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Lucy Kirkwood’s new play to be produced as script-in-hand performances from next week

Maryland

The Royal Court Theatre will be putting on script-in-hand performances of Lucy Kirkwood’s new play Maryland from Thursday 7 October 2021 – Saturday 16 October 2021. Royal Court Theatre Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone and Royal Court Associate Directors Milli Bhatia and Lucy Morrison will co-direct. All performances will be at 7.45pm in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.

Commenting on the play playwright Lucy Kirkwood says;

This play was for many years a private conversation with myself. The horrific murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year have galvanised me into making it public. I hesitate to even call it a play when it is simply a howl, a way of expressing what I feel about a culture of violence against women, but I am sharing it because I wonder if it might express a little of what other people feel about it too. It was written very quickly, and I am grateful to the Royal Court for snatching up a gauntlet thrown down last Friday night with such energy, care and seriousness.

Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre Vicky Featherstone states;

Sometimes you don’t know what you need until it arrives like a bolt from the blue and things are turned upside down. This is what happened to us at the Royal Court when Lucy Kirkwood’s play Maryland arrived in our inboxes on Friday night. Since then we have all stepped up to her extraordinary rallying cry and are able to give her voice our space in search of some kind of understanding, howl, communal event in light of the horrific actions still being committed against all women and victims of gendered violence.

We all live in the same world, hear the same news, share the same existential fears and longings. Some people specialise in tending to our health, and some people tend to our roads and buildings, and some people tend to the food we eat and some people teach us to read and write and some people move important things from a to b. And then there are some other people who sit in the same world as us but with their pattern of words and ideas show that world back to us in a way which momentarily stops us feeling so alone, so fearful, so lost. There is order. There is hope. This is what this tiny enormous play does. This is what the Royal Court is for. This is what art is for.

We are so proud to be stepping up. We are devastated we still have to.”

Approx running time 30 minutes. Ticket prices are £5 for these readings and audiences are encouraged to make a donation to Rape Crisis England & Wales alongside buying tickets. https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/maryland/ 

BBC Bitesize Films for GCSE Drama Students available on new online resource

For the last four years, the Royal Court Theatre’s Participation team have been championing the use of current and representative texts and practitioners in the classroom. Working closely with exam boards, and in collaboration with Hamlett Films, the BBC Bitesize GCSE Drama resources were created.

Each module of the Drama GCSE exam (for all exam boards) are included in the online resource which is spilt into the following categories Understanding Drama & TheatrePerforming CharactersTheatre DesignDevising,  Scripted Drama and Written Exam, to help the user explore videos and tools featuring Royal Court plays, writers, creatives, staff and young people.

Artists involved include Alex Austin, Michael Buffong, Vicky Featherstone, Jacob Hughes, Charlene James, Duramany Kamara, Simon Longman,  Lucy Morrison and Natalie Pryce.

Commenting on the project Vishni Velada-Billson, Head of Participation at the Royal Court Theatre said;

When we were approached to create resources for BBC Bitesize for GSCE Drama students and teachers it was an absolute no-brainer. Over the last few years The Royal Court Participation team have been working closely with exam boards and teachers to synergise the theatre industry with education, being invited to share and celebrate Royal Court playtexts, practitioners expertise, and artists thinking on such a prolific platform, with direct access to the next generation of theatre makers was an opportunity we were proud to take up. The BBC Bitesize Drama series is a unique space of support and guidance, offering content which reflects upon and interrogates theatre practice. Now, more than ever, we hope many students find it a helpful study aid. We’ve worked with our colleagues in other parts of the BBC and education experts from around the UK to make sure everyone who needs it can access learning resources during this uncertain time.”

The BBC Bitesize films were made in collaboration with Hamlett Films. The Royal Court is a member of the Drama, Theatre and Education Alliance and contributed to the Drama, Theatre and Young People Manifesto.

From 20 April the BBC will be giving students access to regular daily lessons in English and Maths, as well as other core subjects, in an expanded version of this on their website and also on special programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.

