Royal Court season announced

Published April 17, 2008

Artistic Director Dominic Cooke has revealed details of the spring 2008 season at the Royal Court. New plays by Debbie Tucker Green, Martin Crimp, Fiona Evans, Anthony Neilson, Olivier Choinière and Levi David Addai follow David Hare’s The Vertical Hour, which opens the season in January. Meanwhile, away from the main stages, works by Mark Ravenhill and Mike Bartlett will be staged in unusual spaces around the building.

In the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Tucker Green’s new play Random, directed by Sacha Wares, and Crimp’s The City, directed by Katie Mitchell, follow The Vertical Hour. Random (7 March-12 April) was first presented at the Royal Court as part of the 2007 Rough Cuts season of works-in-progress. Tucker Green’s previous works include Generations, Trade, Stoning Mary, Dirty Butterfly and Born Bad, for which she won the 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer in an Affiliate Theatre.

The City (24 April-7 June) is a darkly comic mystery in which three characters fight to make sense of a surreal and collapsing world. Crimp’s other work includes Attempts On Her Life, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1997 and was revived at the National this year, directed by Mitchell. The pair has also worked together on Crimp’s The Country, Face To The Wall and the playwright’s version of Chekhov’s The Seagull at the National last year.

The season on the main stage continues in summer 2008 with a series of plays that were hits in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs this year, presented under the banner Upstairs Downstairs. Further details are to be announced.

Meanwhile, winter/spring in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs begins with Rough Cuts (14-28 January), the Royal Court’s bi-annual season of diverse and experimental works-in-progress, and continues with Evans’s Scarborough (7 February-8 March), Choinière’s Bliss (28 March-26 April), Addai’s Oxford Street (2-31 May) and a new, as yet untitled, play by Neilson (6 June-5 July).

Scarborough won a Fringe First Award when it was presented at the Edinburgh Festival this year. Staged at the Royal Court in a new two-part production directed by Deborah Bruce, it tells of the dangerously charged romance between Lauren and Daz, one a teenager, the other their teacher.

French Canadian playwright Choinière took part in the Royal Court’s 2007 International Residency for Emerging Playwrights. His new play Bliss, translated for this production by Royal Court regular Caryl Churchill (Top Girls, Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?) is billed as “a wild new play about celebrity and fantasy”.

The comic new play Oxford Street looks beyond the glossy façade of the high street at the stories and ambitions of the workers within. Playwright Addai is the author of 93.2FM, which was staged at the Royal Court in 2005 and revived in 2006.

Finally, Neilson will create and direct a new play at the Royal Court following the success of The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, which recently won Best Touring Production in the TMA Theatre Awards. Neilson’s other plays include Stitching, Penetrator and God In Ruins, a new play which premieres at the Soho in December.

Also next year, as part of Cooke’s commitment to fostering a spirit of experimentalism, Ravenhill’s Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat and Bartlett’s Contractions will be staged in unusual spaces around the Royal Court. Ravenhill is the author of Shopping And F***ing, Handbag, Faust Is Dead and The Cut. Bartlett’s previous works include My Child, staged at the Royal Court in May.

Commenting on the season, Cooke said: “The best plays are written by those who need to tell a story, and these are the writers to whom we’ve turned this season – writers whose perspectives on the world are urgent and vivid. Our programming reflects a thrilling variety of voices from different backgrounds telling stories about the way we live now, which is exactly what I think the Royal Court exists to do, as a theatre for new writing.

I’m delighted that we’ve been able to put together a season in which our greatest and most established writers such as David Hare and Caryl Churchill share the same theatre as younger writers like Fiona Evans and Levi David Addai. I’m determined to find ways of building our audience among those groups who might not normally go to the theatre. The sheer breadth and variety of our new season will enable us to reach out to new communities, as well as continuing the tradition of innovation and experimentation which is at the heart of the Royal Court’s mission.”

Kicking off the season, Hare’s The Vertical Hour runs from 18 January-1 March in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.

CB