There are loads of great shows to see this Spring, directed/created by JMK Award alumni, finalists and bursary recipients. We’ve gathered them together here:
Written by Matt Grinter, directed by JMK bursary recipient Chloe Masterton.
“One girl, against the happiness of the whole village. Can you not see it has to be done?”
Midsummer. The village must choose a new Daughter to sail with the fishing boats and bless the waters, keeping the threat of the orcas that roam the sea at bay for another year.
Fan hopes with all her heart to be the one chosen, but her older sister Maggie is adamant she must never, never, go with the boats. Because something happened to Maggie out there. Because no one will admit it. Because sometimes the most beautiful places harbour the darkest secrets.
Orca is an incisive, unflinching insight into what makes a community tolerate the unthinkable.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Weston Studio, Bristol Old Vic, until 16 March
(Can This Be) Home
Written by JMK bursary recipient Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir and Tom Oakes. Directed by Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir.
(Can This Be) Home is half music gig, half spoken word. Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir examines the immigrant experience of the EU referendum and flautist and composer Tom Oakes plays the tunes his travels have inspired. Between them is a tape deck and a pile of sand. A show literally in the making since the summer before the vote, we take stock of where we are now, whatever that now looks like.
Can we ever feel at home again? Brite Theater is a multi-award-winning company known for unorthodox stagings. (Can This Be) Home won the Prague Fringe New Territories Award 2018.
Written by Padraic Walsh, directed by JMK Award winner (2011) Cathal Cleary.
“My life is where you’re scared something is going to happen and then it does.”
It’s 3am in small-town Ireland. The nightclub is closed and Brian’s not taking any more fares until tomorrow. But, when his drunk sons show up demanding a lift home, it becomes clear that the night is only just getting started…
Take your seat in the back as Brian’s two sons hijack his night. They’re going to fix their lives. You’re coming with them.
Padraic Walsh’s powerfully immersive play, staged entirely within a minibus by award-winning director Cathal Cleary, gets up close and personal with one splintered family in small-town Ireland. Funny and excruciating by turns, Blue Thunder examines manhood and what happens when the people who should be there for you have nothing left to give.
Vault Festival, until 17 March.
Written by Eve Leigh, directed by JMK Award winner (2016) Roy Alexander Weise.
Of course you take me away from the world, and who cares…you’re the best reason I know to wake up.
Mira’s husband, Jonah, died seven months ago, but that doesn’t mean that either of them are ready to let him go.
For most of her life Jonah has been Mira’s reason to get out of bed in the morning. So when he does his final disappearing act, Mira can’t quite believe her eyes. She knows she should be moving on. And yet, Mira finds herself caring less and less about the world outside.
The Trick is a magic show about the parts of life we don’t talk about – the realities of getting older and coming to terms with loss. Ghosts, goldfish, mediums, and sleight-of-hand collide in this unpredictable exploration of ageing and grief
Bush Theatre, until 23rd March.
Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by JMK Award winner (2014) Kate Hewitt.
From Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis, comes this critically-acclaimed dark comedy about the American justice system and the contradictory nature of faith.
Inside the lockdown wing of Rikers Island prison, a frightened young man accused of murdering a cult leader is confronted with a charismatic born-again serial killer and a sadistic guard. Will one man’s redemption lead to another’s damnation?
★★★★ ‘Kate Hewitt stages a production of hurtling intensity and immediacy’ Mark Shenton, LondonTheatre.co.uk
Young Vic, Until 6 April.
The Princess & The Hustler
Written by JMK bursary recipient Chinonyerem Odimba, directed by Dawn Walton.
“My name is Phyllis Princess James. I will wear this crown every day. I will never take it off even when I am asleep.”
Meet Princess. A cheeky 10-year-old, with a plan to win the Weston-Super-Mare Beauty Contest. Trouble is, her mum is busy working several jobs, her brother, a budding photographer, won’t even take her picture and then – The Hustler returns.
In 1963 Bristol, as Black British Civil Rights campaigners walk onto the streets, Princess finds out what it really means to be black and beautiful.
★★★★ ‘Richly textured, passionate and enormously affecting. Beautiful.’ The Times
Touring: venues include Hull Truck Theatre (5-16 March), Nuffield Southampton Theatres (19-20 March), Oxford Playhouse (22-23 March), Liverpool Playhouse (3-6 April), Live Theatre Newcastle (9-13 April).
Tensile Strength (or How to Survive at Your Wit’s End)
Written and performed by JMK bursary recipient Holly Gallagher, directed by Daniel Bye.
Tensile Strength (or How to Survive at Your Wit’s End) is a performance about Stress and figuring out why so many of us feel it to an unhealthy degree. It’s about fear, pressure, uncertainty. It’s about sadness and mental health and how we help ourselves. It’s about feeling like things are all A Bit Too Much and then the cat goes missing.
This is a show about the world we live in now, and will prove essential viewing in a society that just can’t seem to relax anymore.
Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham (11 March) Tickets
Tron Theatre, Glasgow (20-22 March) Tickets
The Civic, Barnsley (6 April) Tickets
Camden Peoples Theatre, London (9-10 April) Tickets
York Theatre Royal (11 April) Tickets
Harrogate Theatre (12 April) Tickets
Rutherford and Son
Written by Githa Sowerby, directed by JMK Award winner Polly Findlay.
A piercing look at power and family.
Roger Allam (Les Misérables, The Thick of It) returns to the National for the first time in a decade to play Rutherford in this new production.
In a Northern industrial town, John Rutherford rules both factory and family with an iron will. But even as the furnaces burn relentlessly at the Glassworks, at home his children begin to turn against him.
Githa Sowerby’s astonishing play was inspired by her own experience of growing up in a family-run factory in Gateshead. Writing in 1912, when female voices were seldom heard on British stages, she now claims her place alongside Ibsen and Bernard Shaw with this searing depiction of class, gender and generational warfare.
National Theatre, from 16 May
Created by playwright Ella Hickson and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham, directed by JMK Award winner Natalie Abrahami.
1968. East Berlin.
Anna and Hans are married, in love and moving up in the world – but it is a world ruled by suspicion. Who can be trusted when everyone is listening?
This tense new thriller uses individual audio headsets to give the audience intimate access to events as they unfold over one evening, in East Berlin.
Can we ever escape our past?
National Theatre, from 11 May
Written by Thomas Ottoway, directed by JMK Award runner-up Prasanna Puwanarajah.
Driven by love and revenge, two disaffected noblemen join a revolutionary movement to overthrow the corrupt leaders of their failed city state. But the conspirators they join are as corrupt as those in power, and their friendship is torn to pieces in the furnace of love.
Venice Preserved was Prasanna’s chosen text as runner up for the JMK Award – we are thrilled his production will be realised the RSC’s stage. The production’s cast includes the Chair of the JMK Trust, Stephen Fewell.
RSC, from 24 May