A Year of Celebrations as Frantic Assembly Turns 25

Frantic Assembly has announced a year of projects to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Artistic Director Scott Graham said: “This is an incredibly exciting time. Looking back on 25 years makes my head spin! How on Earth did that happen? But by far the most thrilling bit is the anticipation of what is still to come! I will be collaborating with brilliant artists to make work that is vital and exhilarating and seeking new voices to ensure a theatre that is robust, relevant and powerful. I leapt at the opportunity to work with Kathy Burke, a woman whose opinion and work I hold in the highest regard. Our collaboration will be a dialogue into the unknown and is all the more exciting for it! There is much to learn and I cannot wait. Within Frantic Assembly we have a motto of Always Forward, Never Backwards. This year we will allow ourselves a brief indulgence of looking back as we celebrate 25 years of leading the way in making new work, new writing, movement direction, direction through movement, workshops and training, etc. but that focus will very quickly move to an exciting future of bold and ambitious projects to take the company to the next level”

As the centrepiece for the year, Frantic Assembly will present the world premiere of a new play I Think We Are Alone, written by Sally Abbott (The Coroner, Vera) and co-directed by Kathy Burke and Scott Graham. From those electric moments of discovery and connection to the dark hours of isolation, we all seek community and resolution. But sometimes what connects us is what we need to escape from. I Think We Are Alone is a delicate and uplifting play about our fragility, resilience and our need for love and forgiveness. The production will be designed by Morgan Large (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat [London Palladium],Wonderland [Nottingham Playhouse]) with lighting by Paul Keogan (Lady Windermere’s Fan [Vaudeville Theatre, London], The Plough and The Stars [Lyric Hammersmith/Abbey Theatre Dublin]) and sound design by Ella Wahlström (Peter Pan Goes Wrong[Apollo], Jellyfish [The Bush]). I Think We Are Alone is a Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth Production, co-produced with Curve. It will tour to venues including Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Lowry, Nuffield Southampton, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Leicester Curve.

Kathy Burke said: “Having been a fan of Frantic Assembly for many years I’m really looking forward to working with them as a co-director as it’s something I’ve not done before. It’s good to try new things when you’re a groovy oldie.”

Adrian Vinken OBE, Chief Executive, Theatre Royal Plymouth said: “Our creative collaboration with Scott and Frantic Assembly has been one of the most fulfilling and enduring in TRP’s history.  After over 20 years of working together I Think We Are Alone is our 8th coproduction. We are enormously proud to be associated with the company.”

Chris Stafford, Chief Executive and Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director, Curve said: “We’re delighted to be working once again with the teams at Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth, having previously collaborated on Shakespeare’s Othello in 2014. Sally Abbott, Kathy Burke and Scott Graham are a formidable team and we are excited to discover what they create together.”

The company will return to Latitude Festival as headliners of the theatre arena. It will present a brand-new show entitled Sometimes Thinking written by Phil Porter (Vice Versa for the RSC and The Miser in the West End). The show will be co-directed by Scott Graham and the company’s Associate Director, Simon Pittman, and will feature a curated soundtrack from electronic music group Underworld, including never-before heard tracks. Sometimes Thinking is a celebration of the hours invested in daydreaming and fantasising about the people we could have been, the things we should have said, and who we might yet become. What if our private thoughts and visions become more vivid than the world we escape from? What if our inner voices leave our bumbling outer voices behind and strike up their own conversations? The production will be performed on Friday and Saturday evening at Latitude (July 19-20).

Frantic Assembly will take over the programme of the National Theatre River Stage for the weekend of July 26-28. It will present a range of performances and workshops led by artists who have collaborated with the company and also performances of its own work. The programme will include Sometimes Thinking, the Frantic Megamix (a performance celebrating 25 years of Frantic Assembly) a movement demonstration from A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Frantic Family workshops, a return of the Fatherland Chorus of Others and special performances from our Ignition Graduates such as DJ sets from Lewis Griffiths and Stefan Janik. Further details of the line-up will be announced shortly.

Following the success of Frantic Assembly’s first ever Ignition for women pilot earlier this year, the participants will make their first public performance as part of the National Theatre River Stage takeover, with the project rolling out nationally in 2020. Ignition for men returns for its 11th year culminating in a performance from this year’s group in October 2019.

The company will launch a brand-new website in July 2019 to mark the 25th birthday. Alongside this it will present the return of the Frantic Assembly podcast, presented by Scott Graham and Jonnie Riordan and featuring a new line-up of guests including writers Anna Jordan and Sally Abbott, casting director Sarah Hughes, actors Imogen Stubbs, Paapa Essiedu, Karl Queensborough and Joe Layton and directors Steven Hoggett, Neil Bettles, Jessica Williams and Sophie Shaw. A special live recording at the National Theatre River Stage will conclude series two, as part of the takeover in July.

The company also announces the formation of a creative think tank entitled The Assembly, consisting of an evolving group of artists, creative practitioners and advisors invited by the Artistic Director, who will meet quarterly to discuss the vision and ambition of the company.

After nine years in their office in Farringdon, Frantic Assembly have moved to Somerset House, joining an already established list of creative residents in the central London complex.

Additionally, three new archival projects will be launched. Firstly, a book charting the 25 years of the company with many previously unseen images alongside old favourites with notes and narrative from Scott Graham. Secondly, key people from Frantic’s history are being invited to curate a playlist of music they associate with the company which will be released periodically throughout the year. Thirdly, a film will be made with film company TEAFilms featuring contributions from friends past and present who will be invited to comment on the work of Frantic Assembly over the 25 years and their plans for the future.

Frantic’s Learn and Train programme will continue to be seen throughout the UK and across the world, including in Canada, USA, China and Singapore. The company will also continue its ongoing commitment to training the next generation of practitioners who will go on to deliver elements of the company’s work.