MONDAY 24 MAY 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
DANIEL DONOHUE, NATALIE CHAN ET AL: I AND THE VILLAGE
It's been brilliant to see venues reopening this month, even if the performances have to be socially distanced, and to see the arts community able to welcome their audiences back to well loved venues.

I was especially pleased to hear about the opening this week of Clapham's Bread & Roses Theatre, not least because it's a great venue, but also because its first live offering sounds like such a good one.

'I And The Village' is an in-house production by the Bread & Roses Theatre Company. I spoke to the whole team about the show, and about the venue, with a couple of specific contributions from producer Natalie Chan and playwright Darren Donohue.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'I And The Village' is on from 26 May-5 Jun, see the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.



LAURA HORTON: THEATRE STORIES
When the pandemic hit - and it became clear that it would be a long time before things were 'normal' again in the world of the cultural industries - we understood immediately the devastating impact it could have on those who work in that area. Audiences and communities have been affected too, of course, and in deeper and more complex ways than simply the loss of sitting down to enjoy a performance.

Early in lockdown, writer, PR, and Plymouth Laureate Of Words Laura Horton began a project that would examine the ways in which theatres have an effect on local people. A year later, she's poised to launch a campaign beginning 24 May, called 'Theatre Stories', with the aim of highlighting the importance of theatres to communities, and to change people's perceptions about who theatre is for.

I spoke to Laura to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

You can follow 'Theatre Stories' via TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, plus on the 'Theatre Stories' website here.

Tickets for Laura's upcoming play 'Labyrinth Diet', on as part of The Space's Foreword Festival of new writing, can be booked on the venue website here.
Some COVID restrictions have now lifted in England so we have lots of in-person shows to tip in this bulletin - but plenty of online experiences too, many featuring performers and companies we first enjoyed at the Edinburgh Fringe.


THREE REAL LIVE SHOWS>>

Reasons You Shouldn't Love Me | Kiln Theatre | 21 May-12 Jun
I wanted to tell you about this show last week because it opened - as you can see - on 21 May. But when I came to write about it, all the first few days had sold out. At present, there's only limited availability for the dates coming up this week, but if you are quick you might make it. And there are good reasons, of course, why those tickets are flying away, it's because it's the fab debut play from Amy Trigg, winner of The Women's Prize For Playwriting 2020, brought to you by Paines Plough. It's about a young woman, born with spina bifida, "clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness - and the feeling of being an unfinished project". Details here.

No Strings Attached | King's Head Theatre | 25 May-19 June (pictured)
You know how I wanted to recommend the last play last week but couldn't because all the dates were sold out...? Well, exactly the same happened with this one and exactly the same applies with regards to this week: ticket availability is limited, so get a move on if you are interested. And the similarities don't end there - it's another debut play from a prize winner, this time from Charlie Entsie, who took the 2019 Adrian Pagan Award. And now let's talk about what to expect from this show: it's a two hander, staged at a site specific location near the King's Head Theatre, which promises an exciting and atmospheric experience. "Within the charged confines of a car at midnight in an underground car park, a clandestine encounter between Boy and Man leads to far more than either had bargained for..." Info here.

The Dream Machine | The Space | 27-29 May
I expect tickets for this one will also be going quickly - it's pretty much par for the course as everyone rushes out to take in their first post-lockdown live entertainment. But the good news with this one is that if you fail to secure tickets to be there for the performances, there's also a live stream to avail yourself of. 'The Dream Machine' is long form improv comedy, brought to you by Make It Beautiful, who perform new full length improvised plays based on the content of dreams volunteered by audience members - specifically ones that are "weird, magical, funny or intriguing". Which seems fair. I am not sure if, for example, my dream that I got up, made coffee and started work would make for the best jumping off point. See the venue website here for more.


THREE STREAMING THEATRE SHOWS>>

Aaron and Julia | The Space | 26 May
"Caerleon, a small harbour town in the south of Wales, feels very far indeed from the epicentre of the vast, sprawling Roman Empire. The local 'bishop' Adelfius has almost given up on his mission to convert the disinterested locals, and spends more time trying to impress the famed courtesan Afra than he does spreading the good news. However, the recent appearance of the devout Jewish Christian Aaron, and the impending arrival of the young, impressionable Roman noble Julia, might just be the miracle Adelfius needs to put Christianity (and more importantly, himself) on this part of the map". An intriguing sounding comedy set in a diverse and multicultural community in late Roman Britain. Details right about here.

The Merthyr Stigmatist | Sherman Theatre and Theatre Uncut | 27 May (pictured)
This sounds rather good, a "fierce new play" from Lisa Parry, dealing with themes of community and the power of young people: "Is something incredible happening in Merthyr? Carys, a sixteen-year-old school student claims to have received the stigmata: Christ's wounds from the cross. Are her wounds a sign from God? Carys thinks so, she wants to tell the world and demands to be heard. Sian, Carys's teacher, is not so sure. Filled with doubt, Sian believes silencing Carys will keep her safe, but can she make sense of what is happening to her young pupil?" For more info and to book your tickets head to this page here.

If I Have To Repeat Myself One More Time I'm Going To | Camden People's Theatre | 31 May, then on demand until 7 Jun
Now, I know I use the word 'intriguing' too much, and it's really the fault of all the creatives making such intriguing works for me to be intrigued by. And falling into that category in this tip are Clara Potter-Sweet and Eve Allin, the brains behind this, um, intriguing piece of work. It's described as a digital experiment and involves an initial six hour livestream that "bears witness to Joan Of Arc's story as it is spoken and spoken over, written and rewritten", and which will be made available on demand after the initial streaming event. "Sit with us," implores the blurb. "Have patience. Listen as we speak our way through her life and (cultural) afterlife. Stay with us". Click here.


