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First Look: Prima Facie starring Jodie Comer at Harold Pinter Theatre, London

Photo credit: Helen Murray

Prima Facie is at the Harold Pinter theatre, London, until 18 June and will stream in cinemas via NT Live on July 21

RE:EMERGE season coming to the Harold Pinter Theatre, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions

RE:EMERGE

Following a year of extraordinary challenges, and as British theatre begins to find ways to re-emerge from the devastating impact of the enforced shutdown, SFP today announced a season of new plays for a new world. The RE:EMERGE season will create a space for vital, new voices and fresh talent in the West End and beyond, working alongside some of the industry’s greatest theatremakers and artists The extraordinary collection of plays curated by SFP alongside Ian Rickson – who becomes Artistic Director for the season – tackles urgent issues integral to rebuilding our society, including structural inequality, climate change and the economics of truth in an internet age. Supported by Arts Council EnglandRE:EMERGE will support the theatre-makers of the future, provide vital work for the freelance community and celebrate the live experience as we begin to build back to the full reopening of British Theatre.

The RE:EMERGE season intends to open to socially-distanced audiences from May to help
re-open and re-energise our theatres, and will be staged in a Covid safe environment following government advice and adhering to social distancing guidelines; and in line with Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre’s See It Safely campaign. Alongside the season, SFP also intends for the comedy The Comeback to return to the West End following its enforced shutdown in December.

Announced today as part SFP’s RE:EMERGE season so far is:

  • Amy Berryman’s WALDEN, directed by Ian Rickson, starring Gemma ArtertonFehinti Balogun and Lydia Wilson.
  • Yasmin Joseph’s J’OUVERT, directed by Rebekah Murrell, starring Annice BoparaiGabrielle BrooksSapphire Joy and Zuyane Russell.
  • Joseph Charlton’s ANNA X, directed by Daniel Raggett, starring Emma Corrin and Nabhaan Rizwan.

Tickets from £10, with over 600 tickets per week under £15

SFP plans to open the season in May in line with the government’s roadmap. Further information regarding performance and on-sale dates will be released in the coming weeks, and audiences can sign up today at www.sfp-reemergeseason.co.uk to be the first to hear more news. Tickets for the previews will be priced from £5, and from £10 for the runs post press night, with a top price ticket of £49.50. There will be 600 tickets each week priced under £15.

There is intention for all three productions to be filmed for a future broadcast life, with J’OUVERT being shown on BBC Four as part of BBC Lights Up – a season of plays for BBC radio and TV, produced in partnership with theatres across the UK and continuing BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative.

Sonia Friedman said today, After what has been such a devastating year for so many it fills me with the greatest joy and hope to announce RE:EMERGE, an SFP Season of bold, new work for a bold, new world as we begin to build back to the full reopening of British Theatre.

“Yasmin Joseph’s J’OUVERT, first seen at Theatre503 and currently in rehearsals to be filmed for the BBC, reveals Notting Hill Carnival through the eyes of two best friends navigating the joys and dangers of young Black womanhood in 21st Century Britain. Whilst Amy Berryman’s WALDEN depicts the intensity of familial love and loss as the climate emergency encroaches ever closer, Joseph Charlton’s ANNA X delves deep into the corruption of truth and reality through the all-consuming lies we tell the world about ourselves over social media. These extraordinary plays, each one with a distinct and powerful voice, will thrill, move and delight audiences.

“We hope that the RE:EMERGE Season will help the immense effort being made across our industry to reopen our theatres, with the most exciting, new talent working in tandem with some of our greatest theatre makers and artists. And this is just the beginning – we have so much more to come.

“We are deeply thankful for the commitment of all the extraordinary group of writers, actors, directors, designers, stage managers, technicians and theatre makers who have agreed to be a part of this season – just when theatre needs them most. I am also incredibly grateful to Ian Rickson, one of my closest and most dedicated long-time collaborators, for his vision and co-curation of this Season. And my thanks must also extend to my incredibly committed team, who have worked so passionately under very challenging circumstances to help bring this season of work together. I would also like to thank Arts Council England, whose support has made RE:EMERGE possible. After an incredibly difficult year, I cannot wait for us all to ‘re-emerge’ from our homes and return to the theatre, where together we can be entertained, enthralled, challenged and dazzled by these astonishing works.”