Cyprus Avenue Film Released For World Theatre Day by Royal Court Theatre

As previously announced the Royal Court Theatre and The Space will make Cyprus Avenue, the film adaptation, available to watch for free today (World Theatre Day) on their website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages for one month.

This is the first time the film is able to be seen internationally.

Royal Court Theatre Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone said;

“Last year we were fortunate enough to make a film of our production of Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland with BBC Four and The Space. We were going to put it up on our website for a month from 27th March – World Theatre Day. We still are. But now the world has changed immeasurably it is an opportunity to watch some theatre, free, at home, safely and remember that when we all return to each other, great plays and great performances which entertain and help us understand the world we live in, like this,  will be filling your theatres for you to enjoy. Don’t forget about us. We will be back.

Commissioned by The Space this film of Cyprus Avenue mixes live capture of performance from the iconic Royal Court Theatre stage production with location shooting in Belfast. It was first broadcast on Sunday 15 September 2019 on BBC Four.

Starring Stephen Rea and directed by Vicky Featherstone, award-winning Cyprus Avenue was originally produced by the Royal Court Theatre, London and Abbey Theatre, Dublin before touring to The MAC in Belfast and the Public Theater in New York.

Full cast include Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Chris Corrigan, Andrea Irvine, Amy Molloy and Stephen Rea.

Eric Miller is a Belfast Loyalist. He is experiencing a psychotic episode and mistakes his five-week old granddaughter for Gerry Adams. Generations of sectarian trauma convince him that his cultural heritage is under siege. He must act.

This hard hitting black comedy Cyprus Avenue tells the story of a man struggling with the past and terrified of the future. It was awarded Best New Play at the Irish Times Theatre Awards and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama in 2017. For his portrayal of Eric, Stephen Rea won Best Actor at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2017.

The Royal Court Theatre is the writers’ theatre. It is a leading force in world theatre for cultivating and supporting writers – undiscovered, emerging and established. Over 120,000 people visit the Royal Court in Sloane Square, London, each year and many thousands more see the work elsewhere through transfers to the West End and New York, UK and international tours, digital platforms, residencies across London, and site-specific work. Through all the work the theatre strives to inspire audiences and influence future writers with radical thinking and provocative discussion. The Royal Court is pleased to be able to offer an international audience the chance to see Cyprus Avenue.

Cyprus Avenue the film adaptation was commissioned by The Space and produced for BBC Four by the Royal Court Theatre. It was Executive Produced by Lucy Davies, Jane Featherstone, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson.

  • Cyprus Avenue now available to watch here
  • Trailer available to watch here

Royal Court Theatre: A Credible Plan for a Just Transition to Carbon Net Zero Through 2020 and March 2020 events

Open Court: Climate Emergency
  • A series of performances, lectures and workshops to help us prepare psychologically, collectively and practically for a transformed future
  • Curated by Anthony Simpson-Pike; Philip Morris, Izzy Rabey & Milli Bhatia; Moi Tran; and Chris Thorpe; Royal Court Young Agitators, and the Royal Court staff members of colour
  • Royal Court Theatre: A Credible Plan for a Just Transition to Carbon Net Zero Through 2020 headline strategy document included

In October 2019 the Royal Court Theatre committed to spending 2020 transitioning to becoming a carbon net zero arts venue. Working groups across the organisation led on strategic areas, and consultants were engaged to advise on energy, waste, food and drink, water (cleaning and chemicals), travel and transport, and ticketing, paper and communications to implement immediate operational changes. Summary findings and strategies are detailed in Royal Court Theatre: A Credible Plan for a Just Transition to Carbon Net Zero Through 2020 which can be accessed here.

The March events will encourage discussion and inspire debate about this most important challenge we all face – how we, as individuals, as organisations, and as a society, can ready ourselves for a transformed future.

Artists will take over the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs hosting a series of public events from a duration all-night gathering, to lectures, film screenings and performances. Alongside these the Royal Court is hosting industry and writers meetings throughout March.

