Royal Court announces new writing as part of 2019 season

The Royal Court has announced a season of new work for 2019 featuring both emerging young writers and more established ones including Jack Thorne.

Royal Court 2019 Season
Thorne’s new play is The End of History…, set in 1997, where married couple Sal and David worry how their socialist ideals have been communicated to the next generation represented by their three children.

It will be directed in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs by Royal Court associate director John Tiffany from 27 June to 10 August. He and Thorne have previously worked together on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Design will be by Grace Smart, lighting by Jack Knowles and sound by Tom Gibbons.

White Pearl is a new play by young Thai-Australian writer Anchuli Felicia King, exploring what happens when a small cosmetics company’s skin cream advert goes viral for all the wrong reasons. Directed by Nana Dakin, it will run in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 10 May to 15 June.

Nicôle Lecky will perform in her own new play, Superhoe, in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 30 January to 16 February. It tells the story of 24-year-old wannabe singer/rapper Sasha Clayton who is trying to find her place in the world while stuck at home living with her mum, step-dad and irritating little sister. It will be directed by Jade Lewis in a co-production with Talawa Theatre Company.

New show, Inside Bitch, has been created by members of Clean Break, the ground-breaking theatre company run by women who have served time in prison. It has been conceived by Stacey Gregg and Deborah Pearson and devised by Lucy Edkins, Jennifer Joseph, TerriAnn Oudjar and Jade Small.

Inside Bitch is a devised ensemble performance described as a playful subversion of the representation of women in prison and how things aren’t quite as seen on TV. It runs in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 27 February to 23 March.

A new immersive escape-room experience in April will explore the power structures within the theatre industry, devised by theatre-makers Dismantle which specialises in “work about race and power in order to decolonise theatre”.

Dismantle This Room has been created by writer Nina Segal, director Milli Bhatia and producer Ingrid Marvin. It is designed by Cindy Lin, with lighting design by Rajiv Pattani and sound design/composition by Duramaney Kamara. It is in association with the Bush Theatre where the show had its first outing this summer as part of Project 2036.

Pah-La is a new play by Abhishek Majumdar, based on real stories during the 2008 Lhasa riots in Tibet in China. It follows the impact of the unrest on a Buddhist nun, a commander and their families, described as an examination of the future of non-violence. It will be directed by Debbie Hannan and runs in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 3 April to 27 April.

Selina Thompson’s award-winning show, Salt, comes to the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 14 May to 1 June. Performed by the writer, it presents the experiences of two artists who, in 2016, retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle to Ghana to Jamaica and back. It focuses on grief, home, “afropressism”, the Black Atlantic, the forgetting of the UK’s colonial history and the impact that has on the daily life of Caribbean communities in the UK today.

Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner has been written by Jasmine Lee-Jones and was developed as part of the Young Court programme to expand the Royal Court’s commitment to new voices. It focuses on young Cleo, holed up in her bedroom with a fascination for TV reality show and Instagram star Kylie Jenner. Directed by Milli Bhatia, it runs at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 4 July to 27 July.

David Ireland’s acclaimed play, Cyprus Avenue, returns to the Royal Court after a run in the Jerwood Upstairs in 2016. It will be staged in a re-configured Jerwood Downstairs from 14 February to 16 March, again starring Stephen Rea.

Directed by Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone, it explores the modern-day complexity of Ulster Loyalism through the darkly comic story of a fanatical Belfast unionist. Design is by Lizzie Clachan, lighting design by Paul Keogan and sound design by David McSeveney.

As with all the plays announced for the new season, further casting is to be announced.

Other events announced by the Royal Court include the Brexit Big Band & Leavers’ Assembly running throughout the London theatre’s building on 29 and 30 March, marking the currently scheduled date for the UK leaving the EU.

With composer and musician Matthew Herbert’s Big Band, the Royal Court will be inviting artists from across the UK and the rest of Europe to