Austentatious to make West End Debut, Underbelly to Produce

Grid Iron Theatre Company, in co-production with Traverse Theatre Company, present Jury Play

Jury Play
Jury Play

Jury Play


  • Grid Iron Theatre Company, in co-production with Traverse Theatre Company, present Jury Play – an immersive new production investigating the role of the jury in the Scottish legal system
  • Traverse 1 to be transformed into a scale replica of an active Courtroom
  • Members of the audience to be selected to appear onstage as members of the titular jury

Directed by Ben Harrison, and co-written with academic Dr Jenny Scott, Jury Play will turn Traverse 1 into a ‘Court of Law’ to investigate the passive role of the jury in current court proceedings.

As they make their way to the ‘court room’, audience members will be given the chance to opt in to the jury. Once settled in the ‘public gallery’, fifteen jurors will be selected and will make their way to the jury box. And so we begin…

The production presents extracts of a fictionalised 52-day murder trial – the judge’s direction, the cross-examination of witnesses, the presentation of evidence – all suffocated in detail and legal jargon. The jury is additionally surrounded by the ‘extra-legal’ information they are improbably instructed to forget: tabloid headlines; the mugshot; the imagined murder scene; lurid descriptions of the accused.

Some jury members doze off, fiddle with their split ends, day dream, worry about the jobs they are missing, and disclose their inner monologues.

As the trial concludes, the jury are discharged to begin their deliberations – but one brave member admits that she has not understood everything that has happened and doesn’t feel equipped to make a decision. Surprised to receive the support of the Judge, what follows is a reimagining of how a criminal trial might play out if the jury were to be afforded greater opportunity to ask questions and participate.

Jury Play will propose the use of better dialogue and more transparent decision making in a process that fundamentally affects people’s futures.

Ben Harrison, Director and Co-writer, says:

‘Inspired by the pioneering work of Dr Jenny Scott as she seeks to reveal all the forces acting on the jury, I am particularly interested in the way that the physical surroundings of the court could affect the conduct of the trial. In addition, the length of the trial, the lack of natural light, and being pulled away from work or domestic situations. Grid Iron and the Traverse have had a long and happy working relationship and this collaboration deepens it further with our shared ambition to create new texts and play with theatrical form – staging it at the Traverse, with its flexible seating, allows us huge opportunities to be playful with the architecture that the rigidity of an actual court room would not permit. I hope audiences will think anew about our jury system and whether it is fit for purpose.’

Jenny Scott, Co-writer, says:

Working with Grid Iron and the fantastic artistic vision of Ben Harrison has meant that I have had the chance to expand the boundaries of jury research like never before. Jury Play represents world leading research and it has been a journey of inquiry in which we challenge the presumption of juror participation in criminal trials. I hope that Jury Play will allow the general public to take their turn in calling to question an institution which has remained unchanged since the 1800s.

Orla O’Loughlin, Traverse Artistic Director, says:

‘The Traverse is proud to stand with the best of Scottish, UK and global artists, and we are delighted to be collaborating with Grid Iron, one of the country’s most innovative companies, on Jury Play. We are relishing the opportunity to work with them ask some timely and crucial questions about an important aspect of our society, and to explore how looking at our judicial system afresh could create tangible change for us all.’


Traverse Theatre, 3-7 October7:30pm (matinee 7 October, 2:30pm)

Box Office: 0131 228 1404 /

Note: Jury selection will take place at the start of each performance. Audience members will have the option to opt in as they enter.

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In Memory of Leaves, Natasha Langridge: “Add to the wave; we are at a point where it is sink or swim.”

100 days on and the scorched tower remains exposed and bare. The tragedy at Grenfell Tower, in which at least 80 people died, highlights the long neglect of social housing. It’s part of a bigger problem. A problem that playwright, performer & activist Natasha Langridge is keen to shine a light on.

I had a chat with the lady herself on the phone recently.


“Grenfell is 10 minutes from where I lived – a lot of people are being treated absolutely appallingly,” she says. “The richest borough in London in one of the richest countries in the world and to be in a situation like this; thousands of empty properties. It’s unforgivable.”

Her new show ‘Memory of Leaves’ is being performed on a wide beam barge at three different London docks. Written in the wake of her home on the Wornington Green Estate in Kensington being demolished, Langridge’s monologue explores what happens to communities when they are moved from their homes. It follows her getting arrested with Occupy Democracy and volunteering in the refugee camp in Calais. The monologue is described by Langridge as ‘a love letter to neighbours and a revolutionary call to the world.’

