Two days after Shakespeare’s birthday (23 April), I’ll still be celebrating the bard myself as I make my Royal Shakespeare Company ‘debut’ chairing a panel discussion in Stratford-upon-Avon connected with their new production of The Taming of the Shrew.
Kate & Petruchio in the age of #MeToo
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the #MeToo social media movement saw widespread reporting of sexual assault and harassment.
In contrast, Elizabethan women were expected to submit to a ‘suitable’ marriage regardless of their feelings or ambitions. In the RSC’s new production of The Taming of the Shrew, the genders are reversed, which allows a modern audience to question the balance of power between Petruchio and Kate.
This event, for which I’ll be joined by the play’s director Justin Audibert and other expert guests, runs as part of the RSC’s “Society and the Individual” series of discussion events in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Taming of the Shrew stars Claire Price as Petruchia and Joseph Arkley as Katherine, with Amanda Harris as Baptista, Sophie Stanton as Gremia, James Cooney as Bianca, Amelia Donkor as Hortensia and Richard Clews as Grumio.
Shakespeare’s fierce, energetic comedy of gender and materialism is turned on its head to offer a fresh perspective on its portrayal of hierarchy and power.
In a reimagined 1590, England is a matriarchy. Baptista Minola is seeking to sell off her son Katherine to the highest bidder. Cue an explosive battle of the sexes in this electrically charged love story.
Production photography by Ikin Yum.
Calling all David Bowie fans! Come join me for this acclaimed new play and help me mark my Drayton Arms Theatre post-show Q&A debut at the same time.
HEROES is a coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1972 to the soundtrack of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The humdrum lives of Joe and Billie are changed forever after witnessing David Bowie performing Starman for the first time on Top of the Pops.
Determined to attend Bowie’s upcoming London gig, the friends leave home on what becomes a rollercoaster ride of self-discovery where the lines between hero worship and friendship become blurred.
HEROES is co-written by Bebe and Tony Barry and directed by Ben Woodhall. It’s presented by Exploding Whale, hot off the heels of their Offie-nominated production of Much Ado About Nothing, which was directed by Ellie Morris (of the Oliver Award-winning Mischief Theatre) and had sell-out runs at Katzpace, Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe, Bridge House Theatre, and Sydenham Arts Festival.
HEROES stars Henry George Lewis and Bebe Barry as Joe and Billie. They’re joined in the cast by Gregory Birks, Julian Bailey Jones, Mica Williams, Lily Smith and Dan Ciotkowski.
Following the 7.30pm performance on Tuesday 30 April 2019, I’ll chair a post-show Q&A with the HEROES writers and company. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS!
The Cervantes Theatre continues to both bring the best of Spanish drama to London and to champion female voices.
The theatre’s third New Spanish Playwriting season comprises UK premieres of Denise Despeyroux‘s The Reality, Maria Prado’s On/From Debris and Eva Hibernia’s The Old Masters.
The season opens with The Reality, translated by Sarah Maitland. In this haunting new play, twin sisters attempt an awkward exercise of pretending to be someone else, taking them close to the line that separates good and evil; the love of life and destruction; lucidity and madness.
What do you do to pose as someone inside of you? Can you love the living in the same way that you have love for the dead? Is darkness hindered by light?
Maite Jauaregui stars, directed by Raymi Renee, with set design by Mariachiara Maracci, lighting by Nigel Lewis and assistant direction by Imogen Hudson Clayton.
The Reality (La Realidad) was a finalist for the 2013 Max Revelation Prize. Denise Despeyroux is a playwright and director whose work has been presented in Madrid, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Her other accolades include the Federico García Lorca Award.
After Anomaly earlier this year, I’m delighted to return to the Old Red Lion Theatre to work with another exciting up-and-coming female playwright and production company.
“I love the bones of yeh then and I love them now.”
Christmas Eve. 1948. Deep in the heart of Galway, Eamonn, the fattest baby you’ve ever seen, is found abandoned in a manger.
Seventy years later, after struggling to make amends with his estranged daughter Sarah and grandson Ben, one final and fateful action leaves the next two generations of his family reeling.
