Royal Court Theatre announces extension for Dennis Kelly’S Girls & Boys

Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan

An extra week of performances has been added today to the world premiere of Girls & Boys, written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Lyndsey Turner. The productionwill be running from Thursday 8 February 2018 – Saturday 17 March 2018Girls & Boys, which sees Carey Mulligan playing the role of Women, runs in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs with press performances on Wednesday 14 February at 7pm and Thursday 15 February at 7pm. Reviews are embargoed until 11.59pm on Thursday 15 February 2018.

With set design by Es Devlin, costume design by Jack Galloway, lighting design by Oliver Fenwick and sound design by David McSeveney.

“I met my husband in the queue to board an EasyJet flight and I have to say I took an instant dislike to the man.”

An unexpected meeting at an airport leads to an intense, passionate, head-over-heels relationship. Before long they begin to settle down, buy a house, juggle careers, have kids – theirs is an ordinary family. But then their world starts to unravel and things take a disturbing turn.

“I don’t remember exactly when things with us started to go properly wrong – I just remember suddenly finding myself in it.”

Girls & Boys marks the first collaboration between writer Dennis Kelly and director Lyndsey Turner.

Tickets for the extra dates go on sale to Friends on Thursday 14 December 2017 at noon (Tickets are limited to two per person. Subject to availability) and any remaining will go on sale to the general public on Friday 15 December at noon 020 7565 5000 / www.royalcourttheatre.com

Biographies:

Dennis Kelly (Writer)

For the Royal Court: The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas.

Other theatre includes: Matilda the Musical (RSC/West End); The Gods Weep (RSC/Hampstead); Orphans (Traverse/Birmingham Rep/Soho); DNA (National); Taking Care of Baby (Hampstead/Birmingham Rep); Love & Money (Royal Exchange, Manchester/Young Vic); Osama the Hero (Hampstead); After the End (Bush); Debris (503).

Television includes: Pulling, Utopia.

Film includes: Black Sea

 

Lyndsey Turner (Director)

For the Royal Court: Posh (& West End), Contractions, A Miracle, Our Private Life.

Other theatre includes: Saint George and the Dragon, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Edgar & Annabel (National); Faith Healer (Donmar); Hamlet (Barbican); Machinal (Broadway); The Treatment, Chimerica (Almeida)

Carey Mulligan (Woman)

For the Royal Court: The Seagull (& Broadway), Forty Winks.

Other theatre includes: Skylight (West End/Broadway); Through a Glass Darkly (New York Theater Workshop); The Hypochondriac (Almeida).

Television includes: My Boy Jack, Doctor Who, Northanger Abbey, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, Waking the Dead, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Bleak House, Trial & Retribution.

Film includes: Wildlife, Mudbound, Suffragette, Far from the Madding Crowd, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great Gatsby, Shame, Drive, Never Let Me Go, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Brothers, Public Enemies, An Education, The Greatest, When Did You Last See Your Father?, Pride & Prejudice.

Awards include: BAFTA Award for Best Actress (An Education)

Listings Information:

 Girls & Boys

By Dennis Kelly

Directed by Lyndsey Turner

Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS

Thursday 8 February 2018 – Saturday 17 March 2018

Monday – Saturday 8pm

Saturday matinees 2.30pm (from 17 February 2018)

Captioned Performance Wednesday 7 March 2018
Audio described Matinee Saturday 10 March touch tour at 1pm
Post Show Talk Big Idea: In Conversation with writer Dennis Kelly Wednesday 7 March 2018 with live speech-to-text
Press Night Wednesday 14 February 2018, 7pm & Thursday 15 February 2018, 7pm. Review embargo lifted 11.59pm Thursday 15 February 2018.

Standard Tickets £12 – £45 (Mondays all seats £12 available from 9am online on the day of performance).
Concessions* £5 off top two prices (available in advance for previews and all matinees)

Under 26s £15 (available across all performances for individual bookers, Bands B and C only)
Access £15 (plus a companion at the same rate)
*ID required. All discounts subject to availability.

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Barbican January 2018 Highlights

Barbican January 2018 highlights

  • In the Barbican Theatre, 2018 starts with the London International Mime Festival. Award-winning Belgian company Peeping Tom bring the UK premiere of Mother (Moeder) which explores the archetypal matriarchal figure; Toneelhuis/FC Bergman make their Barbican debut with the UK premiere of 300 el x 50 el x 30 el which follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood; Bêtes de foire – Petit Théâtre de Gestes brings its intimate circus tinged with nostalgia; Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air) is performed by Magali Rousseau , revealing exquisite metal creatures during this promenade performance and Barbican Cinema will screen a key work of German silent cinema, Variety.
  • In the Barbican Hall, Sir Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Genesis Suite and Orchestra of La Scala Milan and pianist Behzod Abduraimov both make their debuts.
  • Les Talens Lyriques present a half day exploration of the music of François Couperin in his 350th anniversary year at Milton Court Concert Hall.
  • Carleen Anderson presents Cage Street Memorial – a ‘tribal opera’, chronicling over a century of her own family heritage.
  • Creative collective Video Jam curates a night of audio/visual performances inspired by the life and works of American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat to mark the finale of Basquiat: Boom for Realthe first large-scale exhibition in the UK of his work in the Barbican Art Gallery until 28 Janwhich brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never seen before in the UK.
  • Commissioned especially for the Curve, British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah’s new work Purple is an immersive, six-channel video installation charting incremental shifts in climate change across the planet. In the last in the series of films which have influenced John Akomfrah’s work, Barbican Cinema will screen a digital restoration of The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy).

VISUAL ARTS

Basquiat: Boom for Real

Thu 21 Sep 2017–Sun 28 Jan 2018, Barbican Art Gallery

#boomforreal

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­—1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the post-punk underground art scene in Lower Manhattan in the late 1970s. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta in Kassel. Basquiat’s vibrant, raw imagery springs from an impressive erudition, seen in the fragments of bold capitalised text that abound in his works — offering insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK – where there is not a single work in a public collection. More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing it within the wider cultural context of the time. Paintings, drawings and notebooks are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and ephemera in a design that aims to capture the dynamism of Basquiat’s practice. These exhibits are brought together for the first time in 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of his fellow artists and critics.

