Looking for some great theatre picks? We’ve gathered together a collection of exciting productions across the country, featuring JMK Award winners and finalists, Regional Programme partners and bursary recipients. These fascinating stories are perfect for the darkening autumn evenings:
Two years after winning the JMK Award with this brilliant production, director Roy Alexander Weise (Nine Night, National Theatre) and Desara Bosjna are touring The Mountaintop with Reading Rep and Nuffield Southampton Theatres. This production is assisted by our JMK Regional bursary recipient Nyasha Gudo.
April 3, 1968. After delivering his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech on behalf of the sanitation workers in Memphis, Martin goes to Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel to rest before another long day of campaigning. With a storm raging outside, a beautiful young maid arrives to deliver his cup of coffee and his world is spun on its axis. At first, they only exchange flirtatious remarks, but soon they start a deep dialogue and King is forced to confront his past, his fears, his ideals, and his hopes for the future.
Set during the height of America’s Civil Rights Movement, Katori Hall’s sharp and powerful play confronts the legend and his legacy. Are we really free or do we live in a world of false liberation?
Then touring: Northern Stage Newcastle (9 – 13 Oct), North Wall Oxford (16 – 20 Oct), Reading Rep (23 Oct – 27 Oct), Curve Leicester (13 – 17 Nov), Bristol Old Vic (21 – 24 Nov), Birmingham Rep (27 Nov – 1 Dec).
Directed by JMK Award winner Michael Oakley, About Leo moves fluidly from modern Mexico to 1930s France, where the young Leo is involved in a notorious affair with the surrealist Max Ernst.
“I have never, in my life, for one moment, been anyone’s muse. I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.”
Eliza Prentice – millennial, Londoner, wannabe journalist – has arrived in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead. She is armed with a Dictaphone, a taste for tequila, and a lot of questions. But the greatest living Mexican artist, Leonora Carrington, doesn’t give interviews. She won’t discuss her work. And she doesn’t talk about Max.
Somewhere in America, a revolution is coming. An army of competitive dancers is ready to take over the world, one routine at a time. With a pre-teen battle for power and perfection raging on and off stage, Dance Nation is a ferocious exploration of youth, ambition and self-discovery.
Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and The Relentless Award, Clare Barron’s explosive new play Dance Nation makes its UK debut, directed by JMK Award winner Bijan Sheibani (The Brothers Size, Young Vic; Barber Shop Chronicles, National Theatre).
The Lovely Bones
Directed by Melly Still and assisted by our JMK Regional bursary recipient Lucy Bird, The Lovely Bones is a unique coming-of-age about life after loss. This is the first stage version of the bestselling novel by Alice Sebold, adapted by Bryony Lavery.
Now Susie can only observe while her family manage their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail is desperate to create a different life for herself. And her sister, Lindsay is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them…
60 Miles by Road or Rail
After a year away, Northampton-based JMK director Andy Routledge returned home and was eager to create a theatrical event that looked inwards to Northampton. He assembled a company of local artists from a wide range of theatrical practices and listened to the experiences of over 100 local people through heritage events, workshops and meetings in pubs and cafes.
During this time, Northamptonshire’s local authority went bust. Austerity measures mixed with mismanagement by local and central government led to slashed core services, closed libraries and protests on the streets. Northamptonshire was suddenly front-page news in the New York Times: A Middle England county in chaos.
60 Miles by Road or Rail evolved into a resounding state of the nation play. It presents a retelling of the past 50 years of Northamptonian experiences and asks what it means for our sense of belonging when our home undergoes crisis, and what we can do about it.
Hear Me Howl
From JMK Award finalist (2016) Kay Michael, writer Lydia Rynne (Soho Theatre Young Writer, NFTS Odeon Scholar and iShorts / BFI Funny Girls Finalist), and musical consultant Fay Milton (drummer of Mercury Award Nominated band Savages) comes Hear Me Howl, a bitingly honest portrayal of one woman’s personal revolution:
Jess is turning 30 when she presses pause on the conventional life she’s been living and joins a post-punk band.
Sure, some might argue that punk is dead, others could say she should really stick to the day job, but the resounding concern is: shouldn’t she be settling down by now?
From behind her drum kit, warming up for her very first gig, Jess lurches defiantly into an unknown future.
This pro-choice play returns after a sold-out work-in-progress run at The Landor Space in March and The Plymouth Fringe in May. Writer Lydia Rynne’s previous play, The Buzz, sold-out at the Bread & Roses theatre earlier this year as one of the Top 3 of The Bread & Roses Playwriting Award 2016/2017.
‘Thought-provokingly relevant with a dash of adept quirkiness too’ (The Buzz, **** Act Drop)
Touching the Void
A Bristol Old Vic, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Fuel co-production.
Tom Morris directs the first stage adaptation of this nail-biting adventure, assisted by JMK bursary recipient Evan Lordan. The production is based on Joe Simpson’s 1988 memoir, adapted by David Greig – the Award-winning writer and Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. This international bestseller and BAFTA-winning film sensation charts Joe’s struggle for survival on the perilous Siula Grande mountain in the Peruvian Andes aged just 25.
The heart of the story is Joe Simpson’s mental battle as he teeters on the very brink of death and despair in a crevasse from which he can’t possibly climb to safety. Also unforgettable in the story is the appalling dilemma of Simon Yates, perched on an unstable snow-cliff, battered by freezing winds and desperate to rescue the injured Simpson, who hangs from a rope below him. Knowing that they will both ultimately fall into the void, he makes the critical decision to cut the rope, forever changing the lives of both of them…
Our JMK Director Practitioner Adele Thomas (for Sherman Cymru, Tobacco Factory Theatres and Bristol Old Vic) directs Eyam, a powerful new play at the Globe Theatre:
1665. As the plague runs rife through London, Reverend William Mompesson arrives in Eyam, Derbyshire, to the parish. But Eyam is no sleepy backwater; it is a village at war with itself. The community has dissolved, and neighbour feuds with neighbour under the watchful eye of a ruthless landowner bent on maintaining his grip on the village. When the plague arrives in Eyam, the villagers are tasked with examining their civil responsibility, as they must decide whether to stay quarantined, or flee and risk spreading the deadly disease.
A HOME and Unlimited Theatre co-production in collaboration with Rash Dash.
Over in Manchester, our JMK bursary recipient Heather Carroll is involved in a scientific examination of what human extremes are coming next…
The human being is being upgraded. This is terrifying and exciting and it’s coming – whether we like it or not.
Two of the UK’s most thoughtful, inspiring and consistently brilliant theatre companies come together to imagine the implications of real world, leading edge developments in human enhancement technologies. Working with leading scientists and researchers in the fields of brain implants, smart drugs, and artificial intelligence, Unlimited Theatre and RashDash smash together science fact and fiction in a kaleidoscopic montage of words, music and movement.
Directed by JMK Award winner (2014) Kate Hewitt, Cock by Mike Bartlett opens at Chichester Festival Theatre on 28 September.
Has John straightened out? After years glued to his boyfriend, the couple have been through a sticky patch, and now John’s attached to someone else. Someone who is different in every single way. But can John give her what she wants, when he’s never been with a woman before?
Funny and eye-openingly fresh and frank, Cock is a provocative peep into relationships in these days of oscillating identities. It tussles with knotty twenty-first century questions: can we – and should we be allowed to – change if we want to?