Paul Robinson Steps Down As Artistic Director Of Theatre503 After An Impressive Ten Years

 
 

After an incredible ten year tenure, Theatre503’s Artistic Director Paul Robinson is moving on.

Paul comments:

Theatre503 has been my home for the last ten years and I have enjoyed every minute of it thanks to a superb team and excellent Board. We’ve faced down huge challenges and I have been lucky enough to see the burgeoning talent of a generation of artists come through the doors. I have no doubt that under new leadership it will continue to go from strength to strength. Highlights for me will include working with the brilliant Tim Roseman, my former Joint AD, launching the Theatre503 Playwriting Award, working with exceptional artistic talents and directing plays including Chris Urch’s Land of Our Fathers and Bea Robert’s And Then Come the Nightjars in regional and national co-productions. I am delighted to be seeing the former come to Found111 to round off its recent twelve-week tour.

Theatre503, known as a powerhouse of new writing, continues to stage ground-breaking plays from the most talented emerging writers. It has previously launched the careers of playwrights Dennis Kelly (Matilda The Musical, Utopia), Katori Hall (The Mountaintop), Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer) and Anna Ziegler (Photograph 51), as well as being the smallest theatre to win an Olivier Award for Best New Play.

Theatre503 Chair and Deputy Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Erica Whyman comments:

Paul Robinson has led Theatre503 for the last decade with skill, panache and immense dedication. His commitment to great, impassioned writing and his own assured touch as a director have led Theatre503 to burst at the seams with ingenuity and ambition, and to be the recipients of countless nominations and awards as well as a forceful presence in the West End, in Edinburgh and across the UK. He has ensured emerging writers are nurtured by sustained artistic and financial investment. Paul’s dedication and vision will be sorely missed. We are thrilled for him as he takes up this terrific opportunity at The Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Paul takes up the role of Artistic Director of The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough this June where previous Artistic Directors have included Stephen Joseph, Chris Monks and Sir Alan Ayckbourn. Paul is also currently directing My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley, starring Maureen Lipman, which opens at St. James Theatre in April 2016. Presented by Tiny Fires Ltd (an independent production company set up by Paul and producer Tara Finney), this is the first London revival of the play in over 25 years.

For more information about Theatre503, visit http://www.theatre503.com or follow @theatre503. 

 

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SAVAGE: A New Nazi Drama Coming To Above The Arts Theatre In June

  

SAVAGE

June 29th – July 23rd 2016, Above the Arts Theatre

In Summer 2016, the production team behind West End hit The Tailor-Made Man reunite to present stylish new drama and love story Savage, which uncovers the tragic tale of a Nazi doctor and his ill-conceived “cure” for homosexuality. 

**** “Claudio Macor’s writing works a treat” (Tim Walker on The Tailor-Made Man)
In the late 1930s, Danish doctor Carl Peter Værnet discovered what he believed to be “the cure for homosexuality”: injecting testosterone into the testicles of live human subjects without anaesthetic. Dr Værnet was given a prominent post at the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, where he experimented on 17 inmates.

After the liberation by Allied forces, Dr Værnet was arrested as a Nazi war criminal. However, the British major who interrogated him was intrigued by his “cure”, and the doctor was allowed to flee. He then escaped to South America, where he continued to experiment on thousands of live subjects, with the full knowledge of both the British and Danish authorities. He died in 1965.

**** “easy to imagine on a bigger stage” (The Daily Telegraph on The Tailor-Made Man)
In Claudio Macor’s new drama, we meet two young men directly affected by Dr Værnet’s experiments – their glamorous, hedonistic life in 1930s Copenhagen as well as the tragic treatment of one of them by the Nazis. Confirmed cast include Alexander Huetson (Phil Willmott’s Encounter, Above the Stag), Gary Fannin (The Reduced Shakespeare Company; Spectre; 24: Live Another Day) and Nic Kyle (The Grand Tour, Finborough Theatre; Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre)

Doctor Carl Peter Værnet is not only one of the forgotten Nazi war criminals, who was never on any most wanted list, but neither the British nor Danish governments have ever apologised for aiding him in his flight, nor for allowing his research to continue. He remains largely unwritten about and unresearched, apart from a ground-breaking piece by Guardian journalist Peter Tatchell in 2015, who will be taking part in a post-show Q & A.