During the first Open Court in 2013 the keys of the building were handed over to the writers; in 2016 they were handed to Young Court and the next generation of writers, directors, producers and performers; now in 2020 the month of March is being used as a catalyst for complete organisational transition towards net zero.

“The Royal Court has always been and must always be radical, fearless and future-focused in its approach to the way that work is made, who makes it and who it is for. The next decade is critical for a structural transition to begin. We are committed to becoming carbon net zero and our actions towards this start now. We aim to push every part of our practice into a circular economy that reduces, offsets and neutralises our climate and ecological impact. This is our responsibility to the future writers and artists from across every part of our planet.”  Vicky Featherstone and Lucy Davies

Many events are free. Some events have limited capacity and will be balloted through this online form.

Open Court: Climate Emergency March 2020 is generously supported by an anonymous donor.

 MARCH 2020 EVENTS

Wednesday 11 March, 7pm – 9.30 pm
Reclaiming Our Future

Curated by Royal Court Theatre’s Black, Brown & East Asian Staff Members

What is the importance of intersectionality in climate activism, and what does it mean to see yourself represented in the movement?

The climate crisis movement is not always intersectional, especially in terms of whose voices have the privilege to be prioritised. This two-part event offers a safe space for people who are marginalised due to their race in the UK (i.e. – Black, South Asian, East Asian, Arab, Latinx and Middle Eastern), to come together for unfiltered discussion, reflection and interrogation.

The evening begins with How the Climate Crisis Affects Me, a lecture and honest discussion hosted by British-Nigerian actor and activist Fehinti Balogun. He will explore how the climate crisis has affected him and his family directly, how and why he got involved with Extinction Rebellion and what we can all do whilst living through the climate crisis.

This will be followed by Reverse Berlin Conference a workshop led by artist Jacob V Joyce that takes its inspiration from the 1884 Berlin Conference in which the African Continent was divided up by European colonisers planning to extract its resources. Jacob invites participants to work onto a large map of Europe in order to build a 3D re-imagined landscape that resists the interwoven structures of resource extraction and white supremacy.

This workshop provides a critical space for reimagining industries, borders and cultural norms of the continent’s Nation States. Participants will redefine and assert visions of sustainability and accountability into the landscape of Europe’s potential future.

Reclaiming Our Future will provide a safe space for people who are marginalised due to their race in the UK, to interrogate the link between climate change and its colonial history, as well as its continued structural attacks on particular communities. This will do so by readdressing the white supremacist power imbalance and shifting who has the privilege to have their voice heard when discussing the climate crisis.

This event is organised by Milli Bhatia, Charlotte Cole, Tanya Follett, Myah Jeffers, Daniel Kok and Nkhanise Phiri.

Free but ticketed
*For those who do not sit with within these modes of identity, we respectfully ask that you do not attend this event to ensure this space is uncensored, productive and safe without the burden of explaining our grief or experiences.

Friday 13 March, 8pm – 8am (Saturday 14 March)

After the Flood
Created by Anthony Simpson-Pike in collaboration with Zoë Svendsen and Tassos Stevens

After a disaster, communities can come together in ways they don’t normally under the daily constraints of capitalism. But disasters can also be used to divide people and encourage authoritarianism. What if we didn’t leave it up to chance? What if we rehearsed for the future we want to see?

Over 12 hours a group of citizens will do just this. From 8pm until 8am the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre will become a shelter where we must stay as a result of a flood. From the evening until the morning, we will have to make decisions about how we live together and attempt to become the community we will need to be in the context of the climate crisis, rehearsing our vision live.

This is an experiment in understanding how theatre might offer transformation in responding to the climate crisis. It asks, how can theatres allow us to imagine new ways of living together? And if it is possible to rehearse for the future?

Anthony Simpson-Pike is a director, writer, dramaturg and facilitator.
Zoë Svendsen is a director, dramaturg and researcher.
Tassos Stevens is a director, stunt performer and actor.

This event is free but capacity is limited and therefore tickets will be balloted. Please sign up to the ballot here by noon Monday 9 March 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by Tuesday 10 March 2020 and will be asked to confirm their attendance.

