Reading Week returns with 8 new plays at the Pleasance Theatre London

Reading Week connects playwrights and audiences, giving writers the opportunity to hear their scripts brought to life in a rehearsed reading and gain valuable feedback from audience and industry specialists.

Please join the theatre team at Pleasance Islington for this festival of new plays powered by Pleasance Futures, with a double bill of bold, exciting and innovative new writing each evening. Audience feedback and conversation is a key element of these events.

Set against the backdrop of major moments in Sydney’s gay rights movement, Ryan Watson’s The Fountain is an epic, intimate play set over three time periods in one apartment. Behind the brick walls and double glazed windows, the far reach of the conservative views of a misogynistic country can be felt. A funny, sometimes dramatic look at who we are and how we got here.

In 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas, became the focus of the Civil Rights movement when a group of African American students attempted to desegregate a local high school.Decades later, Alice Charles’s play follows Elizabeth Eckford, one of these Little Rock Nine, as she is thrust back into the limelight.

Clapham Fringe Theatre 27th Sept - 14th Oct

The Clapham Fringe is being held at The Bread and Roses Theatre in Clapham from 27th Sept - 14th October 2018. 

Now in its fourth year, the Clapham Fringe is a Performing Arts Festival taking place at The Bread & Roses Theatre from 27th September to 14th October 2018. With 23 different productions and 48 performances altogether, over three weeks the Clapham Fringe will host a variety of performances including theatre, comedy, storytelling and cabaret.

This is a great opportunity to discover and experience an exciting lineup of performances in the vibrant South West London area, plus check us out to see if this is an event you might be interested in bringing your own show to!

A 40 to 60 seat fringe venue above The Bread & Roses Pub, the theatre programs a wide-spread variety of productions for local as well as far-reaching audiences. Artistic quality, equality and diversity are at the forefront of the theatre's programming, which features visiting companies as well as in-house productions, with a focus on new writing, underrepresented voices and distinctive work.

The theatre has worked with award-winning ensembles with decades of experience but also frequently welcomes emerging companies taking their first steps and supports theatre-makers by providing box office split deals with no hidden fees. The programme includes new writing, contemporary revivals, reinvented classics and occasionally also devised work, improvisational theatre, comedy events, family shows and physical theatre.


Acting out in People, Places and Things, a play by Duncan Macmillan

Duncan Macmillan’s play is a brilliant evocation of addiction and what happens to performers when they can’t not perform. Dramas about addiction can be exciting to watch. And then dispiriting. Exciting because degradation is fascinating to follow from the relative safety and smugness of an “appropriate” life, and dispiriting because if all that sad mayhem can happen to this or that character what’s to keep it from happening to me or you?

Emma, the protagonist in Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things, created at the National Theatre in London in 2015, suffers greatly, but she is also interested in how far and fast she can fall and still pull back before landing permanently in the gutter: she’s the star of her own tinsel tragedy. Like many junkies, Emma is a brutalizing sentimentalist chasing the dragon while also chasing some idea of love, which involves regret as well. She would “only connect” if she could, or if that kind of connection held her interest for long enough.

Emma’s an actress, a sloppily confrontational, drug-addled mess in a business populated by handlers who applaud inflated self-regard. She likes to be watched—she demands it—but in her state she demeans the honor of drawing the audience’s attention. Onstage, she jerks and twists her way through a scene about failed dreams and unrequited love. What play is this, though? Some of the lines are familiar. Ah, that sad, tall guy is Treplev, from Chekhov’s Seagull, so Emma, in a long black dress, must be Nina, Treplev’s childhood friend and an aspiring actress, Nina, with her dreams and her hysteria. As the scene disintegrates and dance music is piped in and, leaving her costume behind, she goes off to a rave in a world far from Chekhov’s, a club populated by party people who don’t want the night to end, if it is, in fact, night.

The next day—or some other day, who can say—Emma sits, stoned while trying not to be, in the lobby of a rehab facility in London. By seeking help, Emma puts us on her side: who doesn’t identify with the desire to be better, to be transformed, rehabilitated? We all need “work.” And Emma needs to get through rehab if she’s ever going to be hired as an actress again. Indeed, the desire to act is never far from her heart or her way of being: she signs into rehab as “Nina,” a distressing and distressed character who both is and is not herself.