Twitter: @SFP_London #ReEmergeSFP

Instagram: @SFPOfficial #ReEmergeSFP

Facebook: /SoniaFriedmanProductions #ReEmergeSFP

Rehearsal image of ‘Betrayal’ featuring Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox

Betrayal cast triptych. Images by Charlie Gray

Betrayal cast triptych. Images by Charlie Gray

Betrayal cast triptych. Images by Charlie Gray

 Ashton and Cox star alongside Tom Hiddleston in Jamie Lloyd’s production of Betrayal by Harold Pinter

–   The Jamie Lloyd Company production will run for a strictly limited season from 5 March at the Harold Pinter Theatre, in the West End

Rehearsals began this week for The Jamie Lloyd Company production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal which runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 5 March 2019 for a strictly limited season ending on 1 June.  Directed by Jamie Lloyd, the production stars Golden Globe, Olivier and Evening Standard Award winner Tom HiddlestonZawe Ashtonand Charlie Cox.

 To mark the event, a new triptych of cast images by photographer Charlie Gray has been released.

 With poetic precision, rich humour and an extraordinary emotional force, Betrayal charts a compelling seven-year romance, thrillingly captured in reverse chronological order. The complexities of the human heart are explored in this, “the greatest, and the most moving, of all Pinter’s plays” (The Daily Telegraph).

Tom Hiddleston returns to the London stage as Robert following his acclaimed Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh and his Evening Standard Award-winning performance in Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014. 

 His theatre credits include: Hamlet, Coriolanus, Ivanov, Othello, Cymbeline, The Changeling. His film credits include: Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok, Kong: Skull Island, I Saw The Light, High-Rise, Crimson Peak, Thor: The Dark World, Exhibition, Only Lovers Left Alive, Avengers, War Horse, The Deep Blue Sea, Thor, Archipelago, Unrelated. His television credits include: The Night Manager, The Hollow Crown (Henry IV Parts I & II, Henry V), Wallander, Miss Austen Regrets, The Gathering Storm.

 Zawe Ashton will play Emma. Like Pinter, Ashton was born in Hackney, London. Known for her roles in television sitcom Fresh Meat, the comedy series Not Safe for Work, Wanderlust and the forthcoming Velvet Buzzsaw, Zawe starred in The Jamie Lloyd Company production of Jean Genet’s The Maids at Trafalgar Studios and played the title role in Lloyd’s production of Salomé for Headlong.

 Charlie Cox, who plays Jerry, is best known for the leading role in Daredevil for Marvel, Tristan Thorn in Stardust, Jonathan Hellyer Jones in The Theory of Everything and Owen Sleater in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. On stage, he appeared in the 2008 production of The Lover & The Collection, directed by Jamie Lloyd at the Comedy (now Harold Pinter) Theatre, the title role in The Prince of Homburg at the Donmar Warehouse and Nick Payne’s Incognito in New York.

 Betrayal is presented by The Jamie Lloyd Company, Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Ben Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions and Glass Half Full Productions.

 Harold Pinter was born in Hackney, London in 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 until his death on Christmas Eve 2008.

 Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pinter was lauded throughout his life as one of the greatest living playwrights, who had a revolutionary impact on how theatre was written and performed, and who it represented on stage. An establishment agitator who challenged injustice, he became as famous for his political interventions as for his writing later in his life.

 His genius was recognised within his lifetime as a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, the Companion of Honour for services to Literature, the Legion D’Honneur, the European Theatre Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D’Honneur for lifetime achievement. In 1999 he was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature, in addition to 18 other honorary degrees.

 

After working as an actor under the stage name David Baron, Pinter went on to be a theatrical playwright, director, screenwriter and actor.

 He wrote his first play The Room in 1957 and from there 29 plays, including The Birthday Party, The Hothouse, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Old Times, No Man’s Land, and Betrayal.  Sketches include The Black and White, Request Stop, That’s your Trouble, Night, and Precisely.

 Pinter directed 27 theatre productions, including James Joyce’s Exiles, David Mamet’s Oleanna, seven plays by Simon Gray and scores of his own plays including his last,Celebration, paired with his first, The Room, at The Almeida Theatre, London in the spring of 2000.

In film he wrote 21 screenplays including The Pumpkin Eater, The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Sleuth.