John Akomfrah: Purple
Fri 6 Oct 2017–Tue 7 Jan 2018, The Curve

Free Admission

#JohnAkomfrah

Barbican Art Gallery presents a new commission by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah for the Curve. His most ambitious project to date, Purple is an immersive, six-channel video installation which charts the incremental shifts in climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity and the wilderness. As the follow up to Vertigo Sea (2015), Akomfrah’s standout work at the 56th Venice Biennale, Purple forms the second chapter in a planned quartet of films addressing the aesthetics and politics of matter. Symphonic in scale and divided into six interwoven movements, Akomfrah has combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation. Akomfrah’s Purple brings a multitude of ideas into conversation including mammalian extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming.

To coincide with Purple, John Akomfrah selects a series of films which have influenced his work and life over the years. On 4 January, Barbican Cinema will screen a digital restoration by Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy).

Flying Trees and Sunken Squares

Fri 20 Oct 2017– Tue 20 Mar 2018Barbican Foyer, Ground level
Free Admission

Flying Trees and Sunken Squares is the fifth of the changing foyer displays. It explores the history and design of the Barbican Estate and Arts Centre through a number of different sources. A selection of books from founding architects Chamberlin, Powell & Bon partner Geoffrey Powell bring to light references from continental Europe and inspiration from the English garden. The selection of archival drawings and illustrations conveys the interweaving of artifice and nature and finally, at its centre, the Conservatory’s historical drawings and newly commissioned photographs of its species celebrate the glass and steel design of this botanical marvel and hidden garden.


Architecture on Stage: 
Adam Caruso and Peter St John
Wed 10 Jan, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Inspired by Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats, Adam Caruso and Peter St John will give a series of short talks on subjects ranging from new projects, the role of client and contractors, teaching, and problems of representation in architecture.

For information on talks programmed as part of Architecture on Stage and Magnum Photos Now, please visit www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/art-design.

 

MUSIC

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle: Genesis Suite

Sat 13 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm  

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Genesis Suite, a musical interpretation of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. Consisting of seven movements, each written by a different composer, the work was conceived in 1943 by film composer/conductor Nathaniel Shilkret. Shilkret wished to create an impactful musical gesture – one which alluded to the horrors of the Second World War by means of Biblical analogies, while also breaking boundaries between musical idioms.

Shilkret approached some of the most famous composers of his time for this composite project, including Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Toch, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Tansman.  Despite writing music in very different styles, these composers were all united in their experience of being European émigrés in America, displaced from their homelands by war and totalitarian regimes. Shilkret also asked Béla Bartók to take part but unfortunately Bartók was already gravely ill at that point and not able to participate. To acknowledge his planned involvement, the Barbican performance culminates with Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. The production is devised and presented by creative director Gerard McBurney, with visuals by award winning projection designer Mike Tutaj.

Genesis Suite forms part of the Barbican’s 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Les Talens Lyriques/François Couperin: lumière et ombre

Sun 14 Jan 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall, 2pm

Famed early music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, under Christophe Rousset, will take up residence for half a day in Milton Court Concert Hall, for an exploration of the work of Baroque composer François Couperin, in the 350th anniversary year of his birth. The French ensemble, noted particularly for their performances of rare works which they consider to be missing links in Europe’s musical heritage, will perform two concerts, Lumière and Ombre, culminating with Trois leçons de ténèbres, performed by candlelight. Rousset will also take part in a panel discussion, delving into the imagination of the much-loved composer.  

Behzod Abduraimov plays the Liszt Sonata

Thu 18 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Pianist Behzod Abduraimov makes his debut at the Barbican Hall in a concert of imposing romantic works that demonstrate his astonishing virtuosity. He has established himself as one of the forerunners of his generation, winning numerous awards for his recordings, and performing with leading orchestras worldwide. On the Barbican stage he will perform Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, a pinnacle of the composer’s oeuvre, alongside two transcriptions: Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s Isolde’s Liebestod, and Prokofiev’s Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op 75.

Carleen Anderson – Cage Street Memorial

+ special guests TBA

Sat 20 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7:30pm

Mercury-nominated and Worldwide FM Lifetime Achievement Award winner Carleen Anderson takes to the Barbican stage to present Cage Street Memorial. Described by Anderson as a ‘tribal opera’, poetry and songs chronicle over a century of Anderson’s own family heritage, reflecting on multi-culturalism and the celebration of perseverance against the odds.

Original songs composed and arranged by Anderson drawn from jazz and soul, gospel and chamber music are enhanced by a backdrop of evocative visual images with Carleen on voice, piano and digital harmonizer complemented by an expert quartet led by the critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson.  This performance is one-third part of a trilogy series also consisting of a theatrical production currently in development and a British Library registered book Cage Street Memorial – The Chapel of Mirrors.

Carleen Anderson’s Cage Street Memorial project is supported by Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation.

 

Orchestra of La Scala Milan / Riccardo Chailly

Wed 24 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

The prestigious Orchestra of La Scala Milan makes its first visit to the Barbican Hall, led by Principal Conductor Riccardo Chailly. The orchestra, founded in 1982 with the objective of developing a symphonic repertoire to add a further dimension to La Scala’s great operatic tradition, will perform a sparkling programme bringing together both of these musical worlds, with Rossini’s Overture from La Gazza Ladra,  Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The soloist for this evening’s concert is Benjamin Grosvenor, whose previous appearances at the Barbican have been received to great acclaim.

 

Video Jam x Basquiat

Sun 28 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Creative collective Video Jam curates a night of audio/visual performances inspired by the life and works of American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat to mark the finale of Basquiat: Boom for Realthe first large-scale exhibition in the UK of his work.

Video Jam has programmed a selection of both established and emerging musicians, and filmmakers, from the UK and New York. Musicians will compose original scores to the specially commissioned moving image works which will be performed live. Confirmed for this collaboration are Mercury Prize winners, Young Fathers, Ibibio Sound Machine

and Seaming To.

Meanwhile, participating filmmakers include Topher Campbell, Victoria Keddie and Haley Elizabeth Anderson. Further musicians to perform include Tombed Visions, RootsRaddix and Danalogue (Live) featuring Sarathy Korwar, Leafcutter John and Idris Rahman. Further commissioned film makers include Gabrielle Ledet & Jack WedgeScout Stuart and Ephraim Asili. Following Video Jam’s recent artist residency in New York, filmmakers have been carefully selected by the Video Jam curators, taking into consideration the exhibition’s focus, including Basquiat’s relationship to music, literature, film and television, placing him within the wider context of the time. Their work covers a diverse range of genres – hand drawn animation, essay film, narrative, video art and more. The musicians chosen reflect Basquiat’s diverse musical tastes – contemporary classical, bebop, jazz, hip hop, electronic and experimental noise.

