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What's On
STORMING
STORMING

Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


Directed by Anthony Shrubsall

With Chris Barritt, Edmund Sage-Green and Bu Kunene.


RUSTY             My lawyer told me they aren't allowed to kill people who are nuts. So they have to medicate me to make me appear less nuts. They have to restore competence. Then they can charge me and try me and find me guilty of murder and execute me. (STORMING! by Gail Louw)


Based on Russell Weston's true story, STORMING! follows the aftermath of his 1998 Capitol storming. Afflicted with schizophrenia, Weston faces court battles over forced medication and potential execution.


STORMING! intricately weaves mental illness, justice, and blurred realities into a gripping and thought-provoking theatrical experience.


EXCITING WORK "Though a rehearsed reading, this is a superb play in embryo, keenly directed by Anthony Shrubsall. "Storming!" though stands alone, a wholly original twist to a growing alarm-bell of ethics." (Play reading at Jermyn Street Theatre, Fringe Review, Simon Jenner).


Theatre

RIKAS ROOMS
RIKAS ROOMS

Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


Written by Gail Louw 

Directed by Anthony Shrubsall

With Emma Wilkinson Wright (The Mitfords)


“ Wilkinson Wright managed the narrative as an odyssey punctuated by screams. Its already a phenomenal performance, and the actor is so wholly immersed in Rika you know you are in the presence of something remarkable” (Play reading at Jermyn Street Theatre, Fringe Review, Simon Jenner).


Rika’s Rooms is inspired by the playwright’s own mother, who moved from Nazi Germany to Palestine and then into the midst of Apartheid, where Rika becomes a war victim and freedom fighter. Aged seventy six, living in England with dementia, Rika inhabits two worlds: the present, which makes no sense, and the past, populated by ghosts.


Production Company OXIA Theatre

Executive Producer APTER ART


Theatre

The Lady with the Dog
The Lady with the Dog

by Anton Chekhov

Director Dmitrij Turchaniniov

With James Viller as Dmitri Gurov & Anya Viller/Victoria Valcheva as Anna Sergeyvna


Set Design Yifei Ma
Costume Design/SM Liisa Zukova

Producer ART THEATRE LONDON


ART Theatre present their revival of their popular performance THE LADY WITH THE DOG by Anton Chekhov, a poetic and humorous tale of love, the unmasking of oneself and how society shapes our relationships and views.

This “strikingly elegant” and “expressive work of art” in the style of "fantastic realism" examines our attitudes towards sex and trivial romances, women's rights, our treatment of each other, and how society impacts our behaviour. 



Theatre

Hugh Hefner After Dark
Hugh Hefner After Dark

The freedom to speak out, to express one’s individual ideas resonates at the heart of “Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking out in America”, a documentary featuring the most cutting edge personalities and the most captivating jazz, blues and rock performances from his landmark TV Series, “Playboy’s Penthouse” and “Playboy After Dark” aired in the late 50s and late 60s. Alongside a treasure trove of musical gems, the film features candid conversations about freedom of speech, racism and progressive politics at a time when Hefner was one of the few with enough conviction to give the voices of dissent airtime.


Principal Cast/Interviewees: WHOOPI GOLDBERG | TONY BENNETT | KITTY BRUCE | JOHN KAY | ROGER McGUINN | LEON KENNEDY | JIM BROWN | TAJ MAHAL | JOAN BAEZ | PETE SEEGER | DICK GREGORY | TIM HAUSER | JOHN BURK | GENE SIMMONS | BARBARA DANE | BARRY MELTON | BRUCE BELLAND | SIVI ABERG | ROBERT CLARY | ANNIE ROSS | DICK ROSENZWEIG | MICHAEL WADLEIGH | LINDA RONSTADT | CHARLES STROUSE | SMOKEY ROBINSON | BILL MAHER | RON SIMON | HUGH HEFNER

Documentary

Nearly Lear
Nearly Lear

Part of the Playground's Pick of the Fringe


Written by Susanna Hamnett and Edith Tankus

Performed by Susanna Hamnett

Directed by Edith Tankus

Additional Direction/Stage Management by Steve MacGregor


OUTSTANDING SHOW "Intense, energetic, inventive, and deeply moving" Fringe Review  

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "A magical, operatic, world-class theatrical experience" Edinburgh Guide 

★ ★ ★ ★ WEBF


What if the great story of King Lear were told through the eyes of his closest companion? In this award-winning and internationally acclaimed one-woman tour-de-force, Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool - and every other character - to tell a story that is by turns poignant, mischievous, tragic and hilarious.



