MONDAY 21 JUNE 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
CLAIRE STONE: I AM A THEATRE - 40 YEARS OF CLEAN BREAK THEATRE COMPANY
Many readers will be aware of the Clean Break Theatre Company, a group that works with women in prison, as well as staging productions that deal with the topic of imprisoned women, and using those projects to keep the failures of the criminal justice system on the cultural radar.

The company was founded in 1979 and this month stages 'I Am A Theatre', an exhibition celebrating forty years of its work and activism. They have also been busy in the last couple of months too, releasing acclaimed filmed and audio plays online.

To find out more about the exhibition, I spoke to curator Claire Stone.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

The 'I Am A Theatre' exhibition runs from 24 Jun-31 Jul at Swiss Cottage Gallery. Tickets are free and can be booked in advance online here. You can find audio play 'Blis-ta' here, and the film of 'Sweatbox' here.
Some COVID restrictions remain in force in the UK, although some socially-distanced shows are possible, so we are tipping plenty of them along with some online experiences, many featuring performers and companies we first enjoyed at the Edinburgh Fringe.


THREE THEATRICAL THINGS TO SEE>>


Staircase | Southwark Playhouse | 23 Jun-17 Jul
While there has been a further delay to the return of full capacity shows in England as a result of COVID restrictions being extended into July, there are still plenty of socially distanced performances to enjoy this week - so let's tip some of them. Starting with a staging of the late Charles Dyer's 1966 poignant comedy 'Staircase' over at Southwark Playhouse. "It's the early 1960s. Charlie and Harry are hairdressers in Brixton and have been together for 20 years. Quick humour and dreams keep them afloat but same-sex relationships are illegal and Charlie has been arrested in a pub while sitting on a man's knee. Simmering underneath the banter and hilarious mockery, Charlie anxiously awaits a court summons and Harry has his own troubles - his hair is rapidly falling out, a disaster for a hairdresser". A livestream is also happening, read more about the show here.

Bad Nights And Odd Days | Greenwich Theatre | 23 Jun-10 Jul
Yay more theatre, and in a format that always pleases me. I am a big fan of short plays (and may well have mentioned it once or twice) and collections of them. So I was happy to see this show coming up at Greenwich Theatre, a presentation of four short pieces by the brilliant Caryl Churchill. The production celebrates fifty years since the BBC broadcast of the writer's radio play 'Abortive' by transferring the short to the medium of theatre, and staging it alongside 1978's 'Seagulls', 1980's 'Three More Sleepless Nights', and 'Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen', which premiered in 1971. They cover a range of topics and themes, and as you'd expect from Churchill, including both the personal and the political. For more information and to book yourself in to a socially distanced performance, see this page here.

Catch 22 Years | Camden People's Theatre | 26-27 Jun (pictured)
Just gonna let the blurb speak for itself here, a very powerful show from an acclaimed performer: "Award-winning actress and comedian Katie O'Brien presents a fresh, funny, and taboo-smashing take on addiction and recovery. We're familiar with stories of addicted pop stars to born again pimps but what does being 21 years clean really mean? She has been in a love-hate relationship with Twelve Step fellowship and modern-day psychology for over two decades and has a few things to say about why it works and why it doesn't. Hilarious, brutally honest, heart-warming and provocative, a one-woman show that challenges perceptions of recovering from addiction, pathologising humanity and the quest of self-discovery". Click here for information and to book.


THREE THINGS TO TAKE IN ONLINE>>

Still | Wandsworth Arts Fringe | from 25 Jun
Whooooo, the Wandsworth Fringe begins this week and there is loads to take in of all description - theatre, dance, exhibitions, workshops, stuff for kids - and much of it is live for you to go and see in person, but a number of things, as you'd expect in these pandemic times, are online. And so I would encourage those of you within travelling distance of Wandsworth to take a look at the full line up of events here, but I do want to talk about an event available to take in from the comfort of your own home (gosh, I've used that phrase a lot this past year), because I heard about it a while ago and immediately wanted to tell you about it: a film about Wandsworth and its residents, it tells the story of an actor called Rory, struggling following the lockdown closure of theatres. Read more about that here.

Outlier | Bristol Old Vic | 24-25 Jun
A live show taking place in Bristol, but two of the performances in the run will be broadcast to audiences at home, which definitely seems like a best of both worlds arrangement that I would really like to see continue. Anyway, here's what this intriguing show is all about: "'The sky was painfully big, but our worlds were small, our lives little. So when we found each other in the muddle of it all, that feeling of belonging was addictive'. Mal, Ama, Lewis and Oskar have grown up together; hedonistically charging through life in rural Devon. Living from party to party, they're railing against the stories that have been written for them as they stand at the precipice of adulthood. But all the space can be suffocating, and it's tough sometimes - feeling so low in a place so beautiful". More info here.