Additional highlights

 As part of the ECHO Rising Stars concert series, Percussionist Christopher Sietzen will perform a new ECHO commission by American musician (and former drummer of The Police)  Stewart Copeland, alongside one of Sietzen’s own works, and music by Xennakis, Pärt and others (Fri 5 Jan 2018, LSO St Luke’s). Another ECHO Rising Star Ellen Nisbeth, comes to LSO St Luke’s on 19 January to perform works by Vaughan Williams, Saariaho, Rebecca Clarke and a new work titled Tales of Lost Times written especially for her by Stockholm-based composer Katrina Leyman (Fri 19 Jan 2018, LSO St Luke’s). At Milton Court celebrated baritone Christopher Purves performs a recital of works by Handel, accompanied by the ensemble Arcangelo (Sun 7 Jan 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall). EUROPALIA and the Barbican continue their series, presenting an exploration of gamelan music in a special project Planet Harmonik by Aloysius Suwardi, based around the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres (Thu 18 Jan 2018, Milton Court). Renowned Irish fiddler Martin Hayes (The Gloaming) and the eclectic quartet Brooklyn Rider will join forces for an evening of music grounded in the Irish tradition, drawing material from their upcoming collaborative album (Thu 25 Jan 2018, Milton Court). The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will celebrate the life and influence of founder member Kitty Lux, who sadly passed away in 2017, with a special concert at the Barbican (Fri 26 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall). At LSO St Luke’s, two Bernstein enthusiasts, journalist Edward Seckerson and Tony Award-nominated arranger, composer and musical director Jason Carr, will be joined by Olivier Award nominee Sophie-Louise Dann to explore the life and music of Leonard Bernstein in a cabaret performance Bernstein Revealed (Sun 28 Jan 2018, LSO St Luke’s). This event forms part of the Barbican’s season-long celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary, Bernstein 100. The intimate setting of Milton Court will play host to a concert of principally Estonian choral works with the celebrated Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, in the year that marks 100 years since the proclamation of Estonia as an independent, democratic republic (Tue 30 Jan 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall).

BBC Symphony Orchestra highlights

Total Immersion day will focus on the music of Leonard Bernstein in his centenary year (27 Jan) – dedicated as much to his concert and choral works as his jazz and cabaret talents, Bernstein the Renaissance Man is celebrated in film, conversation and performances, including popular choral works, as well as a rare chance to hear his Songfest.

 

London Symphony Orchestra highlights

The LSO launches the new year with a collaboration between Sir Simon Rattle and international opera star Magdalena Kožená (11 Jan), followed by a performance of Genesis Suite, as detailed above (13 Jan). François-Xavier Roth, the LSO’s Principal Guest Conductor, takes charge of a major celebration of the century of Claude Debussy’s death in 2018. The series will survey Debussy’s career, those who influenced him and his successors across three concerts, beginning with two in January, featuring cellist Edward Moreau (21 Jan) and pianist Cédric Tiberghien (25 Jan).

THEATRE

London International Mime Festival 2018
Petit Théâtre de Gestes – Bêtes de foire
Tue 16–Sat 20 Jan 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tue16 Jan 2018, 7.45pm

Bêtes de foire is an intimate circus, tinged with nostalgia, where artistry, puppetry and object theatre combine. Surrounded by old clothes, mannequins and bric-a-brac, a seamstress tinkers with assorted fabrics in her workshop, reassembling materials of all kinds while her antiquated sewing machine provides musical cues for her fellow performer’s routines. He, a little down-at-heel but clearly talented, launches into an eccentric dance, juggling precariously with hats and disappearing props. A supporting cast of mechanical characters, including tightrope walker, acrobats and one-man band, adds to the mystique of an itinerant fairground show.

Elsa De Witte and Laurent Cabrol performed with French street theatre and travelling companies before founding their own miniature circus universe. With echoes of Tadeusz Kantor and Alexander Calder, and the sensibility of silent film, this is a feelgood performance of surprise, wonder, offbeat humour and exceptional skill.

London International Mime Festival 2018

L’Insolite Mécanique – Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air)

Tue 23– Sat 27 Jan 2018, The Pit

Press performances: Tue 23 Jan 2018, 6.30pm and 8.30pm

In this mysterious world of shadow and light, mechanical installations come alive, illuminating Magali Rousseau’s childhood dream of achieving flight. An enigmatic yet charismatic artist tells her story of a little girl wishing to escape by becoming a master of the air. As she leads the audience to different parts of the atmospherically lit stage, her simple words become a symbolic force for this promenade performance in which exquisite metal creatures emerge. Some small, some very large, each is an actor, a work of art in its own right, set into action through steam power, flame, time or weight, all playing their part in this ingenious theatrical tale.

Rousseau’s astonishingly engineered machines are born out of a career working in set and prop design. Collaborating with musician Stéphane Diskus, whose live clarinet playing heightens the unusual ambience, she relates a most personal memory: how trying to fly became an act of resistance. A journey into the imagination, then, for all the dreamers, young and old alike.

London International Mime Festival 2018

Peeping Tom – Mother (Moeder)

Wed 24 – Sat 27 January 2018, Barbican Theatre

Press night: Wed 24 Jan 2018, 7.45pm

Peeping Tom evoke a dreamlike universe, at once disturbing and oddly humorous, to explore the archetypal figure of the mother, in a production of astonishing physicality that defies characterisation.

Taking audiences into a series of recognisable spaces, including a museum, music studio and maternity ward, this non-narrative work draws on the memories of the show’s director Gabriela Carrizo and those of her performers to trigger disquieting reflections about motherhood.

Suffering, desire, fear, life and death are unexpectedly intertwined in Mother (Moeder), which shies away from neither the subconscious nor nightmares, reflecting the unstable atmosphere of a David Lynch film. The soundscape has a cinematic quality, sometimes amplified to disconcerting effect. It is matched by surreal visual imagery and imaginative choreography where bodies bend, flip, isolate and contort.

Peeping Tom’s 32 rue Vandenbranden, seen at the Barbican in 2015 as part of the London International Mime Festival, won the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.