Theatre

Gail Louw Double Bill The Mitfords and The Good Dad
Gail Louw Double Bill The Mitfords and The Good Dad

Part of the Playground's Pick of the Fringe


A double bill by the multi-award winning playwright Gail Louw


THE MITFORDS 

Performed by Emma Wilkinson Wright 

Direction and Dramaturgy by Anthony Shrubsall and Sarah Lawrie 


SOLD OUT EdFringe Show

★ ★ ★ ★ Through tone and gesture, Emma moves between the role of each sister seamlessly. One4review

★ ★ ★ ★ "a good performance to catch." Theatre, Film and Arts

“A phenomenal performance... gripping” Fringe Review 

“A superb one-women show” The Spectator

“Wilkinson Wright is a tremendous actress” - Broadway World


In a century littered with dynastic families and the parts they played in history, few names are as fascinating as those of the Mitford Sisters with their controversial beliefs, marriages and extraordinary lives. 



THE GOOD DAD (A Love Story)

Performed by Sarah Lawrie 

Direction by Anthony Shrubsall


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Essential and compelling viewing. Marvel at an actress right on top of her game" Close-Up Culture

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "This is a play that deserves to be seen" Theatre and Art Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "One of those glorious theatrical experiences when writing and performance combine to make something truly special" The Real Chrisparkle

★ ★ ★ ★  "Superb insight into a family destoyed by dark secrets... a tremendous performance" The Wee Review

★ ★ ★ ★  "Sarah Lawrie is a powerhouse" Broadway World

★ ★ ★ ★ HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe

Based on real life events from the 1980s, three-times Off West End Award-nominated THE GOOD DAD (A LOVE STORY) is the latest one-woman play from Gail Louw. This haunting drama is told from the perspectives of mother, daughter and sister, and asks what it means to be a family.



Theatre

The Quality of Mercy
The Quality of Mercy

Part of the Playground's Pick of the Fringe


Writer and Performer | Edwin Flay

Director and Dramaturg | Bernie C. Byrnes

Producer | Sarah Lawrie

Sound Designer | Kirsty Gillmore

Lighting Designer and Production Manager | Adam Bottomley

Videographer | Neil Monaghan


From his cell in the dead of night, Dr Harold Shipman records a confessional tape as he prepares to end his life. Patiently fashioning a crude noose, he reflects on the choices, compulsions and fascinations that cemented his place as the most prolific serial killer in British history. Exhaustively researched, this multiple award-nominated drama interrogates society's attitudes towards death, justice and compassion, and is written and performed by Edwin Flay, the grandson of Shipman victim Renee Lacey.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Fascinating, well-paced drama" Reviews Hub

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Edwin’s portrayal of Shipman is mesmerising" One4Review

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Shocking and moving" Theatre, Films and Arts

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ West End Best Friend

★ ★ ★ ★ ★  Theatre Weekly

★ ★ ★ ★ ★  West End Best Friend 

Theatre

RUBY WAX
RUBY WAX

Written and Performed by Ruby Wax


Director & Artistic Collaborator: Alison Summers

Set Designer: Bob Crowley

Sound Designer: Eleanor Isherwood

Lighting Designer: Matt Eagland

Tour & Production Manager: Tine Selby 


After four years, Ruby returns to the stage following her critically acclaimed, sell out tour, How To Be Human.


See her in the rawest, darkest and funniest stage show yet.


This is a Work in Process and a chance for audience to see Ruby Wax performing in her brand new play and help shape the show, before she embarks on her UK tour. Followed by Q&A.


Work in Progress

The Time Has Come
The Time Has Come

The Playground Theatre and local not-for-profit iBlackbird have teamed up to produce a summer long festival of events celebrating the community brought to us by the Windrush and other boats.

 

‘We Are Not A Boat’

We are putting the community at the heart of the creation of this Festival. This community does not want to be reduced to being a boat, an alien, or wheeled out once a year to tell its story. These are events run for the community, by the community, with The Playground helping to produce each one.