Winner of the Methuen Drama and Marlowe Society Other Prize 2017, Rachel Tookey‘s Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem is a visceral and candid new play about the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.
The cast are Daragh O’Malley (star of the long-running hit show Sharpe alongside Sean Bean), Madeleine Bowyer (Black Mirror, Emmerdale, Holby City) and Daniel Rainford, directed by Thomas Martin with music by multi-award-winning composer Hollie Buhagiar. MGCFutures-supported company Voxie Productions presents.
This sounds like such a fascinating piece – and I’m looking forward to making my Q&A debut at the Coronet. Now a beautiful theatre, I also have such fond memories of seeing films at this renowned address when I used to live in west London and it was my local cinema.
In The Glass Piano, receiving its world premiere at the Print Room at the Coronet, Princess Alexandra thought her life would never change, living in the palace with her father, the hopeless poet King Ludwig, her maid Galstina, and glimpses of her mother as she runs across the lawn.
And of course, there’s the matter of the grand piano made of glass that she swallowed as a child, sitting inside her at all times. But when Lucien Bonaparte arrives, suddenly anything seems possible…
Laced with dry humour, Alix Sobler’s accomplished play transports you to a 19th-century Bavarian palace to find four characters trapped by their situations, and prevented from fulfilling their dreams of love.
The Glass Piano is directed by Max Key, who was Olivier nominated for It Is Easy To Be Dead at Trafalgar Studios, described by Michael Billington as “a beautifully orchestrated production” in a five-star Guardian review.
Princess Alexandra is played by Grace Molony (Best Actress at The Stage Debut Awards in 2017) alongside Timothy Walker, Laurence Ubong Williams and Olivier Award winner Suzan Sylvester. A new lyrical score, composed by Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei Prokofiev), is played live on stage by prize-winning concert pianist Elizabeth Rossiter.
Oscar-winning French musical composer, conductor and pianist Michel Legrand passed away in January at the age of 86. Such a shame that he is not around to see this long-overdue UK professional premiere of his five-time Tony-nominated 2002 musical Amour.
Paris, 1950 – a shy, unassuming civil servant, Dusoleil, lives alone and works diligently in a dreary office. To pass the time, he writes letters to his mother and daydreams about the beautiful Isabelle, who is kept locked away by her controlling husband.
When Dusoleil miraculously gains the ability to walk through walls, he not only begins to lead a double life, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor to right the wrongs of his war-impoverished Parisian neighbours, but also gains the self-confidence to woo Isabelle and, just for a while, live the life he has always longed for.
This musical fantasy about daring to dream and the power of self-belief has music by Michel Legrand with English lyrics by Jeremy Sams (from the original French by Didier Van Cauwelaert). Adapted from the 1943 short story Le Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé, Amour opened on Broadway in 2002 and was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
In this major new production, Gary Tushaw stars as Dusoleil, Anna O’Byrne as Isabelle and Alasdair Harvey as the Prosecutor, who are joined by Elissa Churchill, Claire Machin, Keith Ramsay, Steven Serlin, Alistair So and Daniel Stockton. Hannah Chissick directs, Danielle Tarento produces.
After events for Edward II, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Taming of the Shrew, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Beggar’s Opera and Tamburlaine, I’m delighted to reunite with Lazarus Theatre to chair a series of post-show debates with the company and its guests at Greenwich Theatre: Shakespeare’s The Tempest, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Oscar Wilde’s Salome.
“Salomé, Salomé, dance for me.
I pray thee dance for me…”
Sexual, fiery, dangerous and decadent…
King Herod asks Salomé to dance for him… this request leads to The Dance of the Seven Veils and one of the most shocking, thrilling and scandalous climaxes ever seen on stage.
Originally banned in Britain, Oscar Wilde’s outrageously provocative 1891 Salomé comes to the stage in this exotic and exquisite new, 90-minute production, adapted and directed by Lazarus Theatre artistic director Ricky Dukes. It’s the final production in Lazarus second year-long residency at The Greenwich Theatre.
For the Q&A after the 7.30pm performance of Salome on Tuesday 21 May 2019, I’ll be joined by Ricky Dukes and a panel of expert guests.