London International Mime Festival 2018

Toneelhuis/FC Bergman – 300 el x 50 el x 30 el

Wed 31 Jan–Sat 3 Feb 2018, Barbican Theatre

Press night: Wed 31 Jan 2018, 7.45pm

Theatre and film are ingeniously interwoven in a wordless production that follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood.

Six humble dwellings sit in a wild forest clearing. At first, only their exteriors are visible. But when joined by a live camera crew, surreal, peculiar and humorous slices of life are captured and revealed on a big screen. From the mundane to intimate, sinister to absurd, a symphony of symbolic and unsettling images emerges.

Young Belgian theatre collective FC Bergman is creatively experimental and daring, devising visual and poetic work with an anarchic edge. The story of Noah’s Ark – the show’s title alludes to the vessel’s dimensions – is the starting point for this production, which touches upon hidden desires, the search for life’s meaning, the beauty of human failure and, finally, hope. With a cast of thirteen actors, 300 el x 50 el x 30 el unfolds to a soundtrack that includes Vivaldi, The Persuasions and Nina Simone.

CINEMA

 John Akomfrah Presents: The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy) (15*)

Thu 4 Jan 6.15pm, Cinema 2

Egypt 1969 Dir Chadi Abdel Salam 102 min Digital presentation 

Presented here in a digital restoration by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, this Egyptian classic was recently voted the greatest ever movie from the Arab world. 1881, Thebes – burial place of the Pharaohs. The Horabat mountain tribe have lived for generations by stripping artefacts from a tomb known only to themselves, and selling them on the black market. When the current chief dies, his two sons learn for the first time about the trade, and are thrown into moral chaos: reveal the secret to the authorities, or preserve what the tribesmen consider to be their natural heritage?

The film casts this story in terms of the search for an authentic, lost Egyptian national identity, while leaving open questions about desecration, veneration, and what exactly our debt should be to the past. Unusual camera angles, striking colours and an unsettling score contribute to making this what Scorsese has called ‘an entrancing and oddly moving experience.’

Silent Film and Live Music: Variety  (PG)

with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Martin Pyne

Sun 21 Jan 4pm, Cinema 1

Germany 1925 Dir Ewald Andre Dupont 94 min

A key work of German silent cinema and an international smash on its release, E A Dupont’s movie is an audacious melodrama, filmed in the legendary Berlin Wintergarten Theatre. Starring two of the era’s biggest stars, Emil Jannings and Lya De Putti, the film immerses us in a world of acrobats, clowns, jugglers, dancing girls and barkers of the period.

The screening features a live musical accompaniment by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne and vibraphonist/percussionist Martin Pyne, who perform Horne’s original score for this classic of both the silent and circus genre.

Part of the London International Mime Festival

 

Polka Theatre announces new season for 2018

Artistic Director of Polka Theatre, Peter Glanville today announced their new 2018 season. The new season comprises both new Polka productions and visiting work as well as classes and workshops, celebrating some of the greatest living writers for children.

On the Main Stage, the season opens with an adaptation of Michael Rosen’s classic poem – Chocolate Cake. This new musical version adapted by Glanville and Barb Jungr runs from 23 March to 13 May.

This is followed by a revival of a ‘Polka Classic’ – Jacqueline Wilson’s Double Act which premièred at Polka in 2003 and returns next year following a UK tour. Adapted and directed by Vicky Ireland MBE this gripping story opens on 15 June and runs until 5 August.

For younger children, the Adventure Theatre will house an extraordinary puppetry adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s book The Everywhere Bear, and This is My Bed, a unique collaboration with English Touring Opera.

In addition, Techtopia, a festival of digital delights will open on 24 May until 3 June, exploring how technology shapes our lives and our thinking.

This season also marks the launch of the Polka Memories campaign – a new initiative for patrons to share their past memories of the theatre over the last 40 years.

Peter Glanville said today, “Polka’s new season proudly celebrates some of the greatest living writers for children as well as Techotpia a stunning new digital Festival and a unique new collaboration with English Touring Opera.”

Priority booking for Polka supporters opens on Wednesday 15 November at 12 noon, with public booking opening Friday 24 November, 12 noon.

MAIN STAGE

A Polka Theatre production

Michael Rosen’s CHOCOLATE CAKE

Adapted by Peter Glanville and Barb Jungr

Music and songs by Barb Jungr

23 March – 13 May

Press performance: Saturday 7 April, 3.00pm

Ages 4+

When I was a boy, I had a favourite treat. It was when my mum made… Chocolate Cake!

Follow the adventures of two brothers and the night-time disappearance of a chocolate cake in this scrumptious new musical adaptation by the creators of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and How to Hide a Lion from Michael Rosen’s beloved poem Chocolate Cake, which has just been published as a picture book.

ADVENTURE THEATRE

English Touring Opera in association with Polka Theatre

THIS IS MY BED

13 – 24 June

Ages 2-5

An opera about bedtimes, bears and dreams. And a bed with a mind of its own!  There’s one thing about your bed. It’s your very own bed. Except somebody else seems to think it’s their bed too. And then the bed itself has its own ideas, and can turn itself into a bus or a train or a rocket. And when a bear turns up one night it whisks you off to meet the very things you’re frightened of. Thank goodness there are some unexpected friends to help you along your way.

Performed by three singers and two players, and full of fabulous songs, characters and animation, This Is My Bed is the latest of ETO’s award-winning operas for children. It was written with the help of students from Perseid Special School in Merton.

MAIN STAGE

A Polka Theatre production

Jacqueline Wilson’s

DOUBLE ACT

Adapted and directed by Vicky Ireland

15 June – 5 August

Press performance: Saturday 23 June, 2.30pm

Ages 8+

Meet Ruby and Garnet. They’re twins, identical and inseparable – and do absolutely EVERYTHING together. But their lives are about to change. Recently, Dad’s gone a bit weird. He’s been acting strange ever since he started dating that frizzy dizzy Rose. And now he’s only gone and bought a bookshop in the country…

Vicky Ireland’s funny and gripping stage adaptation, based on Jacqueline Wilson’s multi award-winning book, was an instant hit when it premièred at Polka in 2003 and loved by thousands of children during a UK tour.

ADVENTURE THEATRE

A Polka Theatre, Little Angel Theatre and Royal & Derngate, Northampton production

THE EVERYWHERE BEAR

By Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

Adapted and directed by Peter Glanville

6 July – 26 August

Press performance: Saturday 14 July, 2.35pm

Ages 3-6

The Everywhere Bear has a home on a shelf but he doesn’t spend very much time by himself, for each boy and girl in the class is a friend and he goes home with one of them every weekend.

