complex and layered. As I hop on the tube home and catch a glimpse of what’s going on in the world, the newspaper headlines glaring back at me, I feel overwhelmed and more passionately than ever that theatre cannot afford to shut the next generation out.

You can also read Carl’s earlier blog about The Royal Court’s Young Court HERE

Pigs and Dogs – Caryl Churchill communicates with vigour, that socially, politically and historically – we’ve got a long way to go

Pigs and Dogs at The Royal Court Theatre.

‘You Western-backed goats,
They forced us into slavery and killed millions. Now they want us to accept the sinfulness of homos.It shall not work.’

Pigs and Dogs at The Royal Court Theatre.

Pigs and Dogs at The Royal Court Theatre. © Alastair Muir

Both excitingly well made and strikingly formulaic. The three highly diverse leads are uniformly excellent. Sharon D Clarke is effortless in Caryl Churchill’s pertinent new play.

The title of the play is borrowed from  President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who said, “If dogs and pigs don’t do it, why must human beings?”

Pigs and Dogs boasts fine performances and nimble direction by Dominic Cooke. It doesn’t entirely evade the issue at its core – a brief history of homophobia and anti-homosexuality laws – instead it efficiently embraces the subject. Characters collide regardless of race or gender in a thrilling fifteen minutes.

This engaging piece succeeds well at what it sets out to do: wrapping an important message in a story told by rich voices. Nevertheless, both excitingly well made and dispiritingly formulaic; the actors pace the stage. The play is substantially based on material from ‘Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands’ by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe.

A riveting short which, were it fiction, might be disbelieved as dystopia. For me, Churchill communicates, with vigour, that socially, politically and historically – we’ve got a long way to go.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Fisayo Akinade
Sharon D Clarke
Alex Hassell

Director: Dominic Cooke
Lighting Designer: Jack Williams
Sound Designed: David McDeveney
Costume Supervisor: Lucy Walshaw
Stage Manager: Caroline Meer
Dialect Coach: Hazel Holder

Royal Court Theatre launch app for Open Court plus extra speakers announced

Open Court on Snapchat

OPEN COURT began on Monday with 3 weeks of work curated by the Youth Board and Young Writers aged 15 – 24 in association with the National Youth Theatre.

Following Open Court in 2013, when the writers had the keys, this time the Royal Court has handed the keys of the building to the theatre’s Youth Board and 10 young writers aged 15 – 24. Over the next three weeks they are in charge and they will be tackling the issues that matter to them through theatre, music, installations, talks and workshops.

Open Court is a collaboration with the National Youth Theatre (NYT) as both organisations celebrate 60 years of discovering new talent. NYT actors will be performing in the series of plays by young writers.
Pushing boundaries and taking over the entire building, Open Court will spill off the stage into corridors, offices, rehearsal rooms, the Bar & Kitchen and online. Many events free.

Open Court App
The Youth Board have partnered with Room One in the creation of an app. Browse the schedule of events, access special extra content, and keep up-to-date with what’s happening through notifications. More content will be added throughout the festival.
Open Court the App is available both in the App Store and Play Store.

Open Court App

Open Court App

Commenting on the partnership, Room One Producer Laurence Chater said;

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Royal Court and to be bringing our digital expertise to such an innovative and forward-thinking theatre. This app is just the beginning of what we hope will be a longer partnership looking at how new technologies can be used in the theatrical world.”

Follow Open Court on Snapchat
Search for Open Court directly (opencourt2016) or just take a Snapchat of the QR code below.

.Open Court on Snapchat

Open Court on Snapchat

Open Court Cast
The following NYT and Beyond the Court performers have been cast in Sense, Presenting…, Drinking Concrete: The Concept Album and Theatre Through The Windows;

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, Joshua Asaré, Lisa Marie Ashworth, Josh Barrow, Roxana Bartle, Dior Clarke, Nathan Collins, Georgia Daniels, Tudor Davies, Rosie Dwyer, Yanexi Enriquez-Borges, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Christine Gomes, Mark Hannah, Caleb Hughes, Georgie Jones, Lauren Lyle, Behzad (Bez) Makari, Marika Mckennell, Sarah Milton, Kevin Mumbere, Melina Namdar, Anna Piper, Marc Pouani, Oscar Porter Brentford, Rachel Rajah, Razmik (Raz) Sargsyan, Michael Sookhan, Anna Spearpoint, Humaira Wadiwala, Douglas Wood and Michael Workeye.