**** “a compelling story (…) a highly enjoyable evening” (The Arts Desk on The Tailor-Made Man)

Casting Announced For Mother Said I Never Should At St. James Theatre

 

Maureen Lipman and Katie Brayben star in Keatley’s award-winning My Mother Said I Never Should

St. James Theatre, 12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA Wednesday 13th April – Saturday 21st May 2016

National treasure Maureen Lipman (Oklahoma, Outside Edge, See How They Run) and Olivier- award winning Katie Brayben (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, King Charles III, American Psycho) will lead the cast in Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should. They will be joined by Caroline Faber (The Taming of the Shrew, The Heiress, Hangover Square) and Serena Manteghi (The Railway Children). Presented by Tiny Fires Ltd. this is the first London revival of the play in over 25 years.

On this exciting casting, Director Paul Robinson says:

 I am delighted to be working with Maureen for the first time. I am, of course, well-aware of her huge body of work and have been thrilled by her performances on various occasions. We have really enjoyed talking about the play and role and I’m so excited by her approach to it. Be ready for a highly original take on the part of Doris with humour, humanity and huge depth.
My Mother Said I Never Should is a non-linear play where, at times, all four generations of women appear together, timeless and ageless. The visual language of this production embraces this expressionism in a radical, contemporary and explosive new production.

Robinson treats the piece as a memory play looking at how our recollections of the same events in our own families differ so wildly. My Mother Said I Never Should is a moving exploration of the relationships between mothers and daughters and the consequences of breaking the most sacred taboo of motherhood. 

2016 has been dubbed as ‘the year of the female playwright’ and there is ongoing fierce debate around roles for women on stage; Keatley’s four strong female protagonists enact the huge social and political changes of the past 100 years.
Keatley comments:

I wrote this play to explore how to live, work, love and raise children – and the dilemmas are exactly the same we are wrestling with now. 25 years later it is still incredibly unusual to see women protagonists like these. What moves me most is that teenagers today love this play as much as older audiences. Above all I wanted to make people laugh, cry and be inspired. I get letters from people across the world saying how the play changed their lives.

My Mother Said is about the choices we make which determine the course of our lives and how it is never too late to change. Looking at the social and professional place of women, it explores the belief that being a mother is at odds with being a professional success. This is a powerful story of love and jealously between mothers and daughters told through the stories of four generations of women.

Twelfth Night: Scena Mundi Mix High Fashion And Shakespeare, As Only They Can This Spring!

 

Twelfth Night by Scena Mundi

The French Protestant Church, 8-9 Soho Square, London W1D 3QD 

Tuesday 22nd March – Saturday 9th April 2016

Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy Twelfth Night is being given a fashion makeover at Scena Mundi this Spring. This three-week run will be a bold and finely crafted production that takes the Elizabethan style to a church catwalk.

Shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria and believing her brother Sebastian to be drowned, Viola decides to don men’s clothes to serve Orsino. Under the name of Cesario, she soon becomes a favourite of the young Duke and finds herself caught in a strange love triangle where ‘all is not what it is’.

Since its first performance on the day of the Epiphany in 1601, the lightness, fun and elegance of Twelfth Night have made it a favourite of theatre goers. The world of Illyria is one of disguise and narcissism where madness lurks under the surface. Viola’s arrival creates chaos and forces all to see beyond appearances to find their true identities.

Scena Mundi’s production focuses on the bitter-sweet mood of the comedy to enhance all its diverse aspects. Combining very precise work on text with highly elaborate costumes and clear story-telling, their Twelfth Night is an aesthetic rendition of a multi-facetted play about love, unruliness and self-discovery.

Director Cecilia Dorland comments:

I love which appearances are all important, yet depth of feeling is what matters in the end. I hope audiences will accept the challenge to come and see their own image in this shimmering mirror.

The French Protestant church is a hidden gem in the heart of Soho that offers a fresh challenge for Scena Mundi. Embracing the warm and imposing building the company will work with it to produce a show that is all the more powerful for being in this unusual setting.

Russian Dolls: An Exploration of Two Broken Souls Forming A Bond In Modern Britain

 

Russian Dolls by Kate Lock

King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, London N1 1QN 

Tuesday 5th – Saturday 23rd April 2016

Winner of the 2015 Adrian Pagan award for playwriting, Kate Lock’s wise and witty new drama celebrates cross-generational relationships and lays bare the extraordinary virtue of self- determination. 

