United Kingdom and Europe: Nations on the world stage watch again


Yesterday a major symposium was held at The RSA at which leading British playwrights discussed how theatre should respond to and reflect the changing international role of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Europe over the next decade.

The event was chaired by journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson and introduced by Vikki Heywood and Sir Nicholas Serota in his first public engagement as Chair of the Arts Council.

Beginning with statements from Kwame Kwei-Armah, April De Angelis, Roy Williams, Tanika Gupta, James Graham, Rosemary Jenkinson and Brad Birch, a debate followed and the panel took questions from a live audience of 150.

The 75 minute event can be viewed in full

Photos can be downloaded here.

The symposium concluded with James Dacre (Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate Northampton) and David Greig (Artistic Director of The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh) launching The United Kingdom and Europe: Nations on a World Stage. Collaborating with three partner venues across the United Kingdom, Royal & Derngate Northampton has launched this ambitious programme of work, an epic cycle of plays, providing a platform for voices from across the political spectrum of our islands which will tell stories from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

James Dacre, Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, explains: “Northampton is the geographical centre of England and our town’s history captures the polarising perspectives from the urban and rural, the liberal and conservative, the passionately local and proudly international. Royal & Derngate, here in the middle of England, has now invited all of the nations of the United Kingdom to embark on a theatrical exploration of their place in the world. Our three partner theatres will join us in initiating a cycle of plays that respond both to Brexit but also to the political and ideological divisions that recent events have exposed across the country. By bringing together a diverse group of emerging and established artists, thinkers and practitioners from across Europe, we aim to create a cycle of work that offers a unique insight into our nation’s past and present while imagining the possibilities for its future.”

Royal & Derngate’s producing partners are the Lyric Theatre Belfast, Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre and Edinburgh’s The Lyceum.

Details of the commissioning process, and the first commissions, will be announced soon. The vision includes the plan to perform the work in each of the home nations and across Europe and also to publish an anthology that will offer a lasting picture of what the nations and communities of the U.K. thought about their places in the world during this period of monumental change.