Wednesday 18 March3.30pm – 5pm & 6.30pm – 8pm
What would make the world a better place?
Open to Young Court Friends (U26)

The Royal Court Young Agitators are running a workshop to explore and interrogate the Climate Crisis through the lens of young people, a view which has been so prominent in Climate Activism.

This workshop aims to support young people to meet other young people who are concerned about the environment and build peer community support. To think together and find an emotional outlet to explore eco-anxiety whilst considering the suggestion that “Art does not Serve”; exploring creativity and making work in response to the crisis.

“Art does not Serve” is a provocation from Zoë Svendsen’s Dramaturging the Climate Crisis.

The Royal Court Young Agitators are theatre curators and creatives aged 16 – 23 who are interested in routes outside of performing. Selected annually the Young Agitators engage in an eight month programme which integrates them in to the heart of the building, builds a deep knowledge of the Royal Court, encourages arts activism, supports the development of theatre makers and provides pathways into the industry. The Agitators all receive dramaturgical training (similar to our Script Panel), facilitation skills, invited into rehearsals and techs of shows and expertise workshops with industry professionals.

Free but ticketed

Friday 20 March, 10am – 12.30pm
Wage an Intervention
Created by Milli Bhatia, Philip Morris and Izzy Rabey

You have £1000 cash to spend on a project that will impact the effects of climate change, and one morning to decide how to spend it. The only caveat: you and all the other participants must agree on the choice.

This workshop engages directly in discussions surrounding global shared wage, delegation and financial responsibility in the context of climate change.

Three climate activists will each propose the best way to spend the money. If no decision is made by the end of the discussion, the money goes back to the bank. Throughout the workshop we hope to provoke dialogue surrounding the individual vs the collective in terms of instigating change; exploring the balance between compromise, opinion and responsibility.

This event is free but capacity is limited and therefore tickets will be balloted. Please sign up to the ballot here by noon Monday 16 March 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by Tuesday 17 March 2020 and will be asked to confirm their attendance.

This event is organized by recent and current Royal Court Trainee Directors Milli Bhatia, Philip Morris and Izzy Rabey.

Wednesday 25 March, 4pm – 8pm

HOLD A THOUGHT IN YOUR HANDS AND TWIST IT INTO PLACE IN AIR
A line from Lia Purpura

Created by Moi Tran

We must put empathy first and foremost if we are to surmount the hyper issues of Climate Change.”

The detrimental effect that climate change inflicts on everyday intimacy and mental health goes under-acknowledged. As global “Climate grief” grows, it is leading to depression, anxiety and a state of climate paralysis; we must find new ways to share in and communicate environmentally-induced mental distress and address the lack of language for eco emotive communication.

A series of video screenings, live music and performances exploring a non-English language emotional perspective of loss and lament found in the intersections directly affected by our climate change crisis.

Confirmed events

4pm – Video Screening of new work My Paradise – by Artist Quynh Dong.

5pm – Video Screening of Performance Film Digging a Hole accompanied by live musical improvisation.

6pm – Video Screening of THE BOLERO EFFECT  with live song and musical performance.
7pm– Sasha Ilyukevich and The Highly Skilled Migrants will play for 45 mins on the steps outside the Royal Court Theatre’s entrance.

Moi Tran is a Vietnamese Artist, working in the intersections of Art and Performance. Moi is also the theatre designer of the Royal Court Theatre’s production of White Pearl and Rare Earth Mettle (upcoming).

Events are free and open to all.

Friday 27 March, 7pm
Whatever it is, we’re in it.
Curated by Chris Thorpe

A first public sharing of text and live music from writer and performer Chris Thorpe’s The Methuen Drama Royal Court Theatre Climate CommissionThe commission is a new environmental initiative in playwriting and was awarded to Chris in November 2019.

Chris’ session, like the piece, will focus on the psychology of the emergency – how can we be realistic and honest without paralysing ourselves and others? Is hopelessness a useful stage in an ongoing process?

