First Look: Penny Skinner’s Meek

Fuel presents Sound&Fury’s Charlie Ward across Yorkshire

Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward

An intimate, immersive sound installation for an audience of 10 per performance, using Sound&Fury’s distinctive style – total darkness, minimal lighting and immersive sound design – to conjure up the extraordinary experience of being a WW1 patient on Charlie Ward.

“Total theatre that doesn’t just happen all around you, but that swallows you up completely … you feel as if you are experiencing the whole thing through your skin.” The Guardian

Through a six week Yorkshire tour of Charlie Ward, Sound&Fury will engage museum, film and theatre audiences in a cross-art form installation that connects WW1 to contemporary consciousness. The tour will travel to Theatre Deli, Sheffield, The York Army Museum as part of the City’s Centenary Commemorations, and Leeds Town Hall as part of Leeds International Film Festival and Tonight We Fly, a Leeds-based festival by Fuel.

“Beautiful and haunting. There’s something incredibly moving and powerful about such small intimate events.” The Guardian

“A hauntingly beautiful installation’”Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

Sound&Fury is a collaborative theatre company directed by Mark Espiner, Tom Espiner and Dan Jones. Their artistic interest is in developing the physical and sonic elements of theatre offering audiences new ways of experiencing performance and stories in an immersive environment and by heightening the aural sense. To achieve these aims, they have, in the past, boldly immersed audiences in total darkness. This unique theatrical device combined with sophisticated surround sound design, voice and subtle lighting effects, creates a powerful new language for theatre that has gained the attention of audience and critics.

Previous work includes The Watery Part of the World, in which the audience were plunged into total darkness to witness the thrill of a 19th century whale hunt; Ether Frolics, which took the audience on a theatrical anesthetic trip; and the critically acclaimed Kursk, in which they placed the audience in the secret world of a Royal Navy submarine. In each piece fractured images, glimpses of scenes, visual and sonic tricks and a 360 degree soundscape have created worlds which have redefined the performance space in ways which audiences find thrilling, transporting and disorienting.

Sound&Fury are available for interview. Contact [email protected] for availabilities, images and review tickets.

Charlie Ward is produced by Fuel. Founded in 2004 and led by Kate McGrath, Fuel produces an adventurous, playful and significant programme of work – live, digital, and across art forms – for a large and representative audience across the UK and beyond. We collaborate with outstanding artists with fresh perspectives and approaches who seek to explore our place in the world, expose our fears, understand our hopes for the future, create experiences which change us and in turn empower us to make change in the world around us.

Charlie Ward has received financial support from Arts Council England, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Freshgate Trust and the Wellcome Trust.


Listings info:

Fuel presents Charlie Ward by Sound&Fury
An intimate, immersive sound installation for an audience of 10 per performance, using Sound&Fury’s distinctive style – total darkness, minimal lighting and immersive sound design – to conjure up the extraordinary experience of being a WW1 patient on Charlie Ward.

Monday 11th – Sunday 22nd September
Theatre Deli, Sheffield www.theatredeli.co.uk

25th September- 6th October
York Army Museum www.yorkarmymuseum.co.uk

15th-19th October
Perth Theatre www.horsecross.co.uk/venues/perth-theatre

30th October- 11th November
Leeds Town Hall www.leedstownhall.co.uk


London Theatre is a flickering tealight of hope: Allelujah! Bat out of Hell, Fun Home & King Lear

There is a special furnace in theatre hell reserved for rubbish state-of-the-nation plays, so I’ll keep it brief. You thought Young Marx was dull? Try staying awake through Alan Bennett’s new play, where the substance is so lacking that it prompted me to leave at the interval. Since the NHS is never out of the headlines and affects nearly all of us, we have long been crying out for a new play on the subject.

Unfortunately, Nick Hytner’s Allelujah! is not it. Generously described by Michael Billington as a “hospital drama”, rather than virtue signalling mediocrity. Not Bennett or Hytner’s finest hour, if we are honest.


Allelujah Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Old people singing and dancing sweetly– check.

Two original ‘History Boys’ – check.

A sub-plot involving immigration and Brexit – check.

I attempted to discover, once and for all whether Bat out of Hell was good. I can now announce my findings: no, it is nowhere near as dreadful as The Band.

