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Jermyn Street Theatre Zooms Into Online Work…

Jermyn Street TheatreExactly two months after Jermyn Street Theatre’s doors closed, its Artistic Director, Tom Littler, has announced a series of new online projects joining its Brave New World Season, featuring actors including Rachel Pickup, Ian Hallard, Issy van Randwyck, Rob Mountford and Jack Klaff alongside new graduates. Littler also confirmed that the theatre will receive emergency relief funding from Arts Council England to help pay its core costs over the coming months.

The projects include co-productions with the Watermill Theatre and Guildford Shakespeare Company, and feature a full-scale online production of The Wind in the Willows, rehearsed readings of plays by Tony Cox and Terence Rattigan, and a major community project, #MyTinyPlay. These projects join the theatre’s existing work, which features actors ranging from this year’s graduating drama students to household names such as Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Jamael Westman, Aimee Lou Wood and David Suchet.

Tom Littler said: “We’re deeply grateful to Arts Council England for their faith in our theatre. It has come at a critical moment. Our audience’s generosity rescued us from immediate and permanent closure. This new support means we can retain our core team to entertain our isolated audience, bring our freelance family together, and raise the essential funds we need to reopen. We have a long way to go, but the support of the theatrical community and the generosity of our audience means we can look forward to a bright future. We cannot wait to reopen our building with The Tempest, but in the meantime, we are incredibly proud of the popularity, creativity and diversity of the Brave New World Season.”

  • One Million Tiny Plays by Craig Taylor played at Jermyn Street Theatre and the Watermill Theatre last winter, directed by Laura Keefe. This snapshot of modern British life takes the form of ‘overheard’ conversations that prove drama is all around us. Now Emma Barclay and Alec Nicholls, the original cast, have audio-recorded 12 of the short plays. They are released in 15-minute episodes on Saturday lunchtimes throughout May on the Watermill and Jermyn Street Theatre YouTube channels. The first episodes can be watched here. To cover costs and fees, the theatre welcomes donations.
  • #MyTinyPlay is a community project. Everyone, the length and breadth of the UK, is invited to create their own Tiny Play! The Watermill and Jermyn Street Theatres have opened the My Tiny Play Facebook page full of inspirations, and details can also be found on the Get Creative 2020 page. Plays can be written, tweeted, audio-recorded, videoed, animated, or painted.
  • The Skin Game is the world premiere rehearsed reading of Tony Cox’s play about the early days of plastic surgery, featuring the Hollywood star Merle Oberon and fighter pilot Richard Hillary. It reunites Cox and director Jimmy Walters after the success of Mrs Orwell. It stars the acclaimed Rachel Pickup, Ian Hallard, and Skye Hallam and introduces new Drama Centre graduate George Smale. This costumed and designed reading premieres on Jermyn Street Theatre’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm on Tuesday 19 May and is available for a week. To cover costs and fees, the theatre welcomes donations.
  • In Praise of Love is a costumed, designed and rehearsed reading of Terence Rattigan’s penultimate play directed by the theatre’s Carne Deputy Director, Cat Robey. It stars Olivier nominee Issy van Randwyck and Jack Klaff alongside Andrew Francis and introduces new Guildhall graduate Mackenzie Heynes. It premieres on Jermyn Street Theatre’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm on Tuesday 26 May and is available for a week. To cover costs and fees, the theatre welcomes donations.
  • The Wind in the Willows, based on Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic novel, is a revival of Tom Littler’s popular production, first staged in 2015 and now reimagined by adaptor Ant Stones for interactive viewing online. It runs online 4—7 June with a cast of Sally Cheng, Sarah Gobran, Rob Mountford, Jo Murdock, Matt Pinches and Chris Porter. This is a fully costumed, designed and rehearsed production intended for online viewing, co-produced by Guildford Shakespeare Company, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford and Jermyn Street Theatre. Tickets are on sale now via Guildford Shakespeare Company.

These join Jermyn Street Theatre’s existing Brave New World projects:

  • A Cup of JSTea offers free phone calls and online social events to isolated audience members, and free pastoral, social, and career development events for theatre freelancers.
  • The Sonnet Project brings together household names including Dames Penelope Keith and Penelope Wilton, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, David Suchet, Jamael Westman and Aimee Lou Wood with 55 of this year’s graduating drama students, to read all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets in over 20 languages. These are released once a day.
  • Sing for Your Supper is a mini-cabaret concert hosted by Stefan Bednarczyk. Bednarczyk’s songs appear every Mondays and Friday evenings, and on Wednesdays he welcomes a guest star, with past and future guests including Ben Stock, Sophie Louie Dann, Janie Dee and Rosemary Ashe.

Meanwhile the theatre prepares to rebuild after its severe flooding on 8 April, which has resulted in the destruction of its workshop, offices, dressing rooms and archives.

Jermyn Street Theatre is paying artists a small fee for all the rehearsed work. Actors participating in the Sonnet Project and Sing for Your Supper are volunteering their time. The online work is currently free, but the theatre welcomes donations to its fundraising campaign.


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