22nd JUNE | 11AM FREE

Windrush Day -  Raise of the Windrush Flag 


23rd JULY |  2PM – 10PM FREE

ROOTS CULTURE FESTIVAL - Celebrating Legends of  Reggae and Culture | Portobello Green


29th JULY | 3PM & 7PM (Suggested Donations)

THE TIME HAS COME  by Makonnen | The Playground Theatre


Written and Directed by Makonenn

With Charles Tomlin, Lovena Brown and Intermission Youth Theatre

Music by DJ STEVE (One Love)

Set and Costume Design by Georgia Wilmot
Produced by Flower Veronica’s Daughter (iBlackbird) and Phil Correia (The Playground Theatre)


Community Show

THE LAPWING ACT
THE LAPWING ACT

The Lapwing Act, a theatrical adaptation of a chapter from Patrick Galbraith’s critically acclaimed book, In Search of One Last Song.

The Lapwing Act will fly audiences through time and place from Rochdale to West Wales, via canals, motorway flyovers, and the Manchester Mosses.

This is a haunting exploration of presence and absence. The fate of the lapwing, a beautiful iridescent wading bird is bound up with the march of time, with progress and destruction.

New Work

THE GIRL IN THE GREEN JUMPER
THE GIRL IN THE GREEN JUMPER

Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


Written by Gail Louw 

Directed by Christian Holder 

Peter Tate as Cyril Mann and Natalie Ava Nasr as Renske


RENSKE    I'm going to tell the world about you, Mr Mann.

CYRIL        (smiles) What you gonna say?

(The Girl In The Green Jumper by Gail Louw) 



Why was a pretty Dutch-Indonesian girl, just turned 20, swept off her feet by a dirt-poor, maverick artist, Cyril Mann (1911-1980), more than twice her age?


He scratched a living, teaching part time, which exhausted him but was his only financial lifeline: “Teaching youngsters like you, to become artists and failures like me is depressing. It stops me painting,” he groaned.


Peter Tate, previously seen as Picasso in Picasso: Le Monstre Sacre takes the challenging role of struggling, bipolar middle-aged London artist Cyril Mann, seen by the eyes of his 20 years old young partner for life. 

 

Gail Louw’s new play, based on Renske’s memoir,  "The Girl in a Green Jumper - My Life with the Artist Cyril Mann", paints a riveting picture of Renske and Cyril’s roller-coaster life and relationship, played out against the 1960s – which never ‘swung’ for them – and turbulent ‘70s.

Theatre

BLONDE POISON
BLONDE POISON

Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


Written by Gail Louw

Directed by Fred Abrahamse

With Fiona Ramsay


All the way from Cape Town we welcome Fiona Ramsay – one of South Africa’s most acclaimed actors. Fiona reprises her role as Stella Goldschlag, nicknamed ‘Blonde Poison’ by the Gestapo.


This is a gripping play by Gail Louw, which deals with themes of betrayal, survival, beauty and treachery, in a world beset with mistrust and espionage.


BLONDE POISON has been performed in eight productions throughout the world, including at the Sydney Opera House, in LA and Berlin. It won an Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence in Brighton.


“ without doubt, one of the finest pieces of solo theatre ever to have been performed”. What’s on Stage


Theatre

ICED
ICED

"ICED is a fictional diary of one man's life and descent into addiction. It has become a revolutionary work in the contemporary literary scene, highlighting the consequences of white centered, short sighted policies regarding undeserved communities.'  CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS


Fundraising event presenting an excerpt from ICED: BLACK THOUGHTS IN AN EARLY MOON by Ray Shell - a new play in development at the Playground Theatre and adapted from Shell's book ICED.


Cast: Althea Wolfe as MAMA Lee Payne as JACOUB & DADDY Cindy Chawula as LORRAINE Elias Osei-kissi as NATE Claire Coull as LINDA & PIA Eleasha Larty as MADDIE

Dancers: Claire Miller | Tara Ivory 


Fundraising

Concert in F
Concert in F

Devised and Directed by Filomena Campus in collaboration with Anthony Biggs


Original compositions and arrangements by Steve Lodder


A new international production celebrating Italy’s iconic female artists, from theatre legend Franca Rame to queer feminist author Michela Murgia and singer Maria Carta.