Alongside the text and music, there will be a public discussion with psychologists about how the human mind works (and doesn’t) when faced with events of an extreme scale; what happens when radical change becomes the new normal; and how we can be useful in a world where information itself might no longer be.

 The Methuen Drama Royal Court Theatre Climate Commission was given to support a playwright to explore fresh ideas and links between the political present and the problems facing our environment today.

 Oberon Books / Methuen Drama

Oberon Books is one of the UK’s most exciting independent publishers in drama and the performing arts, and recently joined Methuen Drama. Together they publish some of the most diverse and forward thinking drama, and lead the way in championing new writing, the best emerging playwrights and theatre companies, and supporting fringe and off-west end theatres. Methuen Drama will continue to support the commission under the new name of The Methuen Drama Royal Court Theatre Climate Commission.

The Oberon Books and Royal Court Theatre Climate Commission Recipient Announcement

Vicky Featherstone, Chris Thorpe, Lucy Davies and Chris Campbell. Photo by Ali Wright

Vicky Featherstone, Chris Thorpe, Lucy Davies and Chris Campbell. Photo by Ali Wright

Vicky Featherstone, Chris Thorpe, Lucy Davies and Chris Campbell. Photo by Ali Wright

Oberon Books and the Royal Court Theatre have announced Chris Thorpe as recipient of the Oberon Books Royal Court Theatre Climate Commission, a new environmental initiative in playwriting.

The Oberon Books Royal Court Theatre Climate Commission is given to support a playwright to explore fresh ideas and links between the political present and the problems facing our environment today.

Playwright Chris Thorpe most recently collaborated with the Royal Court Theatre with his short film Climate Change: what do you want me to say? which was produced with the Financial Times. His play Victory Condition was produced at the Royal Court in 2017 and published by Oberon Books.

Commenting on receiving the commission playwright Chris Thorpe said;

“I’m blown away to be part of this. Blown away like a hospital roof in the path of an increasingly unpredictable storm system. I’m honoured to be given the opportunity by Oberon Books and the Royal Court to grapple with the enormity of this situation, help us act in the face of it, and find new ways to deal with it, individually and collectively. We might well be fucked anyway, but it feels like something useful to do while we wait.”

Chris Campbell, Editorial Director, Oberon Books further added;

“You could almost say it’s not the most important thing to write about but the only thing worth writing about. Oberon Books are completely delighted to offer this newly created commission to one of the most exciting and radical theatre makers working today. Chris Thorpe will astound us – of that I’m quite certain.”

The Financial Times and The Royal Court Theatre announce new short film about the climate crisis

Nicola Walker in Climate Change: what do you want me to say?

Nicola Walker in Climate Change: what do you want me to say?

The Financial Times and the Royal Court Theatre have collaborated to produce Climate Change: what do you want me to say? – a filmed monologue about the climate crisis. The nine minute film, written by Chris Thorpe and directed by Juliet Riddell from the FT, takes the form of a newscast from 2050. Featuring Nicola Walker, as newsreader, Climate Change: what do you want me to say? dramatically explores visions of both a dystopian and utopian future and raises questions about our planet’s climate emergency. It asks why it is taking us so long to deal with it in the serious and urgent manner that is needed.

If we could have sung scientific facts like pop songs we would have got to the chorus sooner, but we didn’t.

Prior to writing Climate Change: what do you want me to say? Chris Thorpe and the Royal Court Theatre’s Vicky Featherstone (Artistic Director) and Lucy Davies (Executive Producer) met with Financial Times journalists Pilita Clarke and Leslie Hook to discuss the climate crisis. Areas covered included looking at the role of news and how communications around global heating may not be helping actions needed now.

Climate Change: what do you want me to say? is what came out of that conversation and is available to watch now on FT.com

Juliet Riddell, producer and director of Climate Change: what do you want me to say? comments;

“After the success of ‘Brexit: a cry from the Irish border’, where the character played by Stephen Rea makes a plea to Westminster, we wanted to continue exploring the most pressing current issues of today. Connecting FT journalists with theatre professionals is a powerful way to write a sharp story and tell it in an engaging and powerful way, and Chris Thorpe has done just that.”