 He continued to act under his own name, on stage and screen. He last acted two years before his death in 2006, when he appeared in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Ian Rickson.

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BLOW YOUR TRUMPETS ANGELS: Guest blog by Jeremy Goldstein

Jeremy Goldstein

Henry Woolf and Jeremy Goldstein

Henry Woolf and Jeremy Goldstein Photo: Darren Black

This week I’m getting ready to take ‘Truth to Power Café’ to Yorkshire ahead of Australia and The Netherlands.  The idea for the show grew from a new play I’m working on called ‘Spider Love’  which is inspired by the political and philosophical beliefs of Harold Pinter and his Hackney Gang.  The Gang were a group of six friends who included my late father Mick Goldstein and Henry Woolf who at 87, is the last one alive. In 1955, Harold based his protagonist Len, on Mick in his one and only novel ‘The Dwarfs’, and Henry directed Harold’s first play ‘The Room’ just before ‘The Birthday Party’ opened in 1958.

Last week I went to see Ian Rickson’s West End revival of ‘The Birthday Party’   I was reminded the play is about power and occupation. Stanley is occupied by the external forces of Goldberg and McCann and we, the audience are left to ponder his plight. The last time I saw it was in the late 1980’s. I was 16 and sitting in Harold’s front room in Holland Park.    My hair was bleached blond and I was wearing my Frankie Goes to Hollywood leather jacket.  Harold had invited my father and I to lunch and we ended up watching the BBC TV production of ‘The Birthday Party’ with him in the role of Goldberg.  At the end of the video Mick burst into tears, and Harold roared with laughter as if the play was an in-joke between them.  Maybe they shared Stanley’s secret?  I will never know, but this was the only time I’d ever seen my father cry, and it was a profound and beautiful moment I will never forget.

Ele Pavlou

Ele Pavlou Photo: Sarah Hickson

Just before my father died in 2014 we were estranged and not speaking.  I tried to patch things up, but my letter arrived the day he died so he never got to read it.  I thought our relationship was forever broken, but as time went on, I discovered relationships with our loved ones, continue to evolve even in death, and these projects ‘Truth to Power Café’ and ‘Spider Love’ have become an attempt to reconcile my failed relationship with my father Mick.

In amongst Mick’s possessions I found a play he’d written in 1975.  I knew the play existed as I remember acting out all the parts as a 9-year-old-boy.  Forty years on, I was surprised to discover the play is in fact Mick’s personal response to his friendship with Harold, and what it was like for him to be written into ‘The Dwarfs’ as Len.  While I was reading the play, I visited the Harold Pinter Archive at the British Library, where for the first time I read a treasure trove of original letters between Harold, Henry and Mick. Many of the letters were written in the 1950’s, so it was through these letters, that I got to know my father as a young man for the first time.

In 2015, I arranged to meet Henry who started sending me original poetry in response to ’Spider Love’, the verse of which I’ve been able to incorporate into my own adaptation of my father’s text and which I now perform in ‘Truth to Power Café’.  I also created a part for Henry who appears in ‘Spider Love’ as himself.  We joke it’s the part he was born to play.  Last October, we staged a reading of ‘Spider Love’ to a packed British Library theatre.  The event included an on stage conversation between Pinter’s biographer Michael Bilington and Henry.  Thanks to Carl we’re able to show you the video for the first time.

When we eventually mount our production of ‘Spider Love’ we’ll be able to stage it in the shadow of the brave and courageous souls taking part in the ‘Truth to Power Café’.

This year alone we expect to engage at least a hundred participants.

Everyone taking part in the Café has five minutes to respond to this question before a live audience.

‘Who has power over you and what do you want to say to them?’

I talk about my father.

I wonder what Stanley would have said?

‘Truth to Power Café’ is a global platform for speaking truth to power in a theatrical context inspired by the philosophical beliefs of Harold Pinter and his Hackney Gang and presented in in association with Index on Censorship.  Director Jen Heyes. Photography Sarah Hickson.

Upcoming performances include Cast in Doncaster on 8th February and Theatre in the Mill in Bradford on 9th February.  This week the project launches in Australia for Festival 2018  the arts and cultural programme for Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and in The Netherlands for Leeuwarden European Capital of Culture.

For more info and to sign up visit https://www.truthtopower.co.uk/

The Birthday Party is running at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 14th April