Memory of Leaves is an impassioned monologue about love and protest,” she explains, “I originally did this show on the road I live on in an amphitheatre. I wanted to reach out to people who can relate to the fact that bulldozers that have become the London skyline. I wanted to reach boaters; that’s a whole community. I wanted to do it on North Kensington on the canal there and for people going through regeneration or people who are seeing or hearing it first-hand.”


Natasha Langridg

Natasha is co-author of Rage and Reason: Women Playwrights on Playwriting, a powerful book exploring the craft of play-writing and the pressures of working within a male dominated environment. Does she think we have made progress when it comes to gender representation?  “It’s a lot more balanced in terms of women playwrights and there are certainly a lot more BAME playwrights. However, theatre could and should do more; in terms of who’s running the buildings and who is directing work for our nations stages,” says Langridge.

Does she think that mainstream press is doing enough to tackle serious topics within our contracting society, I ask. “The press are not using their responsibility wisely and they are not going to use it,” she explains. “They have a different agenda and that agenda is the status quo. Everybody is hungry for change. What’s different about this piece is I am talking about issues that have affected me directly. It’s a very personal piece.”

The failure by the Tories to tackle the severe housing shortage is part of an ideology to target the vulnerable. We can all make a difference, she thinks. “Ask yourself: what can you contribute? What are you contributing? Are you contributing something positive? Make a difference within your local community,” she pauses, “One of the reasons that we have allowed ourselves to be so fucked over is that we have a government who allow homeless people to sleep on the streets, ensures workers are not earning enough to live on and a political party that is dismantling our public services,” she says.

Making your own work is an excellent way to get noticed and bring your ideas to life. What is her advice for aspiring artists who have something to say in 2017? “Do what you believe in and do what is in your heart. That is what theatre needs and not necessarily clever stuff but stuff that is actually felt. It’s a difficult thing writing,” she says.

The point, for her, is that we aren’t taking the time to look out for one another. “One of the reasons is that we have lost touch with each other. We’ve been encouraged to only do well for ourselves. We’ve forgotten each other and what makes us happy and we need to make a change.”

Langridge maintains that we have to wake up. “Fight for what you believe in. Ask yourself what can you contribute? Are you contributing something positive? Add to the wave – we are at a point where it is sink or swim,” she says defiantly.

What a woman.

In Memory of Leaves Buy tickets HERE >>

Meanwhile Gardens

The Fordham Gallery Barge moored at Meanwhile Gardens Grand Union Canal*

Nearest tube: Westbourne Park

Wednesday October 4th – Saturday 7th 7.30p

Camden Lock

The Fordham Gallery Barge moored at Camden Lock (Visitors Mooring) Regents Canal*

Nearest tube: Camden Town

Wednesday 11th October – Saturday 14th 7.30pm

Hackney Wick

The Fordham Gallery Barge moored at Hackney Wick White Post Lane River Lee*

Nearest overground: Hackney Wick

Wednesday 18thOctober – Saturday 21st October 7.30pm




FIRST LOOK : Dick Whittington at the London Palladium

 Marianne Elliott directs Rosalie Craig and Patti LuPone in Stephen Sondheim & George Furth’s ‘Company’

Patti Lupone,CREDIT:Axel Dupeux for The Wall Street Journal

As Elliott & Harper Productions is about to begin performances of its first West End show, Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg: The Uncertainty PrincipleMarianne Elliott announced today (Friday 22 September 2017) that she will be directing a new production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Tony award-winning musical, Company.  For the first time ever, the lead role of Bobby will be re-imagined as a woman.  Company will run at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue from 26 September 2018 for a strictly limited season, with public booking opening today.

It was also announced today that Rosalie Craig will play Bobbi and Tony and Olivier award-winning Patti LuPone will play Joanne.

At Bobbi’s 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why she isn’t married; why she can’t find the right man and why she hasn’t settled down to have a family.  The multi-award winning musical comedy about life, love and marriage includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs, The Ladies who LunchBeing Alive and Side by Side.

Marianne Elliott said:  ‘I feel so lucky to be directing this wonderful musical.  I’ve loved it for years.  I really want to make this production contemporary, to explore what it feels like to be a 35 year old sexually confident woman managing friendships and searching for love.  Stephen Sondheim and I have talked a great deal about how this new interpretation might best be executed and I can’t wait to share it with audiences.  I also get to work with the beautiful and talented Rosalie Craig, as well as a hero of mine, Patti LuPone.’

 Patti LuPone added:  ‘I saw War Horse in New York and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in London.   I came out of both productions blown away by Ms Elliott’s vision. So naturally I am thrilled beyond words that she wants me to be a part of Company. I’m a lucky girl. Marianne, Steve, London. I thought I’d sworn off musicals, but working with Marianne was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.’