Cast of Sense, Presenting…, Drinking Concrete: The Concept Album and Theatre Through The Windows.

Cast of Sense, Presenting…, Drinking Concrete: The Concept Album and Theatre Through The Windows.

Open Court Speakers
Guest speakers for When Will My _______ Stop Limiting Me? are Speech Debelle, an award-winning Hip Hop artist; Ossie Stuart, a diversity consultant specialising in ethnicity and disability; Jennifer Joseph, a Clean Break graduate and actress and members of the Youth Board.

Schools As Exam Factories is a new work exploring the pressures on young people in a system that measures intelligence by exam results.
Chaired by theatre director Lyndsey Turner and featuring guests including Stuart Worden, the principle of The BRIT School in Croydon, a free arts school for 14 to 19 year olds, and Ben Faulkner, deputy head boy at Maiden Erlegh School, this panel discussion considers the pressures on young people in a system that measures intelligence by exam results.

Prefaced by an original piece by Rebecca Porter performed by members of the National Youth Theatre.

Open Court listings information below:

By Serafina Cusack and Benedikt Päffgen
Directed by Royal Court Trainee Director Grace Gummer
Thursday 21 July – Friday 23 July 2016, 5pm, 7.45pm & 8.30pm
Tickets £7 (£2 under 25)
An intimate promenade experience telling one story of memory and loss. Using each of the five senses to experience the story in different ways; no journey will be the same.

By 10 young writers, aged 17 – 24
Directed by Royal Court Trainee Director Grace Gummer, Associate Director Hamish Pirie and Artistic Associate Ola Animashawun
Thursday 28 July – Saturday 30 July 2016, 7.45pm
Tickets £7 (£2 under 25)
Debut plays from Young Court’s 10 young playwrights with original and diverse stories to tell. Writers include Serafina Cusack, Thomas Fowler, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, Mark Hannah, Jasmine Jones, Sarah Milton, Benedikt Päffgen, Rebecca Porter, Sarah Stephenson and Zeyana Yussuf.
Each night will showcase a different set of 3-4 plays, performed by members of the National Youth Theatre.

Drinking Concrete: The Concept Album
By Jasmine Jones, Sarah Stephenson, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu and Rebecca Porter. Directed by Royal Court Associate Director Hamish Pirie
Thursday 4 August – Saturday 6 August 2016, 5pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm & 9.30pm Tickets £7 (£2 under 25)
A spillage of plays, tracks and visuals, telling one story.
Be teased by free installations incorporating music, playwriting and art. Then take a journey around the whole building as the Open Court concept album unfolds through live performances and original compositions. A unique collaboration between theatre makers, composers and young writers inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp A Butterfly.

Knife Edge
By David Watson
The Big House Theatre Company
Monday 1 August (8.30pm) & Tuesday 2 August 2016 (3pm and 8.30pm)
Tickets Evening performance £20, Matinee performance £10
Sometimes life cuts deep. Sometimes life needs a slap.
Written by David Watson (Peckham: The Soap Opera, Royal Court; Housed, The Old Vic) and directed by The Big House Artistic Director, Maggie Norris, Knife Edge is a play about fear, food and family that begins with a murder and ends with a feast.
A girl with no name, hungry for life, fights to tell her own story. Immerse yourself in a darkly comic world, and join her on a journey of discovery, culminating in a culinary coming- together of cast and audience.
Please note evening performances include a meal.

One Nighters: Platform Tottenham
Wednesday 3 August 2016, 9.30pm
Free (booking required)
Join us for a showcase of Tottenham’s best and brightest talents. An evening of spoken word, live music and more. Platform Tottenham is part of Beyond the Court: the Royal Court’s three year residency in Tottenham and Pimlico.

Talks: When will my ______ stop limiting me?
Saturday 23 July 2016, 8pm
Free (booking required)
Exploring race, gender, disability, sexuality and class, join the Youth Board for a series of discussions around breaking barriers.

Workshops: YEN prequel/sequel workshop with playwright Anna Jordan
Prequels and sequels are big business in the film industry but could the sequel ever become a trend in theatre?
Join us for a day-long playwriting workshop with Anna Jordan to write your own prequel/sequel to her Bruntwood Prize-winning YEN.
Open to writers under 25.

Workshops: Schools as exam factories
Wednesday 27 July 2016, 6pm
Free (booking required)
Join the Youth Board (ages 15-19) and school teachers for an event exploring the pressures on young people in a system that measures intelligence by exam results.