THREE FAMILY THINGS>>

The Bubble Show | Turbine Theatre | 31 May-5 Jun
On to quite a lot of family and child orientated stuff for you now, because - as you will know quite well if you are a parent - half term is coming up. It would be good to get them out of the house, obviously, but we've got a mixture of in person and online stuff for you here. Starting with 'The Bubble Show' at the Turbine Theatre, which will - of course - provide all the levels of fun you'd expect from a show with that title. I used to take my daughter to bubble shows all the time and I am pretty sure I enjoyed them more than she did. Expect iridescence, geometric patterns, tornadoes, whirlwinds, galaxies, humans inside bubbles, bubbles bursting into flames, magic, comedy, natural science, education and inspiration. More here.

500 Years Of Mischief and Mayhem | Old Royal Naval College | 17 May-31 Oct
If you have the sort of kids who are good at going to exhibitions, here's one that might appeal: a showing of works by award-winning illustrator Nick Ellwood, whose fun and mischievous drawings feature in the Old Royal Naval College's Painted Hall Family Trail: "Original artworks and illustrations from his booklets, inspired by the art in the Painted Hall, will be on display, featuring tales of astronomers, architects, royals, gods and goddesses and figures from the Navy". This, like many exhibitions, is on for quite a while so there's no rush if you don't have time this week, plus later in the summer, specifically August, there are some accompanying art and craft workshops. See this page here.

The Secret Garden Experience | Wizard Presents | from 31 May (pictured)
Here's one to access from home, from TW favourite Danyah Miller, who has adapted Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic work into an interactive blend of audio, physical and digital experiences. You'll be able to access eight audio episodes with original music by musician and composer Arun Ghosh, a letterbox gift created by theatre designer Kate Bunce with elements pertaining to each episode, and eight digital packages of games, challenges and other content. There are also associated live conversations for adults. Read all about the project and its different elements here.


THREE FESTIVAL SHOWS FOR FAMILIES>>

Up, Up, Up And Away! | Super Stories/Brighton Fringe | from 28 May
Yes, even more for the kids! And why not, they've had a tough year. For this one, and the next, in fact, we're headed - digitally - to the good old Brighton Fringe, which, like many festivals, has quality online content happening this year. This one's an interactive adventure for children aged three to eight, and follows Captain Calamity and his apprentice as they head out in their hot air balloon, negotiating storms and a talking flea along the way. "Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world? Join us as a Cloud Cadet for an interactive family adventure and go Up, Up, Up And Away on the journey of a lifetime!" Details here.

The Cat In (re)Boots | Exchange Theatre/Brighton Fringe | from 28 May
"With kindness, fraternity and diversity, our anti-racist version reclaims 'Puss In Boots' for what he really is: all he does is out of generosity and justice. Seen as a cunning joker and a thief, Puss In Boots is one of the most beloved heroes for the children as the adults! He makes his master's fortune by playing tricks on everyone, but are they tricks or justice? One of the best models of social mobility: our cat breaks down all barriers". Another show taking place as part of the lovely Brighton Fringe, for small ones aged seven and above. See this page here.

Removed | Edinburgh International Children's Festival | 27 May-6 Jun (pictured)
This is just one event taking place as part of the Edinburgh International Children's Festival. Any readers who live in the Scottish capital might be interested in some of the outdoor, site specific stuff they are running (and if so see this page here), but there's also a lot of online content that doesn't require you to be in Edinburgh. You'll see lots of Children's Festival shows taking place via the Traverse Theatre's online festival, and from that line up I picked 'Remove', which is suitable for children aged eleven and over, plus their families, of course. It tells the story of Adam, a young man who shares his experiences of being in the care system, and promises to be both heartbreaking and hilarious. Read more about it here.


THREE MORE DIGITAL THINGS>>

Spymaker/Eggstration | Morpheus
I think we may well have mentioned both these shows before, but while we are talking about stuff for kids, I thought it was a good idea to remind you of them. Morpheus specialise in these interactive online adventure experiences, and there are two currently available for children: one, as you might deduce from the title above, is about being a spy, the second is about attempting (for legitimate reasons, I should add) to steal a priceless artefact from a museum. Of course, if you're now bored and thinking "why don't they stop tipping kids shows, I'm a grown up and I want grown up stuff", Morpheus also have a number of these aimed at older audiences. Take a look at this page here for info about all of them.

Crimes On Centre Court | New Old Friends | from 31 May
You may remember that in the run up to Christmas we tipped a comedy audio drama being distributed by the medium of podcast, which went by the name of 'Crimes Against Christmas'. You may well have taken in every single episode and loved it. In which case we have great news for you. The company behind that are the company behind this, 'Crimes On Centre Court', episodes of which start dropping on 31 May. And if you can't wait for that, you can catch up with the series they released in February and March: 'Crimes Of A Country Garden'. Hurrah. Find all the episodes (including the Christmas ones) here, and buy New Old Friends 'a coffee' here.

Circus Days And Nights | Cirkus Cirkör and Malmö Opera | 29 May-13 Jun (pictured, photo by Karolina Henke)
This is a world premiere of a new opera by Philip Glass, with libretto from David Henry Hwang, which will be performed at Sweden's Malmo Opera house to a small socially distanced audience, but also streamed to audiences worldwide. It's described as "genre defying", and is based on poetry by Robert Lax focusing on the traveling circus in 1940s America. As you may already have worked out, it's been created by a fabulously talented team, which includes director Tilde Björfors from Cirkus Cirkör, and I think this will be a real treat for those of you who love musical things, especially if you're also a bit of a circus fan. See this page here (and you might want to let Google translate it for you unless you are fluent in Swedish).
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