This uncompromising duologue is a tender portrait of how humanitarian values are blind.
Hilda is blind and lives alone. Camelia is a teenage offender looking for her next mark. Russian Dolls examines the singularly fierce friendship that forms between these women as they search for shared purpose in a broken Britain. In juxtaposing their dramatically different lives, the play offers a fascinating insight into the changing roles of women, the trappings of age and the worries of youth.

Writer Kate Lock comments:

I met the real Hilda at a pensioner’s day centre. She was collecting windfalls to take home and make herself an apple crumble, completely blind. She lived completely independently. Her grit, humour and sense of self-worth were so inspiring, I felt compelled to write about her. Russian Dolls is her story.

The 2015 Adrian Pagan award was open to playwrights with one professionally produced play to date, to acknowledge the need for continued support of promising dramatists beyond their first production. The judging panel (Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre, Adam Spreadbury- Maher; Olivier-nominated writer and performer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge; playwright and dramaturg, Paul Sirett; theatre director and NT connections festival director, Audrey Sheffield; playwright, Tess Berry-Hart) selected Russian Dolls from over 300 entries. The 2016 award is now accepting submissions with this year’s judging panel to be announced in the Spring.

http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/

Also Recognised Award Nominations Announced: An Imperative Awards Reflecting Both Audience And Performer

MyTheatreMates, founded by Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock, have announced the shortlists in the second annual Also Recognised Awards. These audience-voted industry accolades celebrate talent in fields often overlooked by other award bodies. One of the awards is the UK’s first-ever prize for Best Musical Direction.

Voting is now open for all categories at http://www.MyTheatreMates.com.
The Also Recognised Awards were launched last year with ten categories. In addition to Best Musical Direction, these include six that had been dropped by the WhatsOnStage Awards, founded in 2001 by Paddock with the close involvement of Shenton:

o Best Ensemble Performance
o Best Solo Performance
o Best Shakespearean Production              o London Newcomer of the Year oTheatre Event of the Year

o Best Original Music

The Also Recognised Awards also, uniquely, put the spotlight on the creativity of digital marketing and advertising disciplines in theatre with recognition for Best Show Poster, Best Show Trailer and Best Twitter Engagement.

By popular demand, a new category has been added in 2016 for Best Musical Cabaret. This field is dominated by two relatively new London venues that are fast becoming major destinations for cabaret lovers: the Studio at The St. James Theatre and Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel.

Nominations for the Also Recognised Awards have been drawn up by Shenton and Paddock, with input from Andrew Keates and Mike Dixon (the industry lobbyists who have been the driving force behind establishing creative parity for Musical Direction) and other members of the My Theatre Mates collective of independent theatre bloggers and commentators.

 Voting for the winners continues until Friday 25th March 2016. Results will be announced in early April. MyTheatreMates invites suggestions for other new award fields not already covered elsewhere. Recommendations with sufficient merit and industry backing will be introduced in future years.

Full nominations are on the MyTheatreMates website. Vote Now!

Revolutionary Theatre: The Caucasian Chalk Circle At Brockley Jack

 

Lazarus Theatre Company presents
The Caucasian Chalk Circle

by Bertolt Brecht in a version by Frank McGuiness
Tuesday 23 February to Saturday 12 March

Press Night | Thursday 25 February | 7.45pm

A girl must make a choice… to take the child and run, or leave him behind in the fury of civil war.
Brecht’s thrilling and revolutionary play follows a young girl who makes the biggest decision of her life. Set against the back drop of war and mutiny, Grusha seeks refuge and asylum. Her crime: saving the son of the fleeing establishment. Her reward: The Chalk Circle.

This inventive ensemble production draws on Brecht’s pioneering techniques and thrilling text, set to an original score. Launching their 2016 season, The Caucasian Chalk Circle marks Lazarus Theatre’s return to The Jack Studio after their sell out productions of The Revenger’s Tragedy and The Merchant of Venice.

http://www.brockleyjack.co.uk/

What Do Race Labels Really Achieve? Joe Sellman-Leava Explores With His Play Labels

 

Labels by Joe Sellman-Leava

UK Tour January – July 2016
London Press Performance: Thursday 7th April 2016

When I was four years old, my Dad was told our surname might be stopping him from getting a job. So we changed it. It worked.
Worklight Theatre’s award-winning show Labels draws on writer and performer Joe Sellman- Leava’s experiences of being mixed heritage to explore broader issues of racism, immigration and displacement. Labels examines how we use words, the line between curiosity and fear, and the rise of anti-immigration rhetoric.