Rosalie Craig’s extensive theatre credits include:  Marianne Elliott’s production of The Light Princess, for which she won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress in a Musical and was nominated for an Olivier Award, Rosalind in As You Like It, The Threepenny Opera and London Road – all for the National Theatre.  Other theatre includes: City of Angels for the Donmar, Lady Macduff in Macbeth for Manchester International Festival, directed by Kenneth Branagh, Sylvia in the musical Finding Neverland and the title role in Miss Julie at Chichester Festival Theatre.  Her film and TV credits include: London Road, Spooks, and Casanova.

Patti LuPone returns to London to make her first appearance in a West End musical for over 25 years Patti is currently starring on Broadway in War Paint.  Her  previous London theatre credits include originating the role of Fantine in Les Misérables for the RSC and Cameron Mackintosh, an Olivier-award winning role in The Cradle will Rock and creating the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.  Her numerous Broadway credits  include: originating the role of Eva Peron in Evita, Gypsy, Women on the Verge of a Nervous BreakdownSweeney ToddAnything GoesNoises OffThe Old Neighborhood and Master Class.  Her many screen credits include:  Cliffs of FreedomThe Comedian, Union SquareParkerCity by the SeaHeistState and MainJust LookingSummer of SamThe 24 Hour WomanFamily PrayersDriving Miss Daisy and Witness.  Her television work includes:  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Penny DreadfulGirls, American Horror Story: Coven, Glee30 RockThe Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Grammy Award), Ugly BettyWill & Grace (as herself), Frasier (1998 Emmy nomination) and Law & Order.  LuPone, who is a graduate of the first class of the Drama Division of New York’s Juilliard School and a founding member of John Houseman’s The Acting Company, is the author of the The New York Times bestseller Patti LuPone: A Memoir.

Marianne Elliott, is Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she recently founded with producer Chris Harper.  Elliott is the first woman in Broadway history to win two Tony Awards for Best Director. Marianne’s ground- breaking production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time received 7 Olivier Awards in London, including Best New Play and Best Director and 5 Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Director for its run on Broadway.  Her production of Saint Joan earned her the Olivier Award for Best Revival and Pillars of the Community earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.  War Horse, which she co-directed, and has been seen by over 7 million people world-wide, has just begun its second UK tour.  Marianne’s recent highly acclaimed production of Angels in America at the National Theatre will transfer to Broadway in March 2018.

Elliott & Harper Productions will co-produce a new production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with Catherine Schreiber and West Yorkshire Playhouse at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in November 2017 and will co-produce the 2018 Broadway transfer of Angels in America.

Joining Marianne Elliott on the creative team for Company are:  designer Bunny Christie and musical director Joel Fram.  Further casting will be announced.

The producers for Company at the Gielgud Theatre are: Elliott & Harper Productions,Catherine Schreiber, Grove Entertainment, Jujamcyn Theaters, LD Entertainment, David Mirvish, Aged in Wood Productions/Ricardo Hornos, Bob Boyett/Tom Miller, Bruno Wang Productions/Salman Al-Rashid, Across the Pond Theatricals/ Trio Theatricals and Ramin Sabi/Christopher Ketner.

United Kingdom and Europe: Nations on the world stage watch again

‘Oslo’ celebrates International Day of Peace



The critically acclaimed production of OSLO, currently playing to sold-out houses at the National Theatre, transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre from 2 October until 30 December.   A series of special events has been announced to celebrate International Day of Peace on 21 September.

21 September

The United Nations has declared 21 September International Day of Peace, a day devoted tostrengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. To mark this important day as it observed around the world, the fly-tower of National Theatre will be lit with the word ‘PEACE’.

11 October

Gala performance in partnership with Children of Peace and The International Peace Institute to celebrate the opening of ‘Oslo’ in the West End.

Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, international conflict resolution organisation founded by its President Richard Martin in 2004. It aims to build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children regardless of culture, community, faith or gender, aged 4-17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects in the region so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.  The organisation’s Coalition of Peace is now, the single largest peace network across the Middle East with over 260 affiliates in Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey and the West Bank.

The International Peace Institute (IPI) of which Terje Rød-Larsen is President, is an independent, international not-for-profit think tank dedicated to managing risk and building resilience to promote peace, security, and sustainable development. To achieve its purpose, IPI employs a mix of policy research, strategic analysis, publishing, and convening. With staff from more than twenty countries and a broad range of academic fields, IPI has offices facing United Nations headquarters in New York and offices in Vienna and Manama.


