1. 15 Heroines
Where – Jermyn Street Theatre Website
Theseus, Hercules, Ulysses, Jason, Achilles… The island-hopping heroes of classical mythology leave a trail of women – queens, sorcerers, pioneers, poets and politicians – in their swaggering wake. Two thousand years ago, the Roman poet Ovid gave voice to those women in a series of fictional letters called The Heroines.
Now, 15 leading British playwrights draw inspiration from Ovid to dramatise the lives of 15 Heroines. This exclusive online production in partnership with Digital Theatre is filmed live. Delivered by an outstanding cast in three parts – The War, The Desert and The Labyrinth – 15 Heroines is a landmark theatrical event.
The War tells the untold stories of the Trojan War – Oenone, Hermione, Laodamia, Briseis and Penelope, written by Lettie Precious, Sabrina Mahfouz, Charlotte Jones, Abi Zakarian and Hannah Khalil.
The Desert is about women going their own way – Deianaria, Canace, Hypermestra, Dido and Sappho, written by April De Angelis, Isley Lynn, Chinonyerem Odimba, Stella Duffy and Lorna French.
The Labyrinth is about the women who encountered Jason and Theseus – Ariadne, Phaedra, Phyllis, Hypsipyle and Medea, written by Bryony Lavery, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Samantha Ellis, Natalie Haynes and Juliet Gilkes Romero.
2. Returning To Reims
Where – Schaubuehne Website
Based on the novel »Retour à Reims« by Didier Eribon
German translation by Tobias Haberkorn
In a version of the Schaubühne
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
Commissioned by the Schaubühne Berlin and Manchester International Festival.
Produced by the Schaubühne Berlin, Manchester International Festival, HOME, Manchester and Théâtre de la Ville.
A sound studio. An actress is recording a text. At the mixing desk a director is giving her instructions. Together they are working on the voice recording for a film which is running synchronously in the background. It is a documentary essay called »Returning to Reims« – a cinematic adaptation of the eponymous book by French sociologist Didier Eribon. The protagonist of the film is the author himself who goes on a type of journey of reminiscence. With a mixture of personal confession and sociological analysis, Eribon reports on the re-encounter with his hometown and his family which, since his career as an intellectual in Paris, he has hardly seen for decades, and has had no desire to see. With Returning to Reims Thomas Ostermeier brings to the stage for the first time in the German language Didier Eribon’s text which, since its publication, has become a key work in the understanding of contemporary society.
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
3. The Poltergeist
Where – Southwark Playhouse Website
‘Sasha was destined to take the art world by storm. At the age of fifteen pop stars wanted his paintings, and a new exhibition was going to make him a millionaire.
But now he lives in a run-down flat with his out-of-work boyfriend, serves in a stationers, and no one’s even heard of him… what went wrong?
Philip Ridley’s darkly comic new play is about art, family, memory, and being haunted by the life we never lived.
One of the greatest living British writers, Philip Ridley’s previous plays include The Fastest Clock in the Universe, Radiant Vermin, The Pitchfork Disney, Tender Napalm, Dark Vanilla Jungle, and Mercury Fur, as well as the screenplay for the 1990 film The Krays.
4. Big Breath
Where – Today Tix Website
Deep in self-isolation and unable to leave her third-floor walkup, the Woman is trapped by fear and privilege as much as her circumstances. Her only company comes from the other voices within her as she is goaded by her inner gym teacher to venture out into the world. This beautiful poetic one-woman play explores what it means to take action, find light, and breathe during quarantine. BIG BREATH by Elizabeth Gjelten is a finalist for the 2020 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition. Directed by Ansley Valentine, it stars Tony Award nominee Elizabeth Stanley.
5. Voila Europe
Where – Voila Festival Website
Voila! Europe is an annual theatre rendezvous in London, bringing together British and European theatre makers each November. Their curated programme is a border-busting mix of multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary performance. Without crossing any borders, artists are joining them from Germany, Denmark, France, Colombia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the USA, and Hungary (in partnership with the Hungarian Cultural Centre, London). And of course the festival also includes the many European artists living in the UK.
6. Since U Been Home
Where – Aneema Hamid Productions Website
When friends die and pronouns change, what’s left of the memories that don’t fit anymore? From childhood co-stars, through teenage rebellion, a moving and powerful autobiographical account about growing up queer in the mid-noughties, finding yourself, and losing a friend. Brought to life with storytelling, an original pop music score and way too many America’s Next Top Model references.
Tabby Lamb is an acclaimed playwright and performer. From a live art background, Tabby developed their skill through the Soho Theatre Writers Lab and the Raising our Voices scheme for Trans writers. Their work draws from a wealth of experience as both a divisor and dramaturg on award-winning work. Now working as a solo practitioner, Tabby still tries on cross-art collaboration and works with largely queer artists to create work that is both intimate and epic.
Since U Been Gone is from an all queer team, exploring the intersections of grief and gender. Drawing on their own experiences Tabby Lamb and Nicol Parkinson create a piece of musical storytelling that blends pop culture, Shakespeare, live music and fashion to tell the true story of growing up trans and losing friends. This piece talks directly to the audience, casting them as the lost friend making it an immediate and relevant exploration of trans experiences.
7. The Bus Stop
Where – Traverse Theatre Website
Take the time to stop.
Casual. Common. Everyday. Disability hate crime is on the rise. Jack, a young wheelchair user, experiences a disability hate crime as he tries to take a bus home from Edinburgh. Should he report it? It’s so casual. It’s so common. It happens every day.
Jack struggles with his anger at the situation and at the world which left him without a dad 6 months earlier. He keeps it all a secret from his mum Julia and she has a secret of her own….
Moving and funny, The Bus Stop asks us to take the time to stop and reflect. Why are we so scared to ask for help? Why are we scared to offer it?
Based on his personal experience, The Bus Stop is a writing debut from Gavin Yule as well as a directorial debut by Nicola Tuxworth, both members of Lung Ha Theatre Company.