Credits include;
Writer Chris Thorpe
Director Juliet Riddell
Newsreader Nicola Walker
Editor Tom Hannen
Cinematographer Franklin Dow
Casting Arthur Carrington

For full the full credit list see below.

Climate Change: what do you want me to say? is available to watch on the Financial Times website from ft.com/climatechangefilm 

Climate Change: what do you want me to say? is a Financial Times and Royal Court Theatre collaboration and is supported by The Welcome Trust.

Cyprus Avenue To Be Broadcast On BBC Four Sunday 15 September, 10pm

Stephen Rea as Eric in Cyprus Avenue. Photo Ros Kavanagh

Commissioned by The Space, this film of Cyprus Avenue, by David Ireland, mixes live capture of performance from the iconic Royal Court Theatre stage production with location shooting in Belfast.

Starring Stephen Rea and directed by Vicky Featherstone award-winning Cyprus Avenue was originally produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London and Abbey Theatre, Dublin before touring to Belfast and the Public Theater in New York.

Full cast include Ronkeň Adeěkolueňjo, Chris Corrigan, Andrea Irvine, Amy Molloy and Stephen Rea.

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director at Royal Court Theatre, commented;

“This is such an extraordinary opportunity granted to us by The Space for more people to see this exceptional play – all of us involved feel strongly that it communicates vital messages about intolerance, systemic hatred and violence and examines the consequences of long term division and national trauma. What could be more fitting.”

Fiona Morris, Chief Executive and Creative Director at the Space, adds;

Cyprus Avenue is an insightful and timely piece that deserves to be widely seen and discussed, and The Space is delighted to have been able to commission the filming of this fantastic production from the Royal Court.”

Eric Miller is a Belfast Loyalist. He is experiencing a psychotic episode and mistakes his five-week old granddaughter for Gerry Adams. Generations of sectarian trauma convince him that his cultural heritage is under siege. He must act. This hard hitting but in parts hilarious black comedy Cyprus Avenue tells the story of a man struggling with the past and terrified of the future. It was awarded Best New Play at the Irish Times Theatre Awards and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama in 2017. For his portrayal of Eric, Stephen Rea won Best Actor at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2017.

Cyprus Avenue is scheduled to transmit in the UK on BBC Four Sunday 15 September at 10pm and will then be available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days.

The adaptation was commissioned by The Space and produced for BBC Four by the Royal Court Theatre. It was Executive Produced by Lucy Davies, Jane Featherstone, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson.

Casting announced for On Bear Ridge at Sherman Theatre and Royal Court Theatre

On Bear Ridge

Casting is today announced for the National Theatre Wales and Royal Court Theatre co-production of On Bear Ridge by award-winning writer Ed Thomas (House of America and Gas Station AngelRoyal Court; Hinterland/Y Gwyll BBC/S4C/Netflix).Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone (The Cane and Cyprus Avenue, Royal Court) and Ed Thomas will co-direct this semi-autobiographical story about the places we leave behind, the indelible marks they make on us, and the unreliable memories we hold onto.

The cast will include Rakie Ayola as NoniShe is currently performing Strange Fruit at the Bush Theatre. Previous stage credits include Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (West End), The Half God of Rainfall (Kiln Theatre) and Leave to Remain (Lyric Hammersmith). On television she is best known for her long running role as Kyla Tyson in Holby City (BBC).

Jason Hughes will play The Captain. He returns to the Royal Court where his work has included Violence and Son, 4:48 Psychosisand A Real Classy AffairOther recent stage roles include The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia (West End) and Our Country’s Good (National Theatre). On television he played Warren in This Life (BBC) and Detective Sergeant Ben Jones in Midsomer Murders (ITV).  Other recent TV credits include Marcella (ITV), Death in Paradise and Three Girls (both BBC).

