As Indhu Rubasingham unveiled her first season as Artistic Director of the Tricycle theatre today, she confirmed that the future of the Brent venue lay in developing partnerships.
Eclipse Theatre Company will be the first company to build a new relationship with the influential venue, sparked by a staging of 1970s comedy One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, billed as “The Cosby Show meets Restoration Comedy” from 16 January 2012 to 9 February.
The tale of a middle-class black family in Philadelphia whose life is shaken up by the arrival of their niece from the South, is the third production in a season that also includes the Tricycle’s first family Christmas production, The Arabian Nights, the world premieres of a new play by Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet, and new play with music Paper Dolls.
Red Velvet (11 October to 24 November), which will feature the Olivier Award-winning Hustle star Adrian Lester, tells the often forgotten story of Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor, who, in the 19th century, built an incredible reputation on the stages of London and Europe. Set in 1833, Chakrabarti’s play follows the reaction as Aldridge is asked to step into the shoes of an incapacitated Edmund Kean for a performance of Othello.
The Arabian Nights (30 November to 12 January 2013) is the story of an unmarried girl in the court of the brutal King Shahryar, who must use her imagination and story-telling skills to survive. The family show will be directed by Lu Kemp, Associate Artist with award-winning theatre company Inspector Sands.
The second world premiere of the season, Paper Dolls (28 February to 13 April) is based on an award-winning documentary and tell the story of a group of Filipino immigrants who work in Tel Aviv as live-in carers for elderly Orthodox Jewish men six days a week. On the seventh they are transform into sassy musical drag act The Paper Dolls.
Written by Philip Himberg, Producing Artistic Director of influential US theatre development organisation the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, Paper Dolls, like Red Velvet, will be directed by Rubasingham, who said today: “I am seeking to view the world through different lenses, where unheard voices are brought into the mainstream. I believe it’s these global, contemporary stories, and the connections they make to each of us that keep theatre immediate and pertinent. Situated in Brent, the most diverse borough in London, The Tricycle is a local venue with an international vision.”
Fans of the theatre’s previous work may be surprised to see that the new season does not include any political plays, the venue having built a reputation for such verbatim and thematic pieces under Kent. Rubasingham admitted that were she to try to recreate such theatrical pieces, she would be a “pale imitation” of her predecessor, adding that what she learned most from him was his ability to take risks, a quality she hopes to bring to her period at the venue which would be about “provoking, engaging and providing quality”.