This is exactly what, I think, consumers of Jukebox musicals – shows created out of the existing back catalogue of popular hits – want to see.

From musical to album to musical again, the mind-blowing scale of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell; robot bats, motorbikes and a Cadillac is quite something to behold. I loved the nonsense of it all. The main source of fascination, though, is how cunningly constructed and gloriously sung it is.



This Jukebox musical is so meticulously crafted, with entertainment in mind, that it becomes disorientating to watch.  

Sometimes you see a show and you can’t quite pin it down. I loved Fun Home at the Young Vic, the Tony-Award winning musical is based on Alison Bechdel’s 2006 striking graphic novel memoir about growing up gay. I know what you’re thinking, another Broadway musical making a long-awaited debut in London. But, if anything, the accolades attached to this show understate the level of theatre sorcery going on here: kids tap-dancing on a coffin, a lesbian protagonist and a closeted gay father. Absolutely ideal.

An intelligent book and an inventive score combine with  often unbearable-to watch emotional performances that are so neatly done. Part of a fine ensemble, Jenna Russell is a cut above the rest. I haven’t seen as concise and uplifting a musical all year. Bit special.



Just when you thought you’d had enough Shakespeare, along comes Ian McKellen’s victory lap as King Lear at Duke of York’s Theatre. Jonathan Munby’s monumental production began life at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2017. McKellen is, of course, sublime at least in terms of unassuming lucidness: you will not see such another dignified Lear this year. A brilliant Sinead Cusack add further class to an evening that combines with something more mystic and mythical.



79 year-old superstar McKellen shines solidly for 3 hours 40 minutes, in what may be his last major Shakespearean role on stage. We’ll miss him when he’s gone.

Unmissable. Truly.

Allelujah! is at Bridge theatre, London, until 29 September

Bat out of Hell is at Dominion Theatre, London until January 2019 (link https://batoutofhellmusical.com/)

Fun Home is at the Young Vic, London, until 1 September.

King Lear is at Duke of York’s until 3 November and will be broadcast live on 27 September via National Theatre Live.

Talawa Theatre Company to bring rave to theatre with Run It Back

Run It Back devisers come together for the first time. Photo by Sanaa Abstrakt
Run It Back devisers come together for the first time. Photo by Sanaa Abstrakt

Run It Back devisers come together for the first time. Photo by Sanaa Abstrakt

Run It Back is a powerful, exciting, immersive new show from Talawa Theatre Company. Directed by movement director Coral Messam. Run It Back brings rave to theatre, exploring how Black British music liberates, connects and divides while fighting to stay alive in the face of disappearing spaces and changing legislation. Run It Back features dance, physical theatre and a live DJ set from award-winning DJ Conrad Kira to ignite the action.

This production is the latest in a string of sell-out shows from TYPT, Talawa Theatre Company’s annual collaboration with emerging Black theatre makers, produced by Gail Babb.

Coral Messam says: “Human connection through music is one of the most powerful and euphoric forces we know, it’s incredibly empowering. Run It Back is our challenge to the negative stereotypes attached to modern Black British sounds and culture. Add some treble plus a big dose of bass, top it off with a DJ and MC and let the young people speak, vent and wild out! We’re taking our places and bringing them back to life and we’re going to take theatre by storm.”

Conrad Kira says: Run It Back is close to my heart, it’s about our music and our culture and how important it is to celebrate it, but also the things that can threaten it like gentrification, police and general prejudice. Run It Back’s not your regular theatre experience, it’s going to be loud and immersive like you’ve just walked into a house party. I love working with Talawa. They’re the best and I feel at home here. What they do for emerging artists of colour is unrivalled.”

Gail Babb says: “Artist development is at the heart of what we do at Talawa and TYPT is a big part of that. It is a collaborative process where every member of the TYPT company is invited to add their voice and artistry. To contribute fully with no apologies or expectations to moderate themselves.  TYPT productions are the result of this full expression and they hit hard. Run It Back is going to be like the best party ever, everything that theatre can be.”

