New Diorama Theatre announces 2019/20 season

New Diorama Theatre
  • World premieres of Breach Theatre’s alt-festive Joan of Leeds, Holy What’s Antigone written by Lulu Raczka, Lost Watch’s Shorts & Socks Included & The PappyShow’s Wait til the End
  • London premieres of New Diorama’s The Incident Room, Barrel Organ’s Conspiracy, Poltergeist’s Art Heistand Burnt Lemon’s Tokyo Rose plus last chance to see Deafinitely’s bilingual 4:48 Psychosis
  • Continuing with Radical Programming Model – Expanded to Guarantee A Free Theatre Ticket for Every Primary School Child in West Euston
  • New Diorama to curate ‘Brits Off Broadway’ alongside 59e59

 New Diorama Theatre, described by Lyn Gardner as “theatre’s most significant enabler of new talent”, today announced its new season with a diverse and multi-talented range of companies forming a hugely ambitious 2019-20 programme.

On stage the season kicks off with a trilogy of London premieres for the three recipients of New Diorama and Underbelly’s prestigious Untapped Award.

The first to land in London is Barrel Organ’s Conspiracy…or is it? The acclaimed company are renowned for lacing their intelligent and dynamic take on complex social issues with a trademark brand of postmodern chaos and this new show sees them train their distinctive eye on the anatomy of conspiracies, the people who create them and the manner in which they proliferate. (10 Sep – 5 Oct).

Then Burnt Lemon Theatre make their New Diorama main season debut with Tokyo Rose – an electrifying explosion of feminist gig theatre telling the story of Iva Toguri D’Aquino – the woman convicted and then pardoned of treason having been accused of being the infamous Japanese World War II propagandist who gives the show its name. (8-12 Oct)

Rounding off the trilogy is Poltergeist’s freewheeling Ealing-comedy-for-the-stage Art Heist. In which their form-hopping blend of techniques- from experimentation with sound, movement and music, to monologue, to interactive gameplay – converges on a museum where three thieves decide to steal the same painting on the same night. (15-26 Oct)

Following this Deafinitely’s ground-breaking bilingual (BSL and English) production of Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis directed by Definitely Artistic Director Paula Garfield returns to New Diorama after a sold-out run last season. (29 Oct – 6 Nov)

Rounding off the year Breach Theatre follow up their tour de force It’s True It’s True It’s True with a different kind of historical play: alt-festive Christmas show Joan of Leeds – an obscene medieval mystery play with live music, based on the farcical true story of a nun on the run. (3-21 Dec)

Breach have also been announced as a new New Diorama Associate Ensemble alongside Kandinsky and The PappyShow, alongside continuing associates Lost Watch and Rhum and Clay.

2020 launches with the first ever production by new company Holy What – which reunites the creative team behind 2018’s acclaimed A Girl In School Uniform (Walks Into A Bar): playwright Lulu Raczka and director Ali Pidsley. They present a brand-new Antigone which hands the reins of Sophocles’ classic text to the young people at the heart of the play, creating something messy, irreverent and full of life. (7 Jan – 1 Feb)

In February there’s a London premiere of New Diorama’s in-house production The Incident Room, a thrilling new play about the real-life police investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper murders and how it both gave birth to modern policing and changed British society forever. (11 Feb – 14 March)

Lost Watch then return to New Diorama with Shorts and Socks Included which takes us into the world of football post 1966, and Don Revie’s all-conquering Leeds United FC who are in search of a new kit. With trademark wit, humanity and curveball imagination Lost Watch tell the true story of how a Lindsey, a young art school graduate, helped trigger the dawn of football’s transformation from mere sport to commercial juggernaut. (31 March – 2 May)

Rounding off the season is new associate ensemble The PappyShow whose totally unique mix of play-inspired physicality, vibrant and poignant direct address and irrepressible, fun-filled energy created hit shows BOYS and GIRLS. They now turn their attention to death in brand new show Wait til the End. (19 May – 6 June), directed by Kane Husbands, written by Aaron Gordon.

New Diorama’s Radical Programming Model was the winner of The Stage Innovation Award in 2019 and this year sees it continue, after their 2018/19 Season played to record audiences and an over-all capacity of over 90%.

New Diorama continues to strengthen links with their local community and, as part of the season, are guaranteeing a free ticket for every Primary school child in West Euston to see an ensemble-led show, specifically for young audiences. Production to be announced.

Finally, following a hit run of their last in-house production Secret Life of Humans at New York’s 59E59 (Artistic Director, Val Day; Managing Director, Brian Beirne) in the summer of 2018, New Diorama is delighted to be co-curating the theatre’s Brits Off Broadway season in 2020. The acclaimed festival is designed to give the UK’s most innovative and provocative a home in New York and runs form April – June each year. New Diorama will be programming alongside 59E59’s Artistic Director, Val Day, and is aiming to showcase a mix of New Diorama shows alongside new productions, new to NDT.

Artistic and Executive Director, David Byrne, says: “Last season we wanted to turn the way Off-West End theatres support companies completely on its head. The result was our best ever season of work, selling at over 90% capacity, with record audiences for our supported companies.

We’re delighted to be continuing this model for a second season. And, with £3 preview tickets to all show for those unemployed – the cheapest tickets in London, a low standard price across the season, and with all INCOMING Festival tickets still just £5 – it’s a great deal for curious audiences as well as artists.

Continuing New Diorama’s influence across the sector, we’re continuing our partnership with Underbelly, showcasing work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we’re anticipating that INCOMING Festival will be visiting a record number of cities, and the chance to showcase work Off-Broadway will boost our artists internationally. Also, it’s a chance to work with 59E59’s Artistic Director, Val Day, one of my favourite fellow Artistic Directors.”

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

Mark Ravenhill
Mark Ravenhill

Mark Ravenhill

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

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

A view from Islington north

A view from Islington north


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

What’s your favourite emoji?
The winky one

Shopping and Fucking

Shopping and Fucking

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

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

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