- Iris Theatre’s 10th anniversary summer season of promenade theatre will feature new immersive productions of Macbeth and Hansel & Gretel and the Witch Baba Yaga.
- David Hywel Baynes returns from the US to star as Macbeth following his Best Actor Offie Award-nominated tour-de-force as Richard III.
- “Hansel & Gretel and the Witch Baba Yaga” will feature a life-size, edible gingerbread house!
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this summer, Iris Theatre will present a double bill of Shakespeare and the Brothers Grimm told in their signature immersive style in St Paul’s, the Actors’ Church, in the heart of Covent Garden.
2016’s summer season was a record-breaking year with nearly 8,000 audience members experiencing Iris’s shows. The company also received five Off West End Award Offie nominations, including a finalist spot for “Treasure Island” as Best Production for Young People.
Artistic director Daniel Winder will open the 2017 season by directing Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, a terrifying journey into the mind of a murderer. Inspired by the psychosexual imagery of Hieronymus Bosch, this production will weave its way around the grounds of St Paul’s Church; reflecting the play’s journey into the twisted mental landscape of Macbeth as he rises to be king.
Returning to Iris Theatre after three years, David Hywel Baynes takes on the title role, following his critically-acclaimed and Offie-nominated performance in the Iris production of “Richard III”.
David Baynes said: “Getting the chance to come back and work on my favourite play with the Iris family was a no-brainer. The environment surrounding Iris during the summer season is like no other. And it’s truly an honour to be back in London with them as they celebrate their 10th anniversary. May there be many more to come!”
Winder has also penned the family show, a new adaptation of “Hansel & Gretel and the Witch Baba Yaga”. Featuring a life-size, edible gingerbread house, this production will follow Hansel and Gretel as they travel deeper and deeper into a dark, forbidding forest. There, in the shadows, you might glimpse a figure in a red hood chased by a wolf, or a witch’s hut standing tall on chicken legs; all manner of magical beasts lurk in these woods… Promenading around the grounds of St Paul’s Church, this immersive fairytale is guaranteed to fright and delight curious children and adventurous adults alike. Offie-nominated for her production of “Much Ado About Nothing” last year, Amy Draper returns to direct.
To help celebrate the 10th year, Iris is also welcoming back a number of creatives across the season, including Candida Caldicot (Composer), Benjamin Polya (Lighting Designer), Filipe Gomes (Sound Designer) and Roger Bartlett (Fight Director).
Daniel Winder said: “This anniversary year promises to be full of witches and wonder, magic and mayhem. Working across the two shows, as writer of one and director of the other, will mean digging deep into the morally ambiguous world of witches; agents of female power pushed to the boundaries of a patriarchal world.”
Other casting to be announced.
2016’s summer season saw almost 8,000 audience members experience Much Ado About Nothing and Treasure Island – which included a full-size galleon that held the entire audience. Working closely with Mousetrap Theatre Projects to widen access to the theatre, Iris also provided placements in design, producing and technical to a host of students studying theatre around the country, with a particular emphasis on female technicians and producers. The 2016 summer repertory season was nominated for five Offies, including Treasure Island being shortlisted as Best for Production for Young People (winner TBA 27th February 2017).
Iris Theatre is a dynamic theatre company based at the world-famous St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden. The company, established in 2007 by Artistic Director Daniel Winder, has a reputation for producing vibrant and accessible site-specific and outdoor theatre, alongside a growing new musical theatre strand. Iris gained full charity status in 2009 with a mission to sup-port the development of the next
generation of professional theatre practitioners. Our collaborative approach gives emerging artists the opportunity to create work for a central London venue with a prominent professional profile; whether that is for our outdoor summer season or as part of our Workin
Process initiative aimed at developing new musicals. Growing year on year, Iris Theatre is now firmly cemented in its home at St Paul’s. The production year is centred around a two-month long summer season in the award-winning church gardens. Outside the summer season, Iris focuses on developing new musical theatre works, either by providing a platform for new writers to present whole musicals in development or through one of our concert events focused on new writing. As the company has developed, future opportunities have emerged to take Iris Theatre’s site-specific, immersive and outdoor productions beyond its central London location.
Over the past 10 years, since graduating from Drama Centre, London, Dan has built Iris Theatre. Each year Daniel directs at least one of the main summer shows as well as, for the last four years, writing the family shows. He also provides dramaturgical to all of Iris Theatre’s Shakespeare projects. Beyond Iris Theatre Dan has worked on new writing pro-jects with Theatre503 and First Draft Theatre as well as directing a panto at the Castle in Wellingborough. He has also worked with the Circus Space to undertake an Arts Council funded research and development process into a circus, dance and theatre piece called Circuit.
Upcoming: Mother Courage (Fourth Monkey 2nd year show), These Trees are Made of Blood (Arcola), and The Light Project (R&D at the RSC). Recent work includes Much Ado about Nothing (Iris Theatre, Covent Garden – 5 Off-West End Award nominations, including Best Director); The Tempest, Macbeth, These Trees are Made of Blood, Usagi Yojimbo and Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World (Southwark Playhouse); Life on the Refrigerator Door (Yard Theatre); The Door (Park Theatre) and Angel Cake (Camden People’s
Theatre). She often makes new work and has shown work-in-progress at Mini VAULT Festival, BAC, Ovalhouse, Platform, and Shoreditch Town Hall. In 2015 she was Assistant Director on The Famous Victories of Henry V (RSC) and in 2016 assisted on Comus (Shakespeare’s Globe). She works as a freelance practitioner for the RSC Education Department and in 2016 was an NT Connections Director.
DAVID HYWEL BAYNES
David was born and raised in London, England and moved to New York City in 2010. He trained at two prestigious drama schools in London studying at LAMDA at 18 on their one-year Foundation Course and then, aged 21 he studied at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art (now Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) for a further 3 years. Since leaving school he has constantly been trying to perfect his craft and has found his greatest passion in the works of Shakespeare playing roles such as Brutus, Puck, Macduff and Richard III for which he received a nomination as Best Actor at the 2014 Off-West End awards. David is an Artistic Associate of
Covent Garden based Iris Theatre Company, original member of Passion in Practice Shake-speare Company.
ST PAUL’S CHURCH, COVENT GARDEN
St Paul’s Church, affectionately known as the Actors’ Church, is located in the heart of Covent Garden. The building, designed by Inigo Jones in 1633 has had a strong association with London’s theatreland throughout history and boasts award-winning gardens. Strong advocates for the arts, Rev. Simon Grigg presides over the grounds today, still a working church building. As well as playing home to Iris Theatre, St Paul’s Church birthed the Orchestra of St Paul’s and regularly hosts a range of concerts, plays and other performances yearly.
by William Shakespeare
Director: Daniel Winder
Wednesday 21 June – Saturday 29 July
Press Night: Wednesday 28 June at 7.30pm
Hansel & Gretel and the Witch Baba Yaga
by Daniel Winder
Director: Amy Draper
3rd Aug – 3rd Sept
Press Night: Tuesday 8 August at 7.00pm
Tickets for Macbeth and Hansel & Gretel are on sale now at www.iristheatre.com