The full cast and creative team includes:

Wunmi Ibironke – Performer/Deviser

Ayomide Adegun – Performer/Deviser

Johnson Adebayo – Performer/Deviser

Jordan Duvigneau – Performer/Deviser

Simeon Blake-Hall – Performer/Deviser

Tife Kusoro – Performer/Deviser

Victoria Buky Esan – Performer/Deviser

Ewaoluwa Esther Dina – Performer/Deviser

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers – Performer/Deviser

Esmonde Edgar Cole – Performer/Deviser

Ashlee Elizabeth Lolo Roberts – Writer/Deviser

Dzifa Gazo – Writer/Deviser

Amada Piedra – Assistant Designer

Sasha Bond – Assistant Stage Manager

Jimi Ogun – Assistant Stage Manager

As a Movement Director, Coral Messam has worked with Rufus Norris, Michael Buffong, Kwame Kwei-Amah and Dominic Cooke on productions including: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Amen Corner (National Theatre), assistant on Death and the King’s Horseman (National Theatre) and God’s Property (Talawa Theatre Company, Soho Theatre and The Albany). As a performer, she has worked with DV8 Physical Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre and Game of Thrones. She has also danced with Kylie Minogue on her global tour.


Conrad Kira is an award winning musical artist from South London. His sound is the city, hard hitting industrial over a lush soundscape. Conrad is an experienced DJ/performer, having performed with many festivals and international gigs. He has also composed soundtracks for short films Bloke Fears and The Works (BBC), worked with Talawa Theatre Company and Cardboard Citizens and worked on the album ZER0FXXX with artist Up In The Ear.

Recent Clore Fellow, Gail Babb is a theatre practitioner, producer and lecturer. She has run Talawa Theatre Company’s Participation department for over 10 years, bringing work with emerging theatre-makers to the centre of the company.  An experienced deviser, she has worked with professional artists, young people and mental health service-users to create shows for a range of settings including theatres, a tour to South Africa’s National Arts Festival and site-specific pieces in museums and a derelict school.


Box office: 020 3095 9747


Run It Back

Venue: Hackney Showroom, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT

Dates: Wednesday 29th – Friday 31st Aug 2018
Press night: Wednesday 29th Aug, 7.30pm
Running time: 75 minutes
Performances: Matinee (Friday 31st Aug) 3pm, Evenings 7.30pm

Prices: £8.50/£5 (concessions)
Booking: www.talawa.com

TRILLS release sneak peek of new single ahead of world premiere Edinburgh show



Award-wining female four-piece, TRILLS, have today released a sneak peek of their latest single ‘Green Ghost’, set for digital release on 10th August. The single forms part of the soundtrack to their brand-new play-come-gig Songlines by band member Tallulah Brown, a song-laced coming of age tale set in Reydon, Suffolk, featuring live folk music with the band on stage throughout. Songlines will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 1 August before travelling to Aldeburgh, Suffolk-born Brown’s home town, and then to Walthamstow for the show’s London premiere. The production, directed by George Chilcott, is presented by HighTide and DugOut Theatre.

Stevie and Stan are 17. Stevie is peak cool. Stan is peak geek. Interwoven with beautiful live folk songs, Songlines is a coming-of-age love story in all its awkward teen glory.  

TRILLS, billed as “Britain’s excellent answer to Haim” by The Times, were recently granted winners of the PRS Women in Music Fund. Their hauntingly epic sound has featured in various film and TV trailers including Suffragette, Pete’s Dragon and The Missing. The band have performed at Glastonbury Festival and Latitude.

The two-hander will star Fanta Barrie and Joe Hurst. Fanta has just graduated from Rose Bruford. Joe’s recent screen work includes Wanderlust (Netflix), Intrigo: Samria (20th Century Fox), Ready Player One (Warner Bros) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (Walt Disney Pictures).

Tallullah is part of the BBC TV Drama Programme with Sister Pictures (The Split, Flowers) and recent theatre includes: Sea Fret, After the Heat We Battle for the Heart andStaring at You. Songlines is Tallulah’s first commissioned full length play. George Chilcott is Artistic Director and Founder of DugOut Theatre, and formerly an Associate Director at HighTide.

Songlines is the centrepiece production of a new scheme by HighTide. For the first time, HighTide is presenting a season of five world premiere productions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before transferring them to its Aldeburgh and Walthamstow Festivals, as part of a brand-new mentoring scheme for new playwrights and producers. The launch of the programme marks the company’s continued commitment to creating a bridge that supports new theatre makers starting out on the fringe, building on the festival’s proven ability in providing a platform for launching careers in the UK’s leading theatres.