A tender tale from the creators of The Paper DollsThe Everywhere Bear has a wonderful time with the children in Class One, but one day he gets more than he bargained for when he falls unnoticed from a backpack and embarks on his own big adventure! He’s washed down a drain and whooshed out to sea, rescued by a fishing boat, loaded onto a lorry, carried off by a seagull… How will he ever make it back to Class One?

This captivating and beautiful new story from best-selling author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Rebecca Cobb springs to life with rhyme, original music and delightfully expressive puppets in Polka’s fun and exciting stage adaptation.

Based on the book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

© Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb, 2017, Macmillan Children’s Books

TECHTOPIA FESTIVAL

24 May – 3 June

Celebrate, explore and question how technological innovation shapes all our lives and thinking through a thrilling and exhilarating programme of theatre from the UK and beyond, interactive workshops, debates and unique creative learning experiences.  Throughout the Festival, Polka’s foyer will be abuzz with free activities and interactive art installations including storytelling in an enchanted forest, digital wallpaper, a climate fortune-teller and the University of Nottingham’s latest research. 

Techtopia Festival will include iPetError 404Random Selfies and Dreaming the Future. The full programme will be announced shortly.

ADVENTURE THEATRE

Presented by BonteHond

iPet

24 & 25 May

Ages 2.5+

A three-dimensional show with cuddly devices.

Two magicians happily start their act, creating balloon animals and doing magic tricks by pulling bananas out of iPads, just the way it’s supposed to be. But the iPad reveals itself as a cheeky prankster who disrupts the entire show. Eventually, no one knows who controls who anymore.

ADVENTURE THEATRE

ARC Stockton present a Polka Theatre Production

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Written and performed by Daniel Bye

 

30, 31 May & 1 June

Ages 8-11

There’s a boy. Maybe he’s just like you – except that his best friend is a robot.

Join him on a weird and wonderful interactive  adventure through the deepest questions  about what it means  to be human.

MAIN THEATRE

OVALHOUSE presents   

RANDOM SELFIES

A new play by Olivier Award-winning writer Mike Kenny

Designed by illustrator Rachana Jadhav

30 & 31 May

Ages 7-12

As part of a three-year exploration into the impact of child loneliness, Random Selfies will be performed on a digitally animated set, which will bring to life ten-year-old Loretta’s vivid imagination.

MAIN THEATRE

A Polka Youth Theatre production

DREAMING THE FUTURE

by Andy Alty 

2 & 3 June

Ages 5+

Close your eyes and think about the future. What do you see? Artificial intelligence, light-speed computers, wearable technology, cities in the sky? Where do we want to go next? What will the world look like? This play, written with and performed by young people in Merton, will answer some of these questions. Join us in dreaming the future. The only limits are our imaginations…

Visiting productions:

In addition to their own grown production and co-productions, Polka Theatre plays host to the best shows for early years from the UK and across Europe. Shows this season include The Little Mochi ManSourpuss and Videk’s Skirt; as well as Much Ado About Puffin and Jack and The Beanstalk.

POLKA MEMORIES

This season also marks the launch of our ‘Remember when?’ Polka Memories campaign. As Polka approaches its 40th birthday, in 2019, the theatre is introducing a new initiative for visitors past and present to share their memories of the theatre over the last 40 years. Some of the memories collated may also be featured in a special anniversary play or in a ‘living history’ display. Everyone will also have the chance to vote for their favourite Polka production of all time.

Children’s novelist and poet, Michael Rosen has offered the first memory to launch the campaign ‘ “My oldest children were very young when we came to see shows like Please Mrs Butler. I remember we felt moved and uplifted. Much later, Polka did versions of my Pinocchio, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Happy Harry’s Cafe. All were exciting, thoughtful, productions taking children seriously, engaging them in feelings and ideas.”

Share your memories from Friday 24 November, please visit:

polkatheatre.com/rememberwhen

 

Vicky Featherstone Announces Industry Code of Behaviour to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Abuses of Power

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director Royal Court Theatre;

 “Thanks to the bravery, openness and desire to see change happen from the people in our industry who have either experienced abuse or are desperate to see it end, we have been able to compose this document. We at the Royal Court are adopting this today. It is an offering, it is a beginning. We have to start somewhere.”

 PREVENTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ABUSES OF POWER

An offering, a provocation, a hope for

 CULTURE CHANGE

 A CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

The following code was created in response to the events at the Royal Court Theatre Day of Action on Saturday 28th October 2017.

Responsibility

Reporting

Raising Awareness

Breadth and Scope

Patterns and Scenarios

Responsibility

–       You must take responsibility for the power you have. Do not use it abusively over others more vulnerable than you. Think about what you want, why you want it, what you are doing to get it, and what impact it will have. If this is achieved, the problem is solved.

–       Call it out, straight away, even if it is awkward to do so. Don’t feel shame. Use this language: “That is not appropriate – it makes me feel uncomfortable.” Empower yourself and others. Stand up for yourself.

–       No one is alone. Everyone has responsibility to stand up for each other, to call behaviour out and to report it. Do not be a bystander.

–       Every organisation signs up to leading an active sexual harassment policy. Make it a living policy. It should be based around workshops and scenarios to clarify the so-called grey areas. (See the Royal Court Theatre policy, see attached)

–       Once harassment and abuse is proven, it must not be hidden. Boards and organisations cannot conceal it as a reason for dismissal. Challenge confidentiality – why is it needed and who is it protecting.

 

Reporting

–       Freelancers must be empowered to use the same reporting structures as staff. Also use ITC, UKT, SOLT, Equity, BECTU, Stage Directors UK, Federation of Drama Schools, Arts Council England, and other industry bodies.

–       Have an open, clear reporting structure. There should be three possible structures to report to across an organisation. As well as line mangers and senior management, use peers and trusted colleagues – everyone in the organisation is responsible.

–       Talk to colleagues in other theatres or companies to support your process if you need to.

–       Logging behaviour is important, even if no further action is wished for. This way patterns are picked up.

–       We understand these reporting structures are not available to everyone and we will work with the industry to create clear places to report and get advice going forwards.

–       The industry must develop a model for dealing with historic cases.

–       (See the Royal Court Theatre policy, attached, for a reporting model).

