Get your diaries at the ready and prepare to block out most of Autumn, as the Arcola Theatre has just announced its next season for 2019. Made up of seven shows, every play in the season has either been written or adapted by female writers.
Over half of the shows will also be directed by women, and each production will explore the power of truth and imagination in troubled times. Five of the shows will also be premieres for audiences, with two London premieres, one UK premiere, one European premiere and one world premiere.
Here’s what’s coming up in the Arcola Theatre autumn season.
Until The Flood
4 September – 28 September 2019
Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith, this production focuses on the current issue of race in America today.
Making its European premiere, Until The Flood is based on real-life interviews following the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, who was shot and killed by a white police officer.
This gripping and revelatory drama journeys into the heart and soul of modern-day America, confronting powerful forces of history and yearning for change.
Anna Bella Eema
11 September – 12 October 2019
Making its UK premiere, Anna Bella Eema is a mixture of ghost story, fairytale and coming-of-age fantasy.
The show tells the story of young Annabella, who lives in a deserted trailer park and is schooled by her eccentric mother. But she’s certainly not alone, as Annabella co-exists with vampires, werewolves and monsters who lurk outside. But when a new highway threatens to demolish her home, Annabella creates a girl out of mud to protect her. And soon the mud girl, named Anna Bella Eema, comes to life.
Inspired by American Gothic storytelling, the show is written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour, and explores themes of courage, resistance and change.
Meet Me At Dawn
9 October – 9 November 2019
Inspired by the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, Meet Me At Dawn is a tale of devotion and loss.
Helen and her girlfriend Robyn are stranded on an island in the middle of a sea, after their boat trip goes terribly wrong. But as night closes in, it becomes evident that the island isn’t what it first appeared…and neither are Helen and Robyn…
A London premiere, the show is written by multi-award winner Zinnie Harris.
16 October – 16 November 2019
Created by actor and writer Maxine Peake, this production tells the true story of cyclist Beryl Burton OBE, and explores the historic and inspirational struggles of women in sport.
Beryl was twice a World Road-race Champion, and five times World Pursuit Champion, but she was never meant to cycle.
At the age of just 11, a serious illness left her with a weakened heart, and she was advised to stay away from strenuous exercise for the rest of her life.
But at the age of 30, despite a lack of financial sponsorship, Beryl became the first sportswoman in history to break a men’s competitive record.
Featuring a whole host of unforgettable characters and a great big dollop of Northern wit, the play tells the extraordinary true story of a woman who pushed at the limits, took on the status quo – and won.
13 November – 7 December 2019
One of three true stories in Arcola Theatre’s season of shows, #WeAreArrested is the first co-production between the Arcola Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the age of fake news, this show explores the current risks faced by journalists as they try to uncover the truth.
The story follows a journalist, who is sent a flash-drive full of evidence showing illegal government activity. Duty-bound to share the story with the world, but aware of the division it will cause, what price will he pay for printing his story?
A deeply personal story making its London premiere, the show is adapted from the book by Can Dündar, who was arrested for publishing footage of Turkish State Intelligence sending weapons into Syria.
20 November – 21 December 2019
Making its world premiere, this show tells the story of a young man who moves to a big city, with big dreams of making it as a writer. But his new home is unforgiving, and with no friends and no job, hunger starts to rock his reality. Can his youthful spirit – and his sanity – survive?
A bold adaptation of the novel written by Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun, it’s a groundbreaking tale about a mind on the margins, and our universal yearning for connection.
Based on his own experiences of poverty prior to becoming Norway’s most celebrated novelist, Knut’s story revolutionised the psychological novel and influenced writers from Franz Kafka to Ernest Hemingway.
10 December – 21 December 2019
Award-winning playwright Winsome Pinnock revisits and reimagines her 2005 play about the power of guilt and the quest for atonement.
The story focuses on Tube driver Cyrus, who’s investigating why a stranger called Sonny jumped in front of his train. Desperate to find out the truth, he has to face the troubling possibility that all routes lead back to him.
Acclaimed director Amit Sharma joins forces with Winsome for this deeply powerful drama about searching for meaning in a complex world.
Public booking for all of Arcola Theatre’s autumn season opens on Wednesday 10 July at 10am.