Throughout the almost two-and-a-half-hour play, Macmillan and make the point that drugs both allow Emma to compartmentalize her various selves in her real life and encourage her not to have a real life at all. Group therapy is useless to Emma until she tells her life story—except that it’s not her life story. Another recovering addict, Mark, recognizes it as the plot of Hedda Gabler. Who is Emma without a script? A broken girl who was close to her brother, who died young—and she couldn’t grieve with her parents, no way. Besides, if she stood up to the agony of her loss who would stand up for her? Macmillan has written a brilliant evocation of what happens to performers when they can’t not perform, when they live lives in which the curtain never seems to come down, ever.

Drama on BBC Radio 3 The Effect by Lucy Premble

Drama on 3 is BBC Radio 3 series of drama performances, ranging from experimental works to the classics. This month listen to The Effect, a profound and funny play about love, depression and selfhood, winner of the Critics' Circle Award for Best New Play when it was performed at the National Theatre in 2012, starring Jessie Buckley, Christine Entwisle, Damien Molony and Samuel West.

Lucy Prebble is a writer for film, television, games and theatre. Before The Effect she wrote the hugely successful Enron (2010). Her first play, The Sugar Syndrome (2003), won her the George Devine Award and was performed at the Royal Court. Lucy is an Associate Artist at the Old Vic Theatre. For television, she is the creator of the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She is Co-Executive Producer and writer on HBO's media mogul drama, Succession.

Richard Hammarton is a composer and sound designer for theatre, TV and film. His work has been heard throughout the UK and Internationally. He was part of the design team that won the Manchester Evening News "Best Design" award for Dr Faustus in 2010 and was Sound Designer for the Olivier Award winning play, The Mountain Top. He also worked on the Ivor Novello winning Ripper Street for TV.

Last chance to see Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre London

Following critically acclaimed seasons at the National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Barber Shop Chronicles is back at the National Theatre until January 2018.

This dynamic new play leaps from a barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra. Newsroom, political platform, local hot spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.

Inua Ellams born in Nigeria in 1984 is a UK-based poet, playwright and performer. Ellams has written for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre and the BBC. His one-man show The 14th Tale was the awarded an Edinburgh Fringe First at the Edinburg International Festival in 2009 and later transferred to the Royal National Theatre. Barber Shop Chronicles was longlisted the Alfred Fagon Award in 2017.

Ellams has an instinctive feel for the polyphonous rhythms of dialogue, and the way his characters use language is both a texture and a theme of this play, which threads in debates on Nigerian Pidgin and the use of the N word with casual ease. He skilfully maintains control of his sprawling cast, although only slowly do individual relationships become distinct and characters gain depth and pathos.

Bijan Sheibani stages the piece with an exhilarating dynamism in this brilliantly acted co-production between the National Theatre, the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Fuel. The audience sits round the perimeter and the changes of scene have a beauty and wit of their own – sometimes fully choreographed as a formation dance (barbers flapping out their capes like toreadors, etc) or in a soft chant of place names, the country indicated by the lit-up area on the great wire globe that hangs above Rae Smith's set.  


Playwright Thomas Eccleshare’s Heather at the Bush Theatre London

The Bush Theatre is a world-famous home for new plays and an internationally renowned champion of playwrights. They discover, nurture and produce the best new playwrights from the widest range of backgrounds, and present their work to the highest possible standards. They look for exciting new dramatic voices that tell contemporary stories with wit, style and passion and they champion work that is both provocative and entertaining.

Brilliantly imaginative and theatrically original, Heather is a short, sharp play about language, prejudice and the power of stories. The cast includes actors Ashley Gerlach and Charlotte Melia. The production runs 6-18 November 2017.

A reclusive children’s writer becomes wildly successful. Her books are treasured across the country. But when a troubling narrative starts to unfold, we find ourselves asking: what matters more, the storyteller or the story?

Thomas Eccleshare is the Verity Bargate Award-winning writer of Pastoral and the co-artistic director of Arches Brick Award winning company Dancing Brick. Heather will be directed by Valentina Ceschi and designed by Lily Arnold.

Watch the trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwU9it9ZkbI
Book tickets https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/heather/

Festival VOILA Europe 2017 Cockpit Theatre London

The Cockpit theatre is excited to announce the OPEN CALL for this year's festival. Calling all multilingual troubadours, travelling minstrels, intercultural creatives, linguistic explorers, juggling polyglots, translated artists, cross-nation activists, and European theatre companies!