HighTide’s other associate productions, all to be presented at Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and Walthamstow, are: SparksJessica Butcher’s two-hander musical about the brain’s response to grief with original music by Anoushka LucasDanusia Samal’s gig-theatre piece Busking It, drawing on a decade of busking on the tube; The Extinction Event from David Aula and Simon Evans –  an examination of what happens when science starts thinking for itself; and finally, Harry Blake’s fierce, fabulous new comedy musical about Norse gods Thor and Loki.



HighTide and DugOut Theatre present
Songlines by Tallulah Brown
Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath
Wed 1 – Sun 26 August 15:15 (1h)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Michelle Barnette Productions and Flipping the Bird in association with HighTide present
Sparks by Jessica Butcher with original music by Anoushka Lucas
Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath
Wed 1 – Sun 26 August 11:30 (1h)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Coin Drop in association with HighTide and Shoreditch Town Hall present
Busking It by Danusia Samal
Pleasance Courtyard, Upstairs
Wed 15 – Mon 27 August 12:45 (1h)
Press performance: Thursday 16 August

SEDA and Glynis Henderson Productions in association with HighTide present
The Extinction Event by David Aula and Simon Evans
Pleasance Courtyard, Above
Wed 1 – Mon 27 August 15:40 (1h)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Vicky Graham Productions in association with HighTide and Something For The Weekend present
Thor and Loki by Harry Blake
Assembly Roxy
Wed 1 – Sun 26 August 19:15 (1h15min)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/
Telephone: 0131 226 0000
Prices from £6


27th Aug – Queens Hornchurh Foyer Stage
29th Aug – The Seagull Lowestoft
2nd Sept – Hub Leeds
5th Sept – Theatre Deli Sheffield
7th Sept – Square Chapel Halifax
8th Sept – York Theatre Royal

Tues 11-Sun 16 September

Tues 18- Sun 30 September (including a TRILLS gig on 23 September)

Slung Low theatre company to launch new cultural community college in Leeds in September

Slung Low
Slung Low

Slung Low

This September the acclaimed theatre company Slung Low will unveil a new Cultural Community College in the city of Leeds offering a diverse programme of Pay What You Decide cultural classes to participants from the city and further afield.

The college, which will start its first term on Wednesday 12 September, will be supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England.

Located at The Holbeck Underground Ballroom (The HUB) in South Leeds, the Cultural Community College will offer an array of cultural activities; from stargazing to South Indian cooking, from short film making to carpentry and much more.  

The courses will be led by artists from the region, of the highest standard, who will share their skills, experience and passions with the students. Free at the point of use, all the courses, sessions and classes will be Pay What You Decide.

For the first instalment of classes from September, the curriculum will be programmed by Slung Low in consultation with the college’s Community Advisory Board and other local stakeholders and then after the first year the course content will be chosen by the participants themselves who will automatically become a member of the Cultural Community College.

An advisory board made up of educators from across the education spectrum including universities, theatre education departments and the private sector will support the team at the college.

The idea for the new college has been drawn upon the proud history of civic cultural education in Britain; inspired by the past cultural classes and lecture series in northern working men’s club, Quilliam’s Liverpool mosque and women’s institutes throughout the nation.

Slung Low’s Artistic Director Alan Lane said:

There have been various calls from the theatre scene for arts education to be better respected by the government and they are all absolutely correct.

We do need an education system fit for the 21st century that champions the country’s creativity as a foundation of its collective mental health, as a foundation of its collective sense of worth, as a foundation of its ability to take a moral leadership role in the world, to imagine better futures for our children, for other people’s children, and for ourselves.

You are what you do. And so, in our little part of the world in Holbeck, we are going to make a varied, high quality creative education available to everyone who wants it regardless of financial status. Because that’s what we want to be- people who think that is important- so that’s what we’ll do. Hold the space to create the opportunity of a cultural education beyond the market place.

Exploring education for enjoyment’s sake, distinct from the demands of employment and operating beyond the access restrictions of the market the Cultural Community College is the creation of a place designed to disturb the barriers to engagement in both adult education and culture.

Finally, with the introduction of the Cultural Community College we feel it is our continued core mission to attempt to be as useful as possible with public money in as many imaginative ways as we can.”