Raising Awareness

 –       Induct all staff, freelancers, casting directors, actors, stage managers, crew on their first day of work into the policy and code of behaviour. They should sign that this has happened.

–       Run annual workshops with staff led by trained facilitators. Use scenarios and language.

–       Consult with freelancers. (The Royal Court Theatre will be holding a freelancer session in January 2018). Encourage them to use theatre buildings for their one-to-one meetings.

–       Recognise the blurred boundaries between work and social spaces. Don’t exploit them.

–       Interrogate the stories and representations we put on stage. We are in the business of representing the world. Take responsibility. Make it equal.

–       Engage in a robust conversation between drama schools and industry – to tool up students – acting, stage management, technical, directing, writing, producing – to be confident, empowered and appropriate. (Since Saturday the Royal Court Theatre is in positive dialogue with Mountview and the Federation of Drama Schools in advance of their next consortium meeting).

Breadth and Scope

–       Theatre is an art form – the work can and should be challenging, experimental, exploratory and bold. Artistic freedom of expression is essential but the creative space must be a safe space.

–       The theatre industry is broad: it involves an intimate, rigorously personal system of drama training, it involves office work, auditions, rehearsals, crewing, late night working, bars, parties and public-facing frontline work, ambitious young people.

–       The industry includes commercial producers and theatres, not-for-profit publicly funded, touring and fringe companies, presenting venues, festivals – all have different contexts and resources.

–       A policy needs to speak to this scope of practice, and recognise particular areas of risk.

–       Drama students, freelancers, early career artists, actors at all stages of their career, ushers and bar staff, and core junior staff are all vulnerable to abuses of power.

–       Recognise that abuses of power can happen across diverse gender and working relationships.

–       Take responsibility and empower across the scope. Write a policy that fits.

Patterns and Scenarios

–       Of our 150 stories, 126 related directly to experiences in our industry.

–       21.3% were incidents which happened in rehearsals or backstage.

–       16% were sustained inappropriate sexual comments over a period of time during a production or in a workplace.

–       14% happened at drama schools between tutors and students.

–       13.3% happened at work parties – press nights, birthdays, end of the run, Christmas, in the pub or at dinner, with alcohol. In the Town Hall meetings this blurred social context came up many times.

–       10% happened in interviews or auditions for jobs.

–       9.3% happened when invited or taken into an abuser’s home.

–       7.3% happened in an office context.

–       (The remaining 8.6% were “other” – witnessed, online, conference)

–       That 51.3% of the stories submitted took place in rehearsals, backstage, in drama schools, or involved sustained verbal abuse suggests significant change needs to happen in institutional culture.

–       There were 11 accounts of rape.

Some suggested codes of behaviour to avoid these patterns and protect the areas of risk (this is only a beginning):

–       It is never appropriate for someone in a junior role to be asked by someone in a senior role to work outside hours in their private home.

–       It is never appropriate to verbally sexually objectify anyone’s body in a rehearsal room or theatre.

–       It is never appropriate for an actor to be made to feel vulnerable through nudity, undress or costuming.

–       It is never appropriate to send overly personal or suggestive communications to a junior colleague.

–       It is never appropriate to initiate unwanted intimate physical contact.

–       It is never appropriate to push people to share their personal experiences to deepen the work. If it is offered, it has to remain within the trust of the working room.

Call the Midwife and Shrek the Musical’s Laura Main to switch on Edinburgh’s Christmas lights

  • Star of BBC’s Call the Midwife and Shrek the Musical Laura Main is announced to switch on Edinburgh’s Christmas lights during the city’s Light Night celebrations on 19 November
  • With an array of local talent on display and hosted by Forth One DJ Arlene Stuart, Light Night kicks off Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations which run across the city until 6 January 2018
  • Light Night is a free, unticketed event taking place on George Street between 3pm and 5pm on Sunday, 19 November

Sunday 19 November is Light Night in Scotland’s capital! Hosted by Forth One DJ Arlene Stuart, who’ll be joined on stage by Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, and showcasing a variety of amateur choirs and dance groups on two stages in front of an expected audience of 20,000, Light Night is a celebration of community spirit and the traditional start to Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations – one of the biggest and most popular Christmas celebrations in UK.

This year’s Light Night will see Aberdeen-born actress Laura Main, star of BBC’s Call the Midwife, switching on the lights across the city! Laura will also be performing on the Light Night stage alongside her Shrek co-star, to celebrate the opening of the tour of her show Shrek the Musicalat the Edinburgh Playhouse on 12 December.

Laura Main saidWhat an honour it is to be turning on Edinburgh’s iconic Christmas Lights. I am thrilled to be spending the festive season back in Scotland along with another resident, Shrek! We’ll be giving you a sneak peak of our show Shrek the Musical, ahead of its run at the Edinburgh Playhouse in December, where I’ll be donning the green dress as Princess Fiona. Light Night is a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season and I can’t wait to see you all there.”

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors, Edinburgh’s Christmas, said: “Light Night heralds the start of Christmas in Edinburgh, it’s a wonderful family event that always gets everyone, including us, into the Christmas spirit with local music and dance groups, fireworks and, of course, the city centre Christmas lights being switched on.  We’re delighted Laura will be pushing the button this year, as well as entertaining the crowds with songs from Shrek the Musical.”

The Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “On stage and on screen, and even on the Strictly dance floor, Laura Main is one of Scotland’s most admired actresses. I am delighted she will return to Edinburgh where she has performed during the Fringe to help us start our winter celebrations. Light Night is the perfect way to bring everyone in the city together to get into the community spirit of Christmas and this year’s switch on will show charity support for the incredible NSPCC. Please give generously if you can.”

Light Night will also see performances from Little Voices Big Stars, Edinburgh Rock Choir, Edinburgh Ballet and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus.

The Christmas Tree on the Mound, a gift to the City of Edinburgh Council from Hordaland County Council in Norway, will be lit as part of the Light Night switch-on.

Light Night is partnering with the NSPCC this year, so please look out for NSPCC collectors on the streets at Light Night and donate kindly! National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a leading children’s charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Paul Cockram, Head of Fundraising, NSPCC Scotland said: “We are delighted to be partnered with Edinburgh’s world famous Christmas celebrations as we try to make sure more children and young people have a safe and happy Christmas this year”.