Young ASD Writers’ Workshops
Saturday 23 July, 30 July and 6 August
In collaboration with Turtle Key Arts the Royal Court are working with a select group of young writers with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) as a pilot project for a wider project next year.
These will be closed workshops.

Installations: Stories from my mother
18 July – 6 August 2016
A personal collection of stories from across the world told by mothers to their children.
An installation created in collaboration with the Royal Court’s International Department and writers from across the world.

Installations: Theatre from the Windows
By Thomas Fowler, Mark Hannah and Sarah Milton.
Directed by Royal Court Trainee Director Grace Gummer
Monday 18 July – Saturday 6 August 2016
A set of three short plays inspired by the sights of Sloane Square.
Take your place at one of our windows, put on your headphones and let the play unfold. .
Installations: Death Tariff
Friday 29 July & Friday 5 August 2016
An installation on comparable deaths and disasters. Whose life gets more coverage?

Dates Announced For Royal Court Theatre Tour Of Escaped Alone By Caryl Churchill

Original Cast Photography by Johan Persson.

After a sell-out run in 2016 at the Royal Court Theatre, Caryl Churchill’s critically acclaimed new play Escaped Alone will return to the Royal Court for a two week run Wednesday 25 January – Saturday 11 February 2017 and will then tour to:
1.The Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday 7 – Saturday 11 March 2017
2.Cambridge Arts Theatre, Tuesday 14 – Saturday 18 March
3.Bristol Old Vic, Wednesday 22 – Sunday 26 March 2017
Following the UK tour it will then run in New York.

Original Cast Photography by Johan Persson.

Original Cast Photography by Johan Persson. Royal Court Theatre 2016

Directed by James Macdonald (The Father), Escaped Alone, which premiered at the Royal Court in January 2016, is the latest play from the celebrated writer whose work includes The Skriker, recently revived at the Royal Exchange; Light Shining In BuckinghamshireA NumberFar AwayBlue HeartSerious MoneyTop Girls and Cloud Nine.

Design by award-winning Miriam Buether, lighting by Olivier Award winner Peter Mumford and sound by Tony Award winner Christopher Shutt.

“I’m walking down the street and there’s a door in the fence open and inside there are three women I’ve seen before.”

 Three old friends and a neighbour. A summer of afternoons in the back yard. Tea and catastrophe.

“Stories of those above ground were told and retold till there were myths of the husband who cooked feasts, the wife who swam the ocean, the gay lover who could fly, the child who read minds, the talking dog.”

Cast to be announced.

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Playwright Brad Birch talks about dealing with rejection, Brexit, En Folkfiende, learning on the job and more.

Brad Birch

Have you read many Brad Birch interviews before? He’s good at interviews. The recipient of The Harold Pinter Commission 2016 has a chat with me about dealing with rejection, Brexit, En Folkefiende, learning on the job and more.

Brad Birch

Brad Birch

Hi Brad, what did you do yesterday?
Hello Carl. Yesterday I was in tech rehearsals for En Folkefiende. It’s a very technical show so everyone’s very busy; sound, lighting, video, stage management, everyone, I suppose, apart from me. My role in techs often seem to be as an extra eye and ear for the director (this show is directed by Andrew Whyment) and I also like to check in with the actors and crew and drink a lot of coffee. I’ve been in techs in the past where I’ve had to be more hands on, having a more active role in the room, but these instances tend to only come about if there’s text work still to be done. At this late stage in the process it’s obviously less ideal to still be working on the text. Now that’s not to say I’m 100% happy with the text, there’s some stuff that’s still up in the air, but this process is slightly unique in that the production is going up to Edinburgh in the summer too and we have time to rehearse and rewrite again in the coming month or so. I’m looking forward to rewriting in response to this run in Cardiff and the audience’s reaction to it.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?
I think everyone has moments of feeling as though they don’t fit in and some have more moments than others. In a way school was where I felt I fit in the most, but I left at 15 while doing my GCSEs. School for me was a social thing and I’ve always learnt and thought better on my own. It has meant that life took a slightly circuitous route but I’ve my own reference points and process. For a long time I didn’t feel as though I fit in in theatre as I didn’t come to it through drama school or university. I developed through working with individual mentors rather than groups or institutions and it took a while to find my feet in the broader ecology.