Theatre/Jazz

PICASSO
PICASSO

Part of the Playground's Pick of the Fringe


Peter Tate as Picasso

Co-Adapted by Peter Tate and Guy Masterson from the original work by Terry d'Alfonso

Directed by Guy Masterson


AFTER A ED FRINGE RUN WITH 5 & 4 STARS REVIEWS PICASSO: LE MONSTRE SACRE IS BACK ONCE MORE TO THE PLAYGROUND THEATRE


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "marvellous, brilliant, enthralling" British Theatre Guide  

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "an artistic and theatrical masterpiece." Edinburgh Guide 

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ UK Theatre Network  

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Peter Tate is mesmerising in this one man tour de force." One4Review 

★ ★ ★ ★ "burns into your soul both seductive and shocking" North West End  

★ ★ ★ ★  "an absorbing, sharply textured piece." Culture Fix 

★ ★ ★ ★ Quintessential Review  

★ ★ ★ ★ ReviewsHub 

★ ★ ★ ★  The UpComing 



 

Theatre

The Devils Passion
The Devils Passion

Part of the Playground's Pick of the Fringe


Written & Performed by Justin Butcher

Directed by Guy Masterson

Designed by Sean Cavanagh

Lighting Design by Tom Turner

Sound Design by Jack C. Arnold

Video Design by Damian Hale & Christian Krupa


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Butcher dances these scenes exquisitely … breathtaking, fluid and haunting. A riveting, witty performance with fine attention to detail."  British Theatre Guide

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Magnificent, Satirical, darkly comic." Observer

★ ★ ★ ★ "Clarity, precision and a mastery of the craft. He is a privilege to watch." Broadway Baby 

★ ★ ★ ★ UK Theatre Web


33 AD. Jesus enters Jerusalem to fulfil his destiny. Satan ascends from Hell to stop him.


A battle begins – for the soul of humanity.


‘… Within the next hour, our operatives will isolate, engage and capture or kill the notorious leader of the most extreme, dangerous and contagious ideology to emerge in the modern era, whose terror activities represent the gravest threat to our interests across the region and the wider world. I refer, of course, to the radical preacher and populist demagogue Y’shua Bar Yessuf, the man known by way of shorthand to our operatives as “Jesus” …’


Theatre

SOMETHING UNSPOKEN by Tennessee Williams and ARTEFACT by Rena Brannan
SOMETHING UNSPOKEN by Tennessee Williams and ARTEFACT by Rena Brannan


Directed by Anthony Biggs 


ARTEFACT

By Rena Brannan


With Sophie Ward and Sarah Lawrie


In 1965, Betty Ford discovers an unopened love letter from her old college roommate. As she walks along the Potomac, she thinks about her chosen life and the life she could have led.



SOMETHING UNSPOKEN

By Tennessee Williams 


with Amanda Waggott and Sarah Lawrie


Originally written as a companion piece with Suddenly Last Summer, Something Unspoken is a short, comic tale of suppressed love and desire from the one of the 20th Century’s greatest playwrights.


Theatre

Griswold
Griswold

The story of the 65-year-old woman who engineered her own criminal arrest on the eve of the sexual revolution, and the extraordinary events leading to establishment of the right of sexual privacy in the United States.


“This piece is, frankly, utter perfection… A stunning piece of feminist theatre.” — Rhianon Ling. (Adjudicator National Women’s Theatre Festival)


‘Griswold’, recipient of multiple playwriting awards, by the acclaimed Angela J Davis is part of WELL READ LIVE! Programme (recently Greensboro: A Requiem). Local community members sit side-by-side with professional actors from Hollywood and beyond, to share a  play aloud, followed by an open discussion led by selected experts, with music, surprise performances and free community food from 6pm. Read from 7pm.

Community Reading

TONIGHT WILL BE A MEMORY TOO
TONIGHT WILL BE A MEMORY TOO

Written by Andrew McGuinness
Directed by John Davey
With Lisa Day as Jill and Robert Gordon Clark as Geoff


They say when you’re in a hole, stop digging. But what about buried treasure?

Geoff needs to dig because he’s losing his grip on the surface. Jill wants to help him. Yet what will the discoveries cost their relationship?

At 3am, as they grapple to unearth truths from their past, their future hangs in the balance. 

This is a touching new play about unearthing buried truths.

Theatre

The Roughler Club
The Roughler Club

Curated by Geoff Eales

Artists include Maggie Nicols, Paul Jolly, Brenda Ford, Bird Superior, Gwendolyn Kassenaar, and Andy Findon.


The performance will include poems by Bob Kaufman, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Dylan Thomas, Jennifer Nadel and Geoff Eales.

Various

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