Slung Low are a company that make adventures for audiences outside of conventional theatre spaces. The company’s aim is to make unlikely, ambitious and original adventures for audiences, each with powerful, moving story at its heart. Shows that re-examine how audiences go and see a piece of theatre. The company are based in their home The Holbeck Underground Ballroom (The HUB), five railway arches in South Leeds which they make available to other artists. Recently the company produced the award-winning Flood by James Phillips as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

The Cultural Community College is a major part of the company’s long- term ambition to create Leeds People’s Theatre: a major new citizen theatre producer of epic, outdoor political theatre for the city combining Slung Low’s trademark staging style with a permanent programme of participation and citizen training.

To celebrate the launch of the new Cultural Community College, Slung Low will be hosting a Ceilidh Dance on Saturday 8 September.

For further information on the Cultural Community College and the launch event please visit https://www.slunglow.org/cultural-community-college/

d’Animate presents Love Lab at Tristan Bates Theatre, Camden Fringe from 13-18 August

Love Lab
Love Lab

Love Lab

Founded in 2012, d’Animate has been bringing its unique style of devised physical theatre and detailed storytelling to stages around the UK. The Company is a collaboration of many artists, all passionate about making good accessible theatre.          

With Love Lab, d’Animate plan to challenge the way we fall in love as a modern society.

In a society of screen dwellers, can we connect to more than just the wifi? Meet Livia and Perry, two people simply looking for the one. ‘Love Lab’, a new dating show claims to have the answer…but how will they fair under the microscope of an international audience? Are these singletons really willing to expose themselves?

Directed by Sean Aydon, nominated for Stage Debut Awards Best Director 2017

Cast includes Harriet Barrow (Royal Exchange Manchester, Royal Court Liverpool, Nuffield), Michael Rivers (Shakespeare’s Globe, Shameless Channel 4, BBC, Sky One).

Assembly Theatre presents Really Want to Hurt Me at Edfringe from 2-27 August 2018

Really Want To Hurt Me
Really Want To Hurt Me

Really Want To Hurt Me

A funny, bittersweet and painfully honest new one-person play about growing up as a gay teenager in rural Britain in the 1980s, featuring a soundtrack of that decade’s greatest music by Culture Club, Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, The Smiths, Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins and more.

Devon, 1984. Under constant pressure to be straight and act “masculine”, a 14-year-old lad feels his life is more like George Orwell’s “1984”. School bullies… Teenage heartache… Suicidal self-hatred… An accidental first orgasm… Trying to tape the weekly Top 40 from the radio without the DJ talking over the songs… Dancing defiantly to your Walkman…

With seven ****London reviews, this acclaimed play is a celebration of surviving all that life throws at you and escaping into the joys of pop music like your life depends on it. Because in a way it actually does. It may be set a long time ago, but are things really that different now? “Do you really want to hurt me?”

Written and directed by Ben SantaMaria. Performed by Ryan Price. Suitable for ages 14+.

Sold-out London previews at the Old Red Lion and at Theatre503. Pick of the Festival at the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. Developed with support from Arts Council England and Soho Theatre Young Company.

Stonewall’s 2017 School Report study found that almost half of all LGBT pupils face bullying, half regularly hear homophobic insults and many suffer low self-worth, self-harm and attempt suicide. With a growing public awareness of mental health issues for increasing numbers of young men, Really Want To Hurt Me has strong relevance in 2018.

Ben SantaMaria’s earlier play lulla reached the Top 100 list from 1060 entries for Soho Theatre’s 2017

Verity Bargate Award. He took part in the National Theatre Studio Directors’ Course, assistant directed at Shakespeare’s Globe and co-directed After Orlando for Chaskis Theatre Company at Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Vaults, Waterloo. His other plays have been staged at Theatre503, Southwark Playhouse and ARC Stockton.

Flaming Theatre’s previous work includes Jarman Garden about filmmaker/artist Derek Jarman at Riverside Studios. A finalist for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) called it “a beautifully choreographed tour through Derek’s life and world”. The Times said it was “a rollercoaster ride of sensations…a sublime interdisciplinary sensual assault”. One of Mark Shenton’s 5 Best Shows in London.

London reviews for Really Want To Hurt Me

“Wow, this is powerful stuff. A cracking script and a superb actor. Hilarious. Wonderful.”