Rhys Ifans will play John Daniel. On stage he recently played the title role in Exit the King and caused a sensation in the one-man show of Protest Song (National Theatre). He also played the iconic role of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and also The Fool in King Lear (Old Vic). Rhys’s extensive film work includes Elizabeth (dir. Shekhar Kapur), Greenberg (dir. Noah Baumbach), Nanny McPheeHarry PotterMr NiceAnonymousThe Amazing Spider-ManEnduring Love and of course Richard Curtis’ Notting Hill. He won a BAFTA for his performance as Peter Cook in Not Only But Always and will next appear in the new comedy drama film Misbehaviour directed by Philippa Lowethorpe and  Matthew Vaughn’s latest film Kingsman: The Great Game.

The cast is completed by Sion Daniel Young as Ifan William.  Sion returns to the Sherman Theatre and Royal Court followingKillology.  His credits for National Theatre Wales include The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Mametz and The Village Social.He played leading roles in War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (both West Endand last year performed inNightfall (Bridge Theatre).  He will next appear in Jellyfish (National Theatre). His TV roles include Hinterland/Y GwyllBBC/S4C/Netflix also written by Ed Thomas

“One minute we had customers, the next minute there was no-one.”

In a lost village, blurred by redrawn borders, hidden under a crumb on the map, Bear Ridge Stores still stands.

After a hundred years, the family butchers and grocers – a place for odds and ends, contraband goods, and the last petrol pump for 30 miles – is now silent.

But owners John Daniel and Noni are not leaving.

They are defiantly drinking the remaining whiskey and remembering good times, when everyone was on the same side and the old language shone.

Outside in the dark, a figure is making their way towards them.

The play will run at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff (20 September – 5 October) followed by the Royal Court in London (24 October – 23 November).

Royal Court Theatre announces cast for The End of History…, written by Jack Thorne and Directed by John Tiffany

Lesley Sharp and David Morrissey play husband and wife in Jack Thorne’s new play.

Top row, left to right: Zoe Boyle, Laurie Davidson, David Morrissey
Bottom row, left to right: Kate O’Flynn, Lesley Sharp, Sam Swainsbury

Zoe Boyle, Laurie Davidson, David Morrissey, Kate O’Flynn, Lesley Sharp and Sam Swainsbury have been cast in the world premiere of the end of history…, written by Jack Thorne and directed by Royal Court Theatre Associate Director John Tiffany. With design by Grace Smart, lighting by Jack Knowles and sound by Tom Gibbons. the end of history… runs in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs Thursday 27 June 2019 – Saturday 10 August 2019 with press night on Wednesday 3 July 2019, 7pm.

“No talent at all when it comes to cooking – as you will discover – but when it comes to pissing off my children – immense talent – Olympian talent.”

Newbury, 1997. Sal is attempting a cook dinner for the family. She and husband David have pulled off a coup and gathered their brood back home for the weekend.

Eldest son Carl is bringing his new girlfriend to meet everyone for the first time; middle daughter Polly is back from Cambridge University for the occasion; and youngest Tom will hopefully make it out of detention in time for dinner.

Sal and David would rather feed their kids with leftist ideals and welfarism than fancy cuisine. When you’ve named each of your offspring after your socialist heroes, you’ve given them a lot to live up to…

“When I was your age I wanted to be in a band and sleep with Mick Jagger – and Jimi Hendrix – so who am I to judge the choices you’ve made so far?”

the end of history… is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

Interview: Director Sam Pritchard on Pygmalion, regional theatre, ketchup and more

Sam Pritchard

Sam Pritchard

Sam Pritchard

I had a chat with Sam Pritchard. Sam is the very bold Associate Director (International) at the Royal Court and was winner of the JMK Award for Directors in 2012. His credits include Anna (Aix Opera Festival/ENOA Workshop), There Has Possibly Been An Incident (Royal Exchange and Edinburgh St Stephens/Soho Theatre/Berlin Theatertreffen), Buy Nothing Day (Company of Angels), Fireface (Young Vic) and Galka Motalka (Royal Exchange). He will be directing Guillermo Calderon’s play B for the Royal Court in September 2017.