Light Night is an excellent trip for all the family to enjoy! To make it a day out, visit Edinburgh’s Christmas brand new offering, Ice Adventurealso located on George Street: an arctic installation and immersive walk-through experience filled with spectacular ice and snow sculptures, including those of Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and Dolly the Sheep!

Stroll down to St Andrew Square and get your skates on to glide all the way round the Melville Monument on a circular ice rink!

To browse Edinburgh’s Christmas programme in full, head to www.edinburghschristmas.com.

Light Night is free and unticketed, just head along to George Street to enjoy the performances, atmosphere, lights and fireworks

Cheek By Jowl announce further dates for PéRiclèS, Prince De Tyr including their London Run at The Barbican

Artistic Directors of Cheek by JowlDeclan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod today announce UK tour dates for their production of Shakespeare’s Périclès, Prince de Tyr. Performed in French, with English surtitles, the production will open at the Barbican, where the company is an Associate, on 9 April, with previews from the 6 April, running until 21 April. Following the London dates, the productions runs at Oxford Playhouse from 24 – 28 April.

Also announced today is a major new revival of Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle which will be performed by an all-Russian company. The production tours internationally in 2019 – including a first time run for the play in Russia.

PÉRICLÈS, PRINCE DE TYR

By William Shakespeare

Cast: Christophe GrégoireCamille CayolXavier BoiffierCécile LetermeValentine CatzéflisGuillaume PottierMartin Nikonoff

Director: Declan Donnellan; Designer: Nick Ormerod

Périclès, Prince de Tyr is one of Shakespeare’s strangest and most heart rending plays. Pericles, shipwrecked on the Mediterranean navigates a stormy sea of pirates, magicians, brothels, kidnappers, tournaments, plots against his life… and divine intervention from the Goddess Diana. Incest, treachery, murder, love, joy all explode in this giant theatrical firework … the embers dim and glow in one of the greatest and most moving scenes Shakespeare ever wrote, Pericles recognition of his long lost daughter Marina.

Declan Donnellan directs Périclès, Prince de Tyr and The Knight of the Burning Pestle. He is joint founder of Cheek by Jowl with Nick Ormerod. As joint Artistic Director of the company, he has directed over 30 productions, including most recently The Winter’s TaleMeasure for Measure and Ubu Roi. In 2007 Peter Brook invited him to form a French company of actors. He has received awards in Moscow, Paris, New York and London, including three Laurence Olivier Awards. He has been awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France and the Golden Lion of Venice. Donnellan and Ormerod both received OBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017.

Produced by Cheek by Jowl in a co-production the Barbican, London; Les Gémeaux/Sceaux/Scène Nationale; Théâtre du Nord, CDN Lille-Tourcoing-Hauts de France

With support from Jeune Theatre National-France

With thanks to the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater

The production is performed in French with UK subtitles

LISTINGS:

Les Gémeaux , Sceaux, Paris, France                        7 – 25 March

Maison des arts de Créteil, Créteil, France             28 – 30 March

Barbican                                                                               6 – 21 April

Press night: 9 April

Members booking opens 2 November. Public booking opens 10 November

To be the first to hear when the Barbican’s new season is on sale, sign up to the newsletter here: [Embed: https://tickets.barbican.org.uk/eticketing/register.asp?news=news]

Oxford Playhouse                                                            24 – 28 April

Théâtre de l’Archipel, Perpingnan, France             3 – 4 May

Théâtre du Nord, Lille, France                                     15 – 19 May

Centro Dramático National, Madrid, Spain            30 May – 3 June

THE KNIGHTS OF THE BURNING PESTLE

By Francis Beaumont

Director: Declan Donnellan; Designer: Nick Ormerod

Cast includes: Alexander FeklistovAnya KhalilulinaAndrei Kuzichev and Igor Teplov

The play starts … But then the plays stops!

A grocer and his wife in the audience invade the stage.

Just another boring trendy play … Probably anti-grocer too….

What do they want? A return to good old entertainment values with dragons, kidnapped princesses and exotic locations – Excitement and glamour…

And so the pair remain on stage to ‘help’ the actors improve their storyline.

Beuamont’s hilarious satire roars into life again, ever more timely as the 21st century continues to unfold..

Produced by Cheek by Jowl and the Pushkin Theatre, Moscow

Cheek by Jowl was formed in 1981 by Joint Artistic Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. An international company, they stage work in three languages – Russian, French and English.

The company has performed in over 300 cities in over 40 countries, spanning six continents and has received numerous international awards.  They are Artistic Associates of the Barbican, London.

www.cheekbyjowl.com

facebook.com/cheekbyjowl

Twitter: @CbyJ

National Theatre’s MACBETH to tour to primary schools in Doncaster, London Sunderland and Wakefield

Macbeth

Macbeth

Following a successful tour to schools and performances in the Dorfman theatre earlier this year, in which nearly 5000 students saw Macbeth,the production now begins a tour this week to a further 31 schools and colleges across Doncaster, London, Sunderland and Wakefield.

Macbeth is adapted and directed for teenage audiences by Justin Audibert and the production is a bold contemporary retelling of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays. Amid bloody rebellion and the deafening drums of war, Macbeth and his wife will stop at nothing to fulfil their ambition. Witchcraft, murder, treason and treachery are all at play in this murky world. The cast includes Nana Amoo-GottfriedShazia NichollsGabby WongStephanie Levi JohnAdrian RichardsTamara CamachoJohndeep More and Kenton Thomas.

Speaking about the production director, Justin Audibert said ‘Macbeth is a tale of ambition, dark magic, violence and love; the perfect combination for an audience of young adults. We have made our version as exciting and visceral as possible, a truly sensory experience.’

The tour will begin by visiting 15 schools in London, followed by a further 16 schools across Doncaster, Sunderland and Wakefield, as part of the NT’s strategic touring programme.

Speaking about the schools tours the National Theatre’s Director of Learning, Alice King-Farlow said ‘At the NT we believe that all young people should have the opportunity to take part in theatre and drama while at school and so I am delighted that we’re touring Justin’s contemporary 90 minute adaptation of Macbeth to schools across London and in the North of England this year as part of our new national partnership programme.’