Despite being born in Gloucestershire, Sellman-Leava grew up constantly being asked where he was really from. Cheltenham! Here, he calls for a fairer, more open-minded society, using his own stories to open a wider discussion about the way we talk about, think about and treat our fellow human beings.

Everything has a label: “black”, “white”, “friend”, “enemy”, “Katie Hopkins”, “the fridge”. As Joe puts white stickers containing such words on himself and us, he explores our need to put people in boxes. Is it simply to create order from chaos? Or to feel superior? (The Scotsman)
Sellman-Leava says:

We are really thrilled that Labels is now travelling to so many parts of the UK (and beyond!) in 2016. Although the story is incredibly personal to me, we always wanted itto connect with as many people as possible. Many people have experiences of being labelled for different reasons. It’s this variety of adversity that Labels talks about.

Labels was inspired by a racism and equality workshop, led by Oscar-winning writer, actor and activist Emma Thompson, at Exeter University in 2009. It premiered in the wake of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Europe and fierce debates around migration and refugees. On reading the script, Thompson, who has spoken out against the UK’s response to the crisis, said, What a terrific piece. I love it. Simple, powerful, important and funny.

Labels won a Scotsman Fringe First Award and the Holden Street Theatre Award at Edinburgh Fringe 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award.

Tour Dates: 

http://www.worklighttheatre.co.uk/

 

You Can’t Pretend Fate Does Not Play A Large Role In The Arts

I was inspired to write this article after performing at a cabaret evening recently, in which the organiser had heard me performing at another concert at Christmas time and asked me to perform at their Valentines themed cabaret dinner. Yes, I know this sounds a pretty run of the mill scenario, but it symbolises how as much as some want to dispute it, fate plays a substantial role in what we do as creatives.

Hard work and determination are the root to all success, this is paramount but ‘being in the right place at the right time’ definitely is the second biggest factor. You can be singing at a friends wedding, or standing in for an actor in a rehearsed reading of a play and boom, someone hears you and the rest is history.

On the other end of the scale however, falling down some stairs the day before a casting is not ideal and can make you think why today? Why now? This can lead to you thinking that everything is working against you and another audition will not be coming up. Another audition WILL come your way, so just see this one as perhaps not right for you, or if it is meant to be, the opportunity will arise again in the future 

Embrace fate it’s what keeps life so interesting as a creative, there’s not much you can do about it anyway!

Being 14 Can Be A Brute: Izzy Tennyson’s Brute Will Perform At Soho Theatre

  

Brute by Izzy Tennyson
Soho Theatre – 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE

Tuesday 15th, Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th March 2016, 7pm

After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015, Izzy Tennyson’s Brute comes to Soho Theatre. Brute (winner of the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award) is an exciting piece of new writing based on the true story of a rather twisted, horrible schoolgirl. Tennyson’s truthful writing is fearless, laced with a deliciously scabrous humour.

Being 14 is an awful age. You’re not a very nice person at 14. No one knows this better than new girl Poppy who has just started at an all-girls’ state school. There are rules with no logic, sadistic jokes that aren’t actually funny and the most sinister games played out of boredom. And, you’d better not be fat or clever or you’re fucked.

Tennyson is a master at making her audience snort with laughter one second only to gasp in horror the next, as the terrible implications of what she’s just said sink in. She’s created a compulsively watchable, strangely relatable, and profoundly disturbed character, who leaves you torn between the desire to give her a stern telling off and to hug her and save her from the world (The Scotsman).

Set in a girls’ school in a provincial English town far away from cosmopolitan and cultural influences, Brute explores memories of the protagonist’s intensely passionate female friendships as they escalate into violence.

Written as a dynamic monologue, the piece is based on girls from Tennyson’s peer group. The themes in Brute explore the economic climate, bullying and female violence along with the complexity of adolescent female friendships. Brute also touches on the sensitive topics of adolescent hysteria and girls’ relationships with authority, especially how female ‘problem cases’ are handled at school.Brute is part of the Soho Rising Season this Spring. Tennyson, part of Soho Theatre’s ‘Soho Young Company’ developed Brute during the Writers’ Lab Course. Soho Education Producer Jules Haworth has worked as Dramaturg on Brute from its inception.

http://www.sohotheatre.com/