He has directed a radical new staging of Bernard Shaw’s acute comedy Pygmalion for Headlong, a poignant tale of two opposites, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, trying to find a common language.

Anyway, last week many thought I had lost my mind when I ran a twitter poll asking: ‘Do you keep your ketchup in the fridge?’ * See photo below*

Ketchup Poll

Ketchup Poll

In fact it was an elaborate way of enriching this ‘content’. So there you go.
But does Sam keep his ketchup in the fridge? Well…

Have you had a good week? 
“Good – It’s been pretty busy – I have a full-time job which is as an associate at the Royal Court –  I work mostly with international playwrights there isn’t really and average week – so much of our work here or with playwrights is about working on the development of their work, listening to them and discussing work that we have received. I’m currently in Bath and looking forward to catching up with the cast and team – I have never been to Bath, I know it has a classic proscenium-arch and I’ve heard is a brilliant space.”

Pygmalion

Pygmalion. Click on the image to book your tickets for Pygmalion

Do you read the Pygmalion Reviews? Some were quite good weren’t they. 
“I do read some of the reviews – I think there is an interesting thing that comes with Headlong as a touring company that a show gets engaged with at different points in different places. And I think the company have certainly found that to be the case, that different audiences across the country have had really different experiences. For me the aim has been to respond to the impulse I had in my first engagement with the play, when I first sat down to read it. It felt like a really radical piece of work. Much more so than we usually think. I thought about its relationship to us now. It’s an extraordinarily front footed and in some ways populist piece of writing about class and identity in Britain – I think that’s what Shaw wrote. Our response isn’t traditional but it flows from that.”

How important are your relationships with the creative team? 
I think all of those creative relationships are entirely crucial whether that’s with set and costume designer or lighting and video designer; in the case of this show a cinematographer or sound designer. Those relationships were key in terms of growing the world and aesthetic from that initial impulse into the show that we all made together. This is a play about language, how we hear, see and feel it and all of those design elements needed to deliver that.”

You were the winner of the JMK Award for Directors in 2012, how helpful was that in terms of your career trajectory?
“The extraordinary thing about that process and the opportunity it offers is being able to make a piece of work that you’re passionate about. It’s not about working on other peoples’ shows or developing your practice in a theoretical way. It’s about doing the actual thing itself. Which is invaluable.”

Do you see regional theatre as something that is in decline? 
“As someone who lives in London I feel totally underqualified to comment on the state of regional theatre. I lived and worked in Manchester at the Royal Exchange for three years at the beginning of my career. And my experience of that theatre and city has always been that there is a thriving and distinctive and different theatre ecology there. Our experience with Pygmalion has been really positive. Shaw feels like a very audience facing artist. He’s up for a conversation, an argument and a debate with his audience and the play is a brilliant mixture of the comic and the darkly political. It feels to me as though audiences have really engaged with that across the tour.”

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How have audiences responsed to Pygmalion across the country? 
One of the interesting things we set out to do with this show was to try to engage with our contemporary political life through a classic play. We’re really comfortable with the reinvention of classic European and American plays in this country now. But our own canon hasn’t been re-examined in quite the same way. It felt like this was a brilliant opportunity to do that – with a writer who has much more that’s radical to say about inequality and the way language and culture contribute to that divide. And from my experience of watching the show, it’s been interesting to see audiences engage with that. To find some of this story much more disturbing to a contemporary ear than it is funny.

Anything that you’d like to add? For example – Do you keep your ketchup in the fridge etc, etc, and so on. 
“Wow… You saved your most incisive question for last. Yes. Well, I think I do because it was kept in the fridge when I was a child. I will re-examine my decision. Hm.”

Pygmalion by Headlong is on tour and hits Oxford Playhouse from Tue 18 to Sat 22 April 2017It then makes its way to NTS Campus, Nuffield Southampton Theatres from Tue 25 April to Sat 13 May 2017.
Tickets: Oxford

Tickets: Southampton

023 8067 1771

www.nstheatres.co.uk