***** LondonTheatre1.com

“Enchanting. Funny and uneasy in equal measure. Beautiful. Not to be missed.” **** Reviews Hub

“It certainly has something special. Natural charisma and vulnerability. Wonderful moments of exploding angst.” *****  Stage Talk

“Funny, touching and beautifully showcases the talents of the charming Ryan Price.”

West End & Broadway director Sean Mathias

Web: flamingtheatre.co.uk    assemblyfestival.com  Twitter: @FlamingTheatre  Facebook: FlamingTheatre


Venue:  Assembly Hall, Baillie Room, Mound Place, EH1 2LU

Time: 15.00   Running Time: 60 mins

Dates: 2–27 August. Previews 2-3 August. No show Mon 13 & Mon 20 August.

Tickets: Previews £7; 6-7, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26 August £11 (£10); 4-5, 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, 27 August £10 (£9)

Bookings: assemblyfestival.com, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square, Assembly Checkpoint and Assembly Rooms

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust and Royal & Derngate Northampton announce Nancy Medina as the winner and Josh Seymour as the runner-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 

Nancy Medina - winner- and Josh Seymour - runner up
Nancy Medina - winner- and Josh Seymour - runner up

Nancy Medina – winner- and Josh Seymour – runner up

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust and Royal & Derngate Northampton announced Nancy Medina as the winner and Josh Seymour as the runner-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2018.

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) and Royal & Derngate Northampton have announced Nancy Medina as the winner of the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award and Josh Seymour as the runner-up. Now in its third year, and its second bearing the name of the RTST co-founder, Sir Peter Hall, the award is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process.

As the winner of the 2018 award, Nancy Medina will now get the opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully funded production to open in 2019 on the Royal Stage, as part of Made In Northampton, in a co-production between Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre (ETT), and then tour to theatres across the UK. The RTST will make a grant of £50,000 to Royal & Derngate to be applied towards the costs of the production.

Nancy Medina and Josh Seymour were selected from 70 longlisted candidates by a panel comprising of: chair James Dacre (Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate), and judges Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE (Artistic Director of the Young Vic); multi-Tony and Olivier Award-winning director Sir Trevor Nunn CBE; Olivier Award-nominees Tanya Moodie and Samantha Bond; four-time Olivier Award-winner Paule Constable (Associate, National Theatre); and Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre).

The Award Scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objects in two main ways: it supports emerging talent in the theatre and it supports British regional theatres. The Award Scheme is intended to appeal to a diverse range of candidates and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage and offstage, and among audiences.

Chairman of the RTST, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said: “The 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award had 8 finalists of the very highest quality, selected from a strong field of 70 candidates.  Directing workshops – held over two full days, in which the finalists had to direct actors, observed by our immensely experienced panel of judges, and then be interviewed by the panel – constituted a thorough and exacting test of their directing skills. The winner’s prize is the unique opportunity to direct a production that will premiere on the stage of the Royal in Northampton and go on a main-stage national tour with English Touring Theatre. The RTST’s collaboration with Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre is admirably fulfilling the RTST’s twin primary charitable objectives of encouraging emerging theatre professionals and promoting British regional theatre”.

Deputy Chairman, Mark Hawes, said: “As a result of our RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, we are happy and proud both to have created a gateway for Nancy’s entry into the mid-scale regional theatre scene and to be providing meaningful financial and promotional support to the hotspot of regional theatre-producing excellence that is Royal & Derngate.

Royal & Derngate Artistic Director, James Dacre, and English Touring Theatre Artistic Director, Richard Twyman, said: “It has been inspiring to watch how Nancy and Josh showcased their industrious and sophisticated approach to conceiving and rehearsing a production and their magnetic ability to bring those around them in a rehearsal room closer to the material, throughout this competitive process. The panel were deeply impressed by both candidates’ innate understanding of narrative and the demands of producing on the mid-scale. We’d like to thank all the shortlisted candidates who took so much pleasure and pride in their work during a demanding weekend of workshops and interviews and we are thrilled to have met so many exceptional artists. We look forward to collaborating with Nancy to enable her work to be seen on the mid-scale and on tour for the first time.”