What are your thoughts on Brexit?
I’m fearful of what the right wing will do to this country without certain safeguards provided by the EU. Just look at what they’re trying to do to the Human Rights Act, for example. There’s a left wing argument against TTIP and what have you, but can you imagine we’d end up with anything better under an isolated Conservative government? Just look at the food industry, for example, and the kinds of preservative crap that goes into food in the USA; it’s the EU that prevents that kind of stuff from going into our food. I worry about the general trend of isolationism and nationalism that’s currently festering in the right and left. I don’t buy the SNP, I don’t buy Plaid, I don’t buy a devolved north (George Osborne has a northern constituency so this idea that everyone in the north is crying out for a socialist utopia feels to me unlikely). I’ve never felt my identity particularly tethered to a nation, I don’t feel fundamentally more this side of the street rather than the other side of the street. I get more excited about the potential for international left wing answers to global capitalism rather than parochial left wing answers to global capitalism.

How has your writing developed over the past two years?
I think my writing has become more controlled and considered. I’m harder on myself. And I think that comes from going from production to production. You develop a muscle and a rigour and you learn what works and what doesn’t. As I say, I didn’t have a university drama society to practice on, so I’ve been learning on the job. There’s work I’ve not been proud of because of this but I can feel my writing maturing and I’m excited about the next couple of years of shows. I teach now as well and this certainly makes me a sharper writer.

You are the writer in residence at Undeb Theatre and on attachment at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Can you talk us through an average week in the life of Brad Birch?
An average week at the moment is a bit hectic, balancing a few projects at once. I enjoy writing but days whereby I’m having to look at more than one thing can sometimes be a struggle. I am quite strict on my routine and at the moment I have little time for anything else other than typing but usually I try to read about two books a week, go for a lot of walks and talk a lot in pubs. Meeting with people for an afternoon pint and a chat is one of the most joyous things I can think of doing. Zoe and I have also recently had a baby boy called Woody, so life is currently full of concentrated meaning.

How do you deal with rejection?
You just have to not care.

In March 2016, you were announced as the recipient of this year’s Harold Pinter Commission. Tell us something really exciting and top secret about the commission at the Royal Court that is ‘in development’.
This play feels like the culmination of a long relationship with one of the most important buildings of my life. I’ve been in and around the Court for about six years. However the play I’m writing is just like any other play currently on my slate – it’s about a question I can’t answer.

Let’s talk quickly about what put this current business in motion — how did you start out on your career path?
So as I mentioned above I left school early and for about three or four years I just bummed around doing terrible jobs and doing a lot of thinking and reading. When I started writing I wanted to write books. I didn’t grow up with theatre. I fell into it and a bit like a spider in a bath, now I’m in, I can’t get out. I’m fascinated by people and for me theatre is the best medium to explore what people do to each other.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Jeremy Herrin once told us in a group at the Court to always see yourself writing more than one play. And it’s that perspective that prevents you from throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the current draft of your current play. I’ve still got fragments and set pieces and lines that I wrote in 2009/2010 that will one day make it into something.

The Brink was quite good *well done* were you happy with it?
I was very happy with it, thank you. It was such a talented room. I want to make it a life maxim to only work with people who are better at their jobs than I am at my job.

Your next show is EN FOLKEFIENDE. Is it any good?
I really like it. The students we’re working with at Welsh College are, again, brilliant. I don’t know what it is about this school, there must be something in the water in Cardiff. In terms of the play, it’s been a delight to get under the bonnet of one of Ibsen’s most fascinating plays. People talk about the politics of An Enemy of the People but for me it’s a play about brothers.

Can you write a Haiku for our readers (plural)
I try not to write
In cafes or pubs or clubs
And yet here I am

The cast for Anthony Neilson’s new play Unreachable announced.

Cast of Unreachable

Cast of Unreachable

The cast for Anthony Neilson’s new play Unreachable will include Amanda Drew, Tamara Lawrance, Jonjo O’Neill, Richard Pyros and Matt Smith. Rehearsals start on 16 May the production runs from 2 July 2016 to 6 August 2016 in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Press night is on Friday 8 July, 7pm.

Writer and director Anthony Neilson returns to the Royal Court with a new play that will be created in the rehearsal room.

With Set Design by Royal Court Associate Designer Chloe Lamford, Costume Design by Fly Davis, Lighting Design by Chahine Yavroyan, Composition and Sound Design by Nick Powell

A film director on an obsessive quest to capture the perfect light.

Throughout rehearsals, online content based on ideas the company are experimenting with will be posted on  This will help build a collection of references that will offer audiences an insight into the process of devising work. As well as expose audiences to the themes and images that will shape the finished production. The first trailer has now been released. This is the first of a series of films created in collaboration with director Michael Hewson. Audiences are encouraged to check the site regularly or sign up to the Royal Court’s mailing list to receive updates.