17 October

A pre-performance discussion ‘Can We Bring Peace Between Enemies’ held in conjunction with Intelligence Squared with speakers including Jonathan Freedland (Chair) Guardian columnist, broadcaster and author, William Sieghart Founder and Chairman of Forward Thinking, an NGO which works with the leadership of all parties on both sides of the divide in the Israel/Palestine conflict and Jamie Rubin Assistant Secretary of State and Chief Spokesman for the US State Department under Madeleine Albright from 1997-2000, during a major Clinton administration push for an Israel-Palestine peace deal.  Tickets £15. 5.30pm

Intelligence Squared is the world’s premier forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online taking audiences to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators.

Intelligence Squared Live events have captured the imagination of public audiences for more than a decade, welcoming the biggest names in politics, journalism and the arts. A celebrated list of speakers includes President Jimmy Carter, Stephen Fry, Patti Smith, Richard Dawkins, Sean Penn, Marina Abramovic, Werner Herzog, Terry Gilliam, Anne Marie Slaughter, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Mary Beard, Yuval Noah Harari, Jonathan Franzen, Salman Rushdie, Eric Schmidt, Richard Branson, Professor Brian Cox, Nate Silver, Umberto Eco, Martin Amis and Grayson Perry.

Casting announced for James Graham’s new play Quiz

James Graham

James Graham

Quiz, a new play by James Graham, will premiere at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre, directed by Daniel Evans and running from 3 November – 9 December, with a press night on 10 November.

The ensemble cast is Nadia Albina, Paul Bazely, Keir Charles, Greg Haiste, Mark Meadows, Henry Pettigrew, Gavin Spokes (Charles Ingram), Stephanie Street (Diana Ingram), Jay Villiers, Lizzie Winkler and Sarah Woodward.

Is Quiz:

  1. A) The world premiere of a new play by acclaimed writer James Graham?
  2. B) A provocative re-examination of the conviction of Charles Ingram, ‘the coughing Major’, for cheating, following his appearance on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
  3. C) A hilarious celebration of the great tradition of the British quiz show?
  4. D) A razor-sharp analysis of the 21st century’s dangerous new attitude to truth and lies?

Answer: You decide.

James Graham’s This House transferred to the West End following sell-out runs during Chichester’s Festival 2016 and at the National Theatre. His work for theatre, film and television in the UK and US includes Labour of Love for Headlong/West End, Ink for the Almeida Theatre & West End, The Vote and Privacy for the Donmar Warehouse, Finding Neverland on Broadway, Coalition for Channel 4 and the screenplay X+Y.

Gavin Spokes

Gavin Spokes © Nick James

Gavin Spokes’ many theatre credits include Against (Almeida), Carousel (ENO), Guys and Dolls (Savoy Theatre), Nineteen Eighty Four (Headlong/West End) and Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors (NT/West End/UK tour).

Stephanie Street’s theatre work includes Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Nightwatchman (Whatsonstage Awards nomination for Best Solo Performance) for the National Theatre, and many appearances for the Royal Court, Out of Joint and The Bush Theatre.

Daniel Evans is Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, where he directed Forty Years On and Fiddler On The Roof earlier in Festival 2017. His productions also include  David Mamet’s American Buffalo in the West End, and Lucy Prebble’s The Effect and David Hare’s Racing Demon at Sheffield Theatres.

Quiz will be designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Tim Lutkin, music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham, video by Tim Reid and movement by Naomi Said.

Quiz is sponsored by De’Longhi.


 Pre-Show Talk with James Graham & Daniel Evans

Free but booking essential.                            Wednesday 8 November, 6pm

Theatre Day                                                   Wednesday 15 November, 11am

Join the creative teams and technical crew for 90 minutes of insight, demonstration and discussion on the making of the production. A Theatre Day ticket can be combined with the matinee performance for an immersive day at the Theatre. Tickets £5 (+ optional performance ticket).

Theatre Quiz                         Friday 24 November, post-show, Minerva Bar & Grill

Think you know your Ayckbourn from your Bennett? Full of useful trivia about the history of the Olivier Awards? Then get a team together and take on our Theatre Quiz, hosted by Daniel Evans and Rachel Tackley. Free.

Post-Show Talk                                Monday 27 November

Stay after the performance to ask questions, meet company members and discover more. Free.


Box Office 01243 781312


Tickets from £20. Prologue tickets for 16 – 25 year olds for £5.

Press night: Friday 10 November



First Look: The Little Mermaid Production Shots


King’s Head West End Theatre Season