The Royal Court held a press briefing yesterday (Monday 12th October, 2015) to announce their 60th anniversary season. Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone introduced the 2016 program, which will see a host of new work premiered at the venue throughout the year and has a distinctly international flavour with six world premieres, five UK and worldwide collaborations, and one European premiere. It also includes a major collaboration with LIFT, a partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas, the return of Open Court and ongoing work in Tottenham and Pimlico.
The new season launches with Escaped Alone, a new play by Caryl Churchill. ‘Three old friends and a neighbour. A summer of afternoons in the back year. Tea and catastrophe.’ The opening production of the Royal Court 2016 season will be directed by James McDonald and runs at the Sloane Square venue from 21st January to 12th March 2015.
Alistair McDowall’s X follows from 30th March to 7th May 2016. Vicky Featherstone directs the new play, which is set on a lone research base on Pluto and explores what happens when the crew find themselves stuck on the space station, alone and out of contact with Earth.
Also part of the new season is Ophelias Zimmer, a collaboration between the Royal Court and Schaubuhne Berlin with director Katie Mitchell, from 17th to 21st May 2016. Unreachable, written and directed by Anthony Neilson, then runs from 1st July to 6th August 2016, followed by Suzan-Lori Parks’ new plays Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), which is directed by Jo Bonney and runs from 15th September to 22nd October 2016.
In the Upstairs space of the Royal Court, it is Bruntwood Prize winner Yen that opens the 2016 season. Directed by former Royal Court trainee director Ned Bennett, Anna Jordan’s play comes to London from 22nd January to 13th February 2016 following a successful run in Manchester. The venue then hosts a play by South African playwright Mongiwekhaya from 25th February to 26th March 2016. She makes her debut at the Royal Court with I See You, a play set in Post-Arpartheid South Africa and based on a real encounter which is co-produced by the Market Theatre and directed by Noma Dumezweni. The season continues with the Abbey Theatre co-production of Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland (5th April-7th May 2016), Stef Smith’s Human Animals under the direction of Hamish Pirie (18th May-18th June), Cuttin’ It by Charlene James (24th June-9th July 2016), and lastly, Nathaniel Martello-White’s Torn (7th Sep-15th Oct 2016).
A series of three new plays developed with emerging Lebanese and Syrian writers will be shown between 7th-12th March 2016. Told from the Inside explores accounts of exile displacement and survival.
Throughout June 2016, the Royal Court is teaming up with LIFT as part of their biennial festival to present a series of works exploring real experiences which have been developed in collaboration with international communities. These will include The Islands by Lolo Arias, The Migration Commissions, Open for Everything, and a musician/dancer/performer ensemble piece by Constanza Macras.
The Royal Court also announced the return of Open Court, which first appeared in 2013 with a festival that included 133 performances and over 40 new plays. This year, the keys to the building are being handed over to the next generation of writers, directors, producers and performers as Young Court produce and create their own programme of events over the summer.
Speaking about the new 2016 season, Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone said: “In 1956 George Devine founded the Royal Court. He called for a theatre ‘where the experimentalists of the modern era may be seen’, with ‘hard-hitting, uncompromising writers’, where ‘their works are stimulating, provocative and exciting’, not ‘bringing the dramatist of the past into focus for the present’, but giving attention to the future.
60 years on the Royal Court is still striving to do the very same thing. The programme encompasses the very best in writing for theatre, with a new full-length play by Caryl Churchill, a new piece by Anthony Neilson, a new play by Alistair McDowall and a return to the Royal Court from Suzan-Lori Parks as well as new writers debuting at the Royal Court for the first time – among them David Ireland, Charlene James, Anna Jordan, Nathaniel Martello-White, Mongiwekhaya and Stef Smith.
Responding as ever to the writers, our work is challenging and ambitious and looks to our collective futures. This is undoubtedly among one of the most internationally outward-looking years the Royal Court has ever seen. With collaborations including the Schaubühne Berlin, the Abbey Theatre, the Market Theatre Johannesburg and LIFT; as well as meaningful projects about refugees and migration, we are thinking hard about our place in the world.
I am delighted too that our programme for young people, Young Court, is being launched in this year. We are thrilled to be bringing back Open Court – only this time young people will have the keys. The Royal Court has been unique for 60 years – I look forward to launching it into the next 60.”
Tickets for the new season go on sale to the general public on Thursday 15th October 2016.
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
21st October to 14th November 2015
On a hallucinatory road trip from the Badlands to Graceland, the spirits of Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battle over the soul of Ann, a painfully shy meat-processing plant worker, and what kind of man or woman Ann should become. Set against the boundless blue skies of the Great Plains and endless American highway, RoosevElvis is a new work about gender, appetite, and the multitudes we contain.
The TEAM is a Brooklyn-based ensemble dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. The TEAM’s RoosevElvis is written by Rachel Chavkin, Libby King, Jake Margolin, and Kristen Sieh. Created in collaboration with Matt Hubbs, Andrew Schneider, and Nick Vaughan. It is performed by Libby King and Kristen Sieh. Rachel Chavkin directs.