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London Theatre News Today: Tuesday 2 February

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 2 February 2021, Last Updated 3 February 2021

Almeida Theatre announces live-streamed performances of Lolita Chakrabarti’s Hymn

Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani. (Photo credit: Zeinab Batchelor)

The world premiere production which was originally due to play to socially distanced audiences will now be streamed live from the theatre for five performances from Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 February. Directed by Blanche McIntyre, the play features Adrian Lester in the role of Gil and Danny Sapani as Benny.

Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold said: “After being forced to cancel the run of Hymn, we’re so pleased to have still found a way to offer the show to audiences and are hugely grateful to the whole company for making it possible. We hope that with the actors performing the play live each night, people watching at home will sense some of that joyful energy that comes from being part of a unique shared experience.”

Tickets to the live stream go on sale to Almeida Members from today and on general sale from Wednesday 3 February midday. Mark your diaries and click here to find out more.


Join us for Theatre Chat Live tonight with Louise Dearman and Oliver Tompsett

If you’re missing theatre and want to meet like-minded fans or to talk about all things stage, don’t forget to tune into our Theatre Chat Live tonight at 6pm on Official London Theatre’s Instagram channel.

This week, we will be joined by West End stars Louise Dearman and Oliver Tompsett, both of whom you have starred in Wicked – the spellbinding West End show we all know and love. We will be talking to Louise and Oliver about what they’ve been up to during lockdown and they’ll be sharing all the details about West End Your Way – a VIP 2-way theatre experience that offers you the chance to be entertained by your fave West End stars in the comfort of your own home. With performances, Q&A’s and more, all planned exclusively for you, this would make the perfect Valentine’s or birthday gift for a stagey loved one. Be sure to tune in to find out more.


James Pigeon appointed as Executive Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

James Pidgeon

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is pleased to announce James Pidgeon as their new Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive, succeeding William Village who takes up his new position as Chief Executive at Delfont Mackintosh Theatres in April.

James is currently Director of Shoreditch Town Hall and has been with the organisation since 2013 (initially as Producer). Responsible for developing the Town Hall’s multi-artform programme, James has led collaborations with the likes of Battersea Arts Centre, Dance Umbrella, LIFT, Manchester International Festival, The Old Vic, Royal & Derngate and Talawa. Under James’ leadership, the non-regularly funded venue has significantly increased its civic function and work in Hackney; heightened its artist development programmes (including partnering with Mountview on a new MA); had its first co-production transfer to the West End (The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Education, Education, Education); and achieved its highest core turnover since the Trust’s formation in 1998. James is on the Advisory Board of Theatre Re, and a Trustee of Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Open Air Theatre Chair, Stuart Griffiths OBE said today: “James’s experience, skills and achievements in his career to date, allied to his passion for extending the boundaries of what is possible for an organisation and venue such as the Open Air Theatre, made him an outstanding candidate. On behalf of the Trustees we are delighted to welcome him to the team at this time when we are developing exciting plans for the future.”

James Pidgeon said: “It is an absolute privilege to be appointed Executive Director at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – I couldn’t be more delighted. I have long admired the ambitious work of this incredibly special theatre that plays such a unique and significant role in the cultural landscape of London and beyond, and I very much look forward to joining Tim in leading the organisation through its next chapter of growth and development.”

Shoreditch Town Hall’s Board of Trustees, said: “We are tremendously grateful to James for his extraordinary vision and stewardship of Shoreditch Town Hall over the past 4 years. During his tenure, James secured the reputation of the Town Hall with a mixture of daring programming, innovative fundraising, and sound commercial acumen coupled with broad development opportunities for both the artistic and local communities. We wish him every success in his new role at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.”

James takes up his position at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre on 21 June 2021.


Donmar Warehouse to release short film, Monuments

In 2021 the Donmar Warehouse is continuing its work with young people and the local community through its Donmar Local programme. During the autumn of 2020, a company of twelve Black, Brown and multiracial young Londoners local to the Donmar Warehouse, worked with director Sara Aniqah Malik, writer Nessah Muthy, director of photography Fẹ́mi Awójídé and movement director Kane Husbands, to produce a bold short film called MONUMENTS.

Young people are pushing for political action, drawing attention to the racialised power structures embedded within society. Change is on the horizon.

MONUMENTS was created in response to the anti-racism movements which swept across the world in 2020. The young company have devised a film that explores how the legacy of the British Empire continues to impact their day to day lives, and how statues in the heart of Westminster are physical reminders of the history of slavery and colonialism.

The film combines original text and movement created by the young people in close collaboration with the experienced creative team. The filming of MONUMENTS took place in December 2020, with cast and crew adhering to government guidelines throughout the shoot.

Michael Longhurst, Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director said “The Donmar’s mission is important stories, thrillingly told, and MONUMENTS is an example of how our artists can do this digitally, even with the restrictions created by the pandemic. I am so inspired by how this young company have explored their own experiences to create a really powerful film.”

MONUMENTS will be available on the Donmar’s YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/donmarwarehouse from 11am Tuesday 9 February 2021. The film will be captioned and an audio described version will also be available on the same date.

MONUMENTS will be accompanied by a special edition of the Donmar Warehouse podcast exploring the process behind the film and its themes. In this episode Donmar Associate Artist Prasanna Puwanarajah will speak to director Sara Aniqah Malik and company members Alexandra Elliott and Omar Williams about the conversations they had during the devising process. The podcast and an accompanying transcript will be released on Soundcloud on Thursday 11 February.

Through Donmar Local, the Donmar works in its home boroughs of Camden and Westminster to produce work that celebrates the stories and voices of the community and share programmes which use theatre as a way to encourage discussion and debate.

The Donmar Warehouse is a charity, and public funding makes up only 7% of its income. The generous support to-date from ticket-buyers, members, trusts, foundations and corporate partners has enabled it not only to deliver much-loved productions but also to work with thousands of young people and communities each year, to develop industry leading artists and to nurture the next generation of theatre audiences. For the Donmar, audience support is more crucial than ever as they look ahead to how they can sustain the organisation over the coming months. To support the Donmar Warehouse and donate during this difficult time, more information can be found at https://www.donmarwarehouse.com/support/



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