Unreachable will be accompanied by a post-show conversation with writer and director Anthony Neilson and the cast to take place on 20 July as part of the Big Idea.

Educational Insight Workshops will be available for any schools attending this production.

Press Night:

Friday 08 July, 7pmUnreachable by Anthony NeilsonJerwood Theatre Downstairs

The Big Idea is a strand of work offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage. The Big Idea seeks to foster debate and collaboration, bringing together leading thinkers and artists from all walks of life to engage with the big ideas of our times through a series of debates and events.





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Mark Ravenhill, Playwright: “There is really only one rule to learn before writing a play”.

Mark Ravenhill
Mark Ravenhill

Mark Ravenhill

Mark Ravenhill is a playwright. 20 years later ‘Shopping and Fucking‘ still looks like it’s from the future and Mark continues to look ahead. I thought it would be nice to catch up with Mark to see exactly what’s happening. And I was right – it was very nice indeed.
Despite not really doing interviews he agreed to a chat. Here’s what happened.

Hi Mark Ravenhill. If you were to draw a graph of the last ten years, how would it look?
Some leaps of imagination needed here.  First, that I could draw a graph. Which I can’t.  I’ve never been able to stick to the squares on graph paper. And second, that I have the kind of mind that imagines shapes that fit on graph paper.  Which I don’t have either.  So my graph of the last ten years would me trying to think in a way which I can’t, using a medium that I’m not suited to.  In other words, my graph of the last ten years would be one of messy failure. That is not a metaphor. Or a cry for help.

A view from Islington north

A view from Islington north


What can you tell us about A View From Islington North the ‘evening of political satire’ you are contributing to with Out of Joint? ‘A View From Islington North’ is a celebration of Max Stafford-Clark’s relationships with playwrights.  All the playwrights who’ve written the pieces have had work directed by Max over decades. He first directed work by Caryl Churchill and David Hare in the 1970s.  I’m one of the johnny-come-latelies, having only first worked with him twenty years ago.  Max is a brilliant, infuriating, insightful and relentless director

What’s your favourite emoji?
The winky one

Shopping and Fucking

Shopping and Fucking

Shopping and Fucking is often described as a period piece isn’t it.
I don’t know how other people describe it (if it all) but yes I would describe it as period piece. I wanted to write what it felt like to be in your twenties in that moment in time.  It doesn’t have any references to contemporary events outside the play but it’s whole mood and style belongs to the late 1990s. It’s a play that is sorted for Es and whizz.

With writers it feels like there’s a constant expectation, and that they need to keep proving themselves, throughout their career. Which perhaps isn’t quite the same for a director where you can just keep going until you fall over. Is that a fair analysis?
Do you think so?  I think directors suffer from constant expectation and many fall out of favour and fashion.  But it’s true that there is a high burn out with playwrights.  Some have one brilliant debut at somewhere like the Royal Court upstairs and then never write again. Plenty write three or four plays and then find they have no more plays to write.  Very few write plays over a lifetime. I’m fifty this year. To ensure that I too ‘can just keep going until you fall over’ I’ve mapped out a cycle of forty full length plays.  I’m committed to writing one a year, finishing each one on my birthday June 7th.  So that will take me until I’m 90, when I will fall over and die as I will have advanced osteoporosis.
If you were to write a playwriting rulebook, what would Rule One be?
There is really only one rule to learn before writing a play.  Never under any circumstances use the line ‘the door was open so I let myself in’. Everything else is allowed.
Let’s imagine we’re putting theatre as an art form in a capsule to sending it into space, which one play do you put forward?
One play to represent the whole of world theatre?  Wouldn’t it need to be a DVD of a performance? (the question is in danger of conflating a ‘play’ with ‘theatre’).  But let’s say it’s a play text.  I think it would have to be one of the Greeks. That’s drama in its purest and arguably most powerful form.  I would pick Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’, although it could just as well be Euripides ‘Medea’ or Aeschylus “Oresteia’.  How about I write a new English version and we ping that into space alongside the Ancient Greek text?
Do you endlessly analyse your creative decisions or are you impulsive?
I write first drafts almost entirely on impulse and then use analysis (often aided by the director and sometimes the actors) to work through further drafts.

Do you pay attention to critics?
I’ll listen to anyone who can help me understand what I’m doing and how I might get better at it.
To the people who are still reading, do you have a final message?
The door is still open. Let yourself out. Thank you.