For its 5th years VOILA! Festival becomes VOILA! Europe and will be bigger and bolder than ever. VOILA! Europe is a non Brexit-fearing festival whose mission is to bust the barriers of language and showcase plays from around Europe & the UK to the multi-national audiences of London. 

From new writing from emerging artists to classics revisited by well-loved companies, VOILA! celebrates diversity in performing arts, multiple languages and fearless creatives. No passport required. Broadening out from being a francophone festival to include more languages spoken on the European continent, and spending from one theatre to other venues in the city, VOILA! will program more work and provide additional platforms for exchange in the arts.

They are looking for shows in multiple languages, or translated/adapted from plays originally in a European language, as well as new writing with cast and creatives from the European continent. They accept all genres of shows (music, theatre, performance art, dance), provided they are less than 60 minutes long. 

VOILA! Europe will take place in London 8-18 November 2017 at the Cockpit, Etcetera Theatre Camden and more venues to be announced. The festival will provide 2 or 3 performance slots in one of the festival venues with production and technical assistance, printed brochures, a professional PR and online marketing in exchange for a 50% box office split and a £70 admin fee.



Apples and Snakes Performance Poetry

Performance poetry means reading or declaiming poetry in a way that acknowledges the presence of an audience. This can be anything from eye-contact to fully blown histrionics. Open mics are the bedrock of the poetry scene. They are the testing ground for new material.

Voice is an active, physical thing in oral poetry. It needs a speaker and a listener, a performer and an audience. As poetry is a vocal art, the speaker brings their own experience to it, changing it according to their own sensibilities and intonations. Controlled through pitch and stress, poems are full of invisible italicised contrasts. Reading poetry aloud also makes clear the pause as an element of poetry.

Apples and Snakes is England's leading organisation for performance poetry and spoken words, with a national reputation for producing exciting, engaging and transformative work in performance and participation. Their vision is to lead the poetry revolution, creating artistic and social changes through the power of the spoken word.

They create groundbreaking, diverse work including live performance, artist development, participation and digital content that help to broaden people's understanding of what spoken word is and can be. They facilitate cross-artform collaborations that push performance poetry into new directions and develop work online as well as internationally.



Jermyn Street Theatre London

During the 1930's the basement of the 16b Jermyn Street was home to the glamorous Monseigneur restaurant and club. The space was converted into a theatre by Howard Jameson and Penny Horner in the early 1990's, and Jermyn Street theatre staged its first production in August 1994. Over the last twenty years the theatre has established itself as one of London's leading Off-West End studio theatre.

Gene David Kurk became artistic director in 2009. With his associated director Anthony Biggs he was instrumental in transforming the theatre's creative output with critically acclaimed revivals of rarely performed plays including Charles Morgan's post-war classic the River Line, the UK premiere of Ibsen's first performed play Saint John's Night starring Oliver winning actress Sarah Crowe, and another Ibsen: his rarely performed late play Little Eyolf with Imogen Stubbs and Doreen Mantle.

Anthony Biggs became artistic director in 2013 and has continued the policy of staging rediscovered classic plays alongside new plays and musicals, with a renewed focus on emerging artists, and writers from outside the UK. Jermyn Street theatre was nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award in 2011 and won the Stage 100 Best Fringe Theatre in 2012.


New Drama From Shore to Shore tells the stories of UK Chinese communities

Three stories, three lives, three journeys to find a place to call home. Cheung Wing is escaping from war, Mei Lan's had enough of the potato peeler and Yi Di wants the impossible: her parent's approval.

Taking place in Chinese restaurants across UK, Piao Yang Guo Hai From Shore to Shore, blends English, Mandarin and Cantonese to tell the stories of Chinese communities living in the UK today. 

Award-winning author Mary Cooper, with multi-lingual collaborator M.W. Sun, draws on real life stories from Chinese interviewees to create a powerful new drama of love and loss, struggle and survival, performed along side live music and great food.

More than a play, From Shore to Shore is described as a theatre event. Poems and stories, personal perspectives on chinese identity created during the workshop program are shared online. From Shore to Shore will be touring nationally from 16 May to 10 June 2017 to Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Oxford.


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