The Royal Court is to present theatre in a disused shop in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre under a new project entitled Theatre Local.
The new scheme follows a successful pilot in June 2008 when the Royal Court presented Levi David Addai’s play Oxford Street in the same space.
The project, which runs for three years under a £100,000 sponsorship deal with Bloomberg, will begin with a year of productions in the space at Elephant and Castle, with the intention of extending the project to other London communities in subsequent years.
Theatre Local opens on 3 March with Debbie Tucker Green’s play Random, which was presented at the Royal Court in 2008, to be followed over the next six months by three plays from the Royal Court’s current season in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs: Disconnect by Anupama Chandrasekhar; The Empire by DC Moore; and Anya Reiss’s Spur Of The Moment.
Productions will be “unplugged” said Royal Court Artistic Director Dominic Cooke, with minimal set and lighting. As with the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, the space will be reconfigured for each production, with passers-by able to see in through the large windows facing into the shopping centre.
Tickets will be on sale at a flat rate of £8 (concessions £5), with 70% on sale the week of the show.
The scheme, which has been three years in the planning, is “a significant experiment in the relationship between art and audiences,” said Cooke, as well as an attempt to “reach beyond our buildings” and present to new audiences who might not go to the Sloane Square venue. “There are many people who are willing to engage in theatre but don’t like the idea of going into a theatre building. Those people should have the opportunity to engage with our work,” he said.
Though the initial four productions are all transfers from the Royal Court, Cooke said he hoped to create new work in the space in the future.