Brits Off Broadway: NDT head to New York to co-curate festival with 59E59

New Diorama Theatre

New Diorama Theatre has announced the programme for Brits Off Broadway this spring, hosting the finest Off West End theatre on American soil. This festival is co-curated with New York’s 59E59 and takes place at the Drama Desk Award-winning Midtown theatre from Tuesday 14 April to Sunday 28 June.

The 2020 programme is a perfect sample of the UK’s vibrant theatre scene featuring celebrated work by eight of the country’s most exciting and inventive companies.

One of the most successful theatre shows of the 2019 Edinburgh Festival and fresh from its premiere run in London throughout February and March, New Diorama Theatre’s The Incident Room will open in New York (23 Apr – 24 May). David Byrne (Secret Life of Humans) and Olivia Hirst’s play tells the true story of the police hunt for one of Britain’s most infamous serial killers, The Yorkshire Ripper. The turbulent investigation is said to have been the birth of modern policing, changing the relationship between the forces and society forever.

In The Habit of Art, The Original Theatre Company revives the work of one of Britain’s greatest and most celebrated playwrights, Alan Bennett. Exploring friendship, rivalry and heartache this multi layered masterpiece recounts the meeting of poet WH Auden and composer Benjamin Britten (29 May – 28 Jun).

It’s True It’s True It’s True by Breach Theatre is the Untapped, Scotsman Fringe First and The Stage Award-winning story of the court trial surrounding the rape of artist Artemisia Gentileschi. Acclaimed as one of the definitive artistic responses to the #MeToo revolution and acknowledged to have helped revive Artemisia’s position as a feminist icon, this production incorporates the original transcript of the 1612 trial to show how little has changed for victims of misogyny and sexual abuse in 400 years. The play was televised by the BBC in February 2020 and will run at the world-famous Barbican Centre before transferring to New York (6-31 May).

Dinomania by Kandinsky tells the true story of the ‘dinosaur hunters’ of the 19th century, particularly Gideon Mantell, an amateur whose attempts to gain recognition from the scientific establishment led him to be a pawn in the battle between the creationist beliefs of the ultra-conservative old order, and the scientific progressivism of the ‘evolutionists’. The play portrays a collision between politics, religion, social class, and science which has fundamentally changed our understanding of the world and life itself (3-28 June).

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) by Silent Uproar is a Scotsman Fringe First and Musical Theatre Review Award-winning cabaret-musical about living with depression. Written by Olivier-nominated playwright and writer on Netflix’s The Crown, Jon Brittain, with music and lyrics by acclaimed musician and performer Matthew Floyd Jones, the story spans a decade in the life of protagonist Sally. Charting her journey through depression but A Super Happy Story shows through storytelling, music and humour that mental ill health is not a barrier to happiness (14 Apr – 3 May).

Wild Swimming by FullRogue Theatre tells the story of two friends going for a dip off the Dorset Coast in the 17th century and rejoining them as they repeat the tradition…once a century. As the years fly by a friendship endures framed by drastic changes to society, women’s rights and the aspirations of the young (14 Apr – 10 May).

Ladykiller by The Thelmas is a sharp and blackly comic monologue by a murderous hotel maid which was a sell-out success at Edinburgh Fringe 2018 (12 May – 7 Jun).

Orlando by BoonDog Theatre takes us back to 1928 when Virginia Woolf imagined her own freedom through the character of her novel Orlando. Over 90 years later, Lucy Roslyn’s play is the story of a person looking for escape, desperate to leave behind the identarian bullshit (9-28 Jun).

New Diorama artistic director David Byrne: “At New Diorama, we’re always looking to unlock new opportunities for our artists. The chance to co-curate Brits Off-Broadway with 59E59’s brilliant Val Day, and transfer some of our best NDT supported work to New York, has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and I can’t wait to share some of the best new, contemporary British theatre with Off-Broadway audiences.”

Brits off Broadway has been running at 59E59 since 2004 and has been described by the New York Times as “a highlight of the theatrical year in New York”. New Diorama’s previous productions Down & Out in Paris and London, and Secret Life of Humans sold out at Brits Off Broadway with 2020 their first year as co-curators.

A Super Happy Story

Silent Uproar
Tuesday – Sunday, 14 April to 3 May at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday

Wild Swimming

FullRogue Theatre

Tuesday – Sunday, 14 April to 10 May at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday

The Incident Room

New Diorama Theatre

Tuesday – Sunday, 23 April to 24 May at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday

Images found here

It’s True It’s True It’s True

Breach Theatre

Tuesday – Sunday, 6 May to 31 May at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday

Images found here


The Thelmas

Tuesday – Sunday, 12 May to 7 June at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday

The Habit of Art

The Original Theatre Company

Tuesday – Sunday, 29 May to 28 June at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday



Tuesday – Sunday, 3 June to 28 June at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday


BoonDog Theatre

Tuesday – Sunday, 10 June to 28 June at 7.15pm & 2.15pm matinee every Sunday


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.”