Salt: Dispersed | Battersea Arts Centre | 22-27 Jun (pictured)
"In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle - from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past. It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back". The original stage show 'Salt' was performed as part of the British Council Showcase back in 2017. 'Salt: Dispersed' is a film adaptation of that award winning, important piece about grief, black British identity and colonialism. Info and booking here.


THREE FUNNY THINGS TO SEE>>

The Joy Of Jokes | Camden Comedy Club | 26 Jun
And now for some funny stuff, courtesy of a number of TW faves, starting with one, indeed, featuring a recipient of one of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards a couple of years back: this is a solo stand up hour from Ivor Dembina, a comedian well known to Edinburgh Festival Fringe audiences. And others, of course, it's not like the Edinburgh Fringe is the only time he puts on a show. Anyway, here's something one of our reviewers said about another show by this veteran of stand up: "Dembina's perfectly-crafted method of telling a joke - either from his own experiences or from a Jewish joke book - will have you howling with laughter". So that's quite an endorsement, isn't it? See this page here.

Macbeth | Old Royal Naval College | 26 Jun (pictured)
'Macbeth'? In a section about funny things? Have you gone mad? Is what you may well be thinking, but what you may not know, and what I do know, is that this isn't any old 'Macbeth'. It's a comedic retelling by the bright and brilliant previously tipped Handlebards, the cycling Shakespearean actors who carry their costumes, props and sets on the back of their bikes and perform their energetic and also environmentally sustainable productions all over the UK. Luckily for Londoners, they are calling at the Old Royal Naval College this week, and will be performing outside as they often do. I have checked the weather forecast and at the moment it looks like the chances of rain are relatively low and it will be quite warm, so hopefully conditions will be good. London-dwellers, book here, and readers outwith the capital check here, in case they're calling at a location near you.

Jonny Awsum Is Coming To Town | Museum Of Comedy | 25 Jun
I know that Jonny Awsum has been on 'Britain's Got Talent' and everything and lots of people are aware of him because of that, but our reviewers up at the Edinburgh Fringe loved his shows before he was on the old 'BGT' show, and that's why he's in the pile marked TW favourites. It's also why this is the second tip we've run for his shows in the last few months, because we mentioned his digital show happening as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival earlier in the year. Anyway, here's a sentence from a review of one of his shows: "Awsum really is, erm, awesome. His captivating songs are infectious, filled with sharp wit and incredible warmth". Which is exactly what you want from a musical comedian, isn't it? Don't hesitate to book here.


THREE MORE INTERESTING EVENTS>>

Immigration Crisis: The Musical | Camden People's Theatre | 22-23 Jun
Commissioned by the Migration Matters Festival, 'Immigration Crisis: The Musical' explores the lives of five women from different backgrounds who move into a new house together, and it sounds great. "As food unites these women, their cultures and differences begin to meet at the dinner table. Exploring different heritages, political beliefs and lifestyles, together they confront the realities of navigating through life in the UK as an immigrant; from discovering that tinned cans of spaghetti exist, to setting up a bank account as a foreigner, and dealing with issues of national identity. These women make light of the struggles they face, the assumptions made about them and the stereotypes they have to fight every day". Read more about it here.

The Human Connection | Omnibus Theatre | 22 Jun-4 Jul (pictured)
A double bill of new plays from acclaimed Irish actor and playwright Eugene O'Hare, directed by the playwright himself. In 'Larry Devlin Wants To Talk To You About Something That Happened', a forgotten moment from the past returns to a single father in a quiet Irish border town. 'Child 786', a black comedy about "the extremes of family life in an extreme situation", is set in lockdown and sees 22 year old Lennox leaving a deserted university to return to the home of his single mother. Great plays, great cast. See this page here for more.

Dagny Wants To Dance | Bureau Of Silly Ideas | 26-27 Jun
"Dagny, a giant bird, is ready to guide you through a world of vibes, moves and joy to get you ready for the party of your dreams. An intimate whirlwind of tender, interactive fun, MAGNA's new show combines the silliness we all miss, the togetherness we all crave and a gentle reconnection with the humans around us". This sounds rather interesting, a thirty minute immersive show for small groups of around six people, which explores hope, connection and inclusion. For more information and to book in, see this link here.
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