Winner, Nancy Medina said: “I feel privileged and ecstatic to have been named the RTST’s Sir Peter Hall Director Award Winner for 2018.  To get to the next step in my career, through the generous help of RTST, Royal & Derngate, and English Touring Theatre, is truly a dream come true. I cannot thank the RTST panel enough for making the process feel supportive and nurturing.”

The RTST ran the inaugural RTST Director Award Scheme in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres, with the winner Kate Hewitt directing the British regional premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine. The 2016 runner up was Rebecca Frecknall. The RTST ran the re-named 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme with Nuffield Southampton Theatres resulting in the winner Chelsea Walker directing a bold contemporary version of Tennessee Williams’, A Streetcar Named Desire, in a co-production between NST, Theatre Clwyd and English Touring Theatre, which opened at NST City in Southampton in March 2018 and went on tour to seven other theatres. The 2017 runner up wasTinuke Craig.

Count down is on to spectacular opening of the Edinburgh International Festival, Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams

Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams
Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams

Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams

The final tickets for Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams will be released on Monday 30 July at 10am to bookers in person and online.

Preparations have begun in Edinburgh’s Festival Square for the massive free event set to open the International Festival to 15,000 people and streamed to a global audience.

The work by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions is an intriguing and moving 25 minute work inspired by five aspects of communication during World War One, commemorating the young lives lost 100 years ago, and is the first Opening Event to include live performance. 

Scotland’s Young People are a driving force behind this year’s Edinburgh International Festival Opening Event playing an integral role in realising the large scale multi-media work, from co-design, through to production, delivery and performance.

#FiveTelegrams @edintfest @ASInvestments

Preparations are in their final stage for this year’s opening spectacular of the Edinburgh International Festival, Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams.

With just a week to go until the Festival opens, Associate Artists 59 Productions are on site installing the infrastructure and testing to ensure the Festival’s opening event goes without a hitch. The flashmob of young performers are in rehearsal with choreographer Nathan Clarke (Rhianna, One Direction) and choir master Stephen Deazley (Love Music), and the city is readying itself for the busy month of August.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams is a free, outdoor performance created by Anna Meredith, one of the UKs most exciting contemporary composers, and 59 Productions who have wowed audiences with their large scale illuminations over the previous 3 years of opening events.

Comprising large-scale illuminations and projections on the Usher Hall and a new work for orchestra and chorus the intricate exploration of communication and moving commemoration of the young lives lost in World War One opens the International Festival on the 3 August 2018 at 10.30pm.

The International Festival releases the final allocation of tickets on Monday 30 July at 10am to ensure those arriving in Edinburgh for the world’s greatest festivals have the opportunity to join the opening event. The last 1,000 of the 15,000 tickets will be available in person at the Hub box office (The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE) and online (priority will be given to bookers in person). Bookers are limited to 2 tickets per person.

For those not in the city the event will be streamed on the Festival’s facebook page.

Working in partnership with Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, the involvement of young people in the opening event has been specifically designed to offer empowering, educational and professional development opportunities alongside access to training and skills based work experience. Young people have taken on active roles across every aspect of the event including  Camera Operators and Filming Coordinators to assist in capturing the event, and Event Assistants who will work directly alongside International Festival staff to ensure the event’s successful promotion and delivery.

The International Festival is also working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh where second year and third year students from Edinburgh College of Art’s Performance Costume course work have created designs and costumes which will feature as part of the event.

Fergus Linehan, Director of Edinburgh International Festival said “We’re pretty excited now. The preparation are really ramping up and we have an absolutely stunning opening event to share with you next Friday. Capacity is limited, so if you haven’t yet got your tickets, do book them now – we’d hate people to miss out!

This year’s event includes live performance for the first time, and combining with Anna’s intricate and moving score and the spectacular visual show that 59 Productions has created it I think it will be both an awe-inspiring and emotional start to this year’s festival.”

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams is made possible by support from a portfolio of partners across the private and public sector. This is the third opening event in a partnership between the International Festival and Aberdeen Standard Investments – the International Festival’s Opening Event Partner – which supports the event alongside other key funders including theYear of Young People 2018 Event Fund, managed by EventScotland, part of the VisitScotland Events Directorate, and the University of Edinburgh, which have supported the Festival’s Opening Event since its inception in 2015.

Both the International Festival and Aberdeen Standard Investments are delighted to be continuing this successful partnership founded on world-class ambition and delivery for a further three years.