facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Caryl Churchill (Photo: Stephen Cummiskey)

Caryl Churchill (Photo: Stephen Cummiskey)

Churchill opens Royal Court 60th year

First Published 12 October 2015, Last Updated 16 October 2015

The world premiere of a new play by renowned writer Caryl Churchill will open the Royal Court’s 60th anniversary season as part of an exciting programme including six world premieres and a new partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas.

Describing the theatre as “60 years new” at a press launch led by Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone, the year-long celebration of the legendary venue’s milestone birthday will include a hefty six world premieres, five UK and worldwide collaborations and a brand new strategy to put young people at the heart of the theatre, including the return of Open Court.

Churchill’s Escaped Alone will open the season from 21 January in the theatre’s Downstairs space, reuniting the seminal Royal Court regular with her former collaborator director James Macdonald.

An apocalyptic drama, Escaped Alone will tell the story of three old friends and a neighbour who sit drinking tea while the end of the world approaches.

The Downstairs season will continue its science fiction theme for Alistair McDowall’s space-set drama X, which plays under the direction of Featherstone from 30 March.

The new play from the writer of the hugely successful recent National Theatre hit Pomona tells the story of a skeleton crew who are stationed to a research base on Pluto. When they lose contact with Earth, they are unable to do anything but wait; time eating away at them as their sanity lies in the balance.

The third production in the Downstairs season marks a new partnership between the Royal Court and Berlin’s legendary Schaubühne, as innovative director Katie Mitchell collaborates with Alice Birch on Ophelias Zimmer, a new exploration of Hamlet’s female protagonist Ophelia.

Playing from 17 May, the run will follow a European premiere in Berlin this December and will be presented at the Royal Court in its original German translation with English surtitles.

The world premiere of Unreachable, a new devised production directed and written by Anthony Neilson, follows from 1 July to tell the story of a film director on the obsessive quest to capture the perfect light.

Completing the Downstairs season from 15 September is Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), a new 19th century play directed by Jo Bonney about a Texas slave who is promised his freedom if he joins his master in the ranks of the Confederacy against the Union.

The theatre’s intimate Jerwood Theatre Upstairs’ season is equally diverse, with five new plays taking audiences from Middlesex to South Africa for tales of everything from foxes taking over the streets of London to the timely issue of FGM.

Pomona director Ned Bennett will open proceedings with Anna Jordan’s critically acclaimed YEN, which transfers following its premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Playing from 22 January, the Bruntwood Prize-winning piece tells the story of two teenage boys who are home alone in Feltham with PlayStation and porn to keep them entertained until the arrival of Jenny turns everything upside down.

Described by the Guardian in its five star review as “extraordinary”, the Royal Court run will reunite its original cast Alex Austin, Sian Breckin, Jake Davies and Annes Elwy.

The play will be followed from 25 February by Olivier Award-winning actor Noma Dumezweni’s directorial debut with Post-Apartheid South Africa-set drama I See You, a co-production with Johannesburg’s Market Theatre.

Created by Handspring Puppet Company’s Mongiwekhaya, the challenging piece, based on the real story of a young student accused of a crime he didn’t commit, addresses the questions of a new generation of South Africans encountering their country’s traumatised past.

Featherstone will take her second directorial credit in the season with David Ireland’s Cyprus Avenue, which follows from 5 April.

A co-production with Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the story centres on Belfast Loyalist Eric Miller, a man obsessed with both his belief that his cultural heritage is under siege and the fact that his granddaughter is in fact Gerry Adams.

Taking things in an entirely different direction, Stef Smith’s tale of a city where nature is out of control, Human Animals, plays from 18 May.

Directed by Royal Court Associate Director Hamish Price, the dystopian vision sees mice scratching between walls, pigeons deceased and foxes ruling the streets as humans are forced to take action before it’s too late.

Completing the season are two dramas about family secrets, Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It (from 24 June) and actor Nathaniel Martello-White’s debut Royal Court play Torn (from 7 Sep).

Directed by Gbolahan Obisesan, Cuttin’ It centres on two teenagers, both born in Somalia but from very different worlds. Tackling the urgent issue of FGM in the UK, as the girls get closer, they discover their families share the same painful secret.

In Martello-White’s Torn, generations of family secrets have broken up the Brook family, but one member is determined to sift through the wreckage and confront the truth.

If the packed programme didn’t mean the Royal Court would be busy enough for its 60th birthday year, it also announced a line-up of events to run alongside.

Continuing its commitment to the development of international writing, the theatre will present readings of plays developed with Syrian and Lebanese writers (7 to 12 March) and partner with annual festival LIFT to present a series of works developed with the theatre’s international communities (June). The year will also launch a series of new initiatives to help get young people involved in the theatre, as well as to take its work outside of its Sloane Square surroundings, both continuing to create work with local artists, schools and organisations in Pimlico and Tottenham, and through a new partnership with Piccadilly’s Picturehouse Cinema, with a gala season of screenings of past Royal Court work planned.

Speaking about the hugely exciting year ahead, Featherstone described the season as “undoubtedly among one of the most internationally outward-looking years the Royal Court has ever seen,” concluding: “The Royal Court has been unique for 60 years – I look forward to launching it into the next 60.”


Sign up

Related articles

Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.