The Mohn Westlake Foundation supports nationwide Learning programmes for young peopleShakespeare for younger audiences is supported by The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, Behrens Foundation, and Jill and David Leuw. The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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First Look: Production Photos: Venus In Fur Starring Natalie Dormer And David Oakes

New Park Theatre 2018 season revealed

Jez Bond
Jez Bond

Jez Bond

Artistic Director Jez Bond to direct dystopian political thriller Building The Wall, a Park Theatre production and UK Premiere from Pulitzer Prize winning writer

David Haig stars in London premiere of his play Pressure, based on a true wartime story

A new stage adaptation of E. M. Forster’s seminal novel, A Passage To India

UK premiere of Rothschild & Sons, a musical inspired by the famous Banking dynasty

Artistic Director Jez Bond today announced Park Theatre’s new Jan – Jun 2018 season. Featuring five world, European, UK and London premiere productions, Park Theatre continues to build its reputation as a home for new writing and celebrated transfers.

Artistic Director Jez Bond says: “I’m thrilled to be announcing our season for the first half of 2018. In PARK200 we are working with some of the best theatres and producers from across the UK and beyond, from Chichester Festival Theatre to Broadway, bringing world class productions to our stages; as well as producing our next show from America, the politically timely Building The Wall. As ever we’re full to the brim with a majority of new writing premieres in both PARK200 and PARK90. PARK90 celebrates our passion for women on stage and off: with women’s stories and journeys at the heart, and a prevalence of women writers, producers and directors.”

The UK premiere of the musical Rothschild & Sons opens the new season in PARK200, with Broadway songwriters Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock (Fiddler On The Roof) charting the Rothschild family’s rise from poverty to a global banking dynasty with new, never-before-heard songs. A Passage to India follows, as part of an international adaptation of E. M. Forster’s seminal novel set in Imperial India, re-imagined for a contemporary Britain by simple8. Written by and starring David Haig, Pressure is the incredible true story of two allied meteorologists tasked with predicting the perfect weather conditions for General Eisenhower’s D-Day landings in 1944. For the European premiere of Building The Wallfrom Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, Jez Bond directs this political thriller that has already taken America by storm, exploring how the inconceivable can become the inevitable. The world premiere of Monogamy closes the PARK200 season, a new comedy by Torben Betts about living a private life in the public eye.

There or Here commences the new PARK90 season, in the UK premiere production of a new American comedy about outsourcing motherhood, from the producer of Yellow Face (Park Theatre/National Theatre transfer). The London premiere of A Princess Undone is a play inspired by actual events around sensational and potentially damaging royal letters acquired by Princess Margaret. A revival of Philip Ridley’s modern classic exploring hate crime follows, as Robert Chevara directs Vincent River. Inspired by a real court case in the USA, a Chicago teenager is arrested for terrorist collusions when she converts from Christianity to Islam, and is tried by a practicing Muslim, in the UK premiere ofFaceless. Next is a revival of Schism from the lauded playwright and activist Athena Stevens, which charts the unlikely love that forms when Harrison’s suicide plans are dashed by the arrival of a young student with cerebral palsy. Closing the new season in PARK90, Beirut explores a fleeting encounter between two lovers, now divided by a quarantine enforced to protect a future society from a terrifying Sexually Transmitted Disease.

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Christmas in Leicester Square – programme announced ft. Fascinating Aida, Al Murray, Showstoppers

Underbelly and Westminster City Council have  announced their enchanting programme of festive entertainment for this year’s Christmas in Leicester Square.

  • One of Central London’s top Christmas attractions, in an iconic setting
  • CABARET AT CHRISTMAS from Fascinating Aida, Black Cat Cabaret, House of Burlesque Al Murray, Horne Section, Christina Bianco & More
  • KIDS AT CHRISTMAS shows from The Showstoppers, Fitzrovia Radio Hour, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine & Monski Mouse
  • European-style Christmas Market, food, bars & Santa’s Grotto
  • 10 November 2017 – 6 January 2018

The spectacular programme of live yuletide entertainment, taking place in a beautiful Belgian Spiegeltent in the very heart of Central London, is made up of two strands:

Firstly, for the grown-ups there’s Cabaret at Christmas, featuring festive delights from a host of the finest entertainers in the biz, including legendary cabaret supergroup Fascinating Aida, darkly atmospheric Parisian circus Black Cat Cabaretand tantalising masters of their craft House of Burlesque.

Others serving up their best Christmassy fare to this feast of entertainment will be funnyman Al Murray putting his own inimitable spin on the traditional variety night with The Pub Landlord’s Festive Saloon.

Also on the programme: all of history’s finest divas in one extraordinary vocal box belonging to Christina Bianco, comedy-variety institution The Horne Section, jazz duo extraordinaire Ian Shaw and Claire Martin’s Early Christmas Cracker, and one-man Rat Pack and big band sensation Gary Williams in A Swingin’ Christmas.

They’ll be joined by West End star Emma Hatton (whose starring roles have included Elphaba in Wicked and Eva Perón in Evita), as she joins forces once more with jazz maestro Anthony Strong in Baby its Cold Outside.

The second strand offers something for the whole family; Kids at Christmas features The Showstoppers Christmas Kids Show – an entirely improvised musical for all ages from the legendary theatrical trailblazers.

If that isn’t enough, revellers with also be treated to a unique take on Charles Dickens’ timeless A Christmas Carol – returning to London after an acclaimed run at the Vaults last year – reimagined by the masters of vintage theatrical comedyThe Fitzrovia Radio Hour as a 1940s-style radio drama.

Also on the line-up is Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine, in which Professor Tom Solomon uses the celebrated author’s tales to unlock the secrets of the human body, and Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dance Hall – a first ever Christmas dance party for kids 0-5 (and parents of all ages) featuring an array of festive songs, dances and games.

Another hit with the kids, returning after huge success last year, is Santa’s Grotto – open every day until Christmas Eve. This special North Pole experience will see Father Christmas himself (the real one!) regale kids with a special festive tale before hearing their Christmas wishes, having a photo with them, and giving them a special early Christmas present.

Winter Windows will also return – a unique exhibition in partnership with local schools which will see pupils design stained glass windows with the best being exhibited around the north and west perimeter of the Leicester Square site for thousands of passers-by to enjoy.

In addition to this amazing seasonal entertainment, London’s iconic Leicester Square will be transformed into a wintery haven with a beautiful European-style Christmas Market with over 25 different stalls featuring a range of fascinating Christmas curios, sumptuous food and delicious drinks, all presented in partnership with Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

So, come one, come all, have a mulled wine and a pretzel, visit Santa, take in a show, and immerse yourself in a complete Christmas experience!