For the second year running, the Young Vic theatre will host annual political initiative Theatre Uncut, presenting six new plays by playwrights including Neil LaBute, all of which will tackle topical debates from the future of Page Three to the Occupy movement.
Theatre Uncut began life in 2011 in response to public spending cuts and has continued to annually challenge a group of established and emerging playwrights to write short pieces in response to a topical question with the aim of getting audiences talking and taking action.
Following public consultation, 2013’s season will ask “Do we all get more right wing in hard times”, with the six plays to be directed by Theatre Uncut’s co-Artistic Directors Hannah Price and Emma Callander, the latter of which expressed her belief in the project saying, “We feel it’s more important now than ever to make our voices heard, continue to question the morality of the current system and find ways to create a fairer world together.”
Taking place from 19 to 23 November, the line-up includes a new piece by West End regular LaBute (Fat Pig, In A Forest, Dark And Deep) entitled Pick One, which looks at a controversial way to solve America’s problems as dreamt up by three middle-aged men. Political activist and comedian Mark Thomas’ pithily titled Church Forced To Put Up Gates After Front Is Used As Wash Basin By Migrants, a darky witty tale of a right wing newspaper owner who is visited by some disgruntled readers, will also premiere, while former TEAM Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin will present The Recipe, a “recipe of theatrical provocations” that will be devised and performed each night by a different emerging company.
This year’s ‘emerging playwright’ slots are taken by Tim Price, Kieran Hurley and Clara Brennan. Price’s Capitalism Is Crisis imagines what happens when a banker discovers the power of Occupy and an activist discovers the power of money, while Hurley’s Amanda takes on politics, centring on one politician’s daily struggle to make tough decisions when the stakes are high. Lastly, Brennan’s The Wing takes inspiration from the high-profile No More Page 3 campaign to centre on a father and daughter squaring off over The Sun’s famous daily slot, as well as the equally topical English Defence League, revealing widely different reactions to austerity.
Explaining the premise behind 2013’s inspirational question, Callander said: “Three years ago the austerity measures were announced and thousands of people were out on the streets fighting for their rights. Now, as we see the brutal effects of the reforms to the welfare, education and health systems, public protest is more scarce. Is there a sense of defeat or are we getting more right wing in our hard times?”
Following the run at the Young Vic theatre, Theatre Uncut will continue its policy to make the plays available to the public to download and perform. To date more than 3,000 people have performed works produced as a result of the initiative in more than 17 countries, collecting Fringe First Awards and a nomination for an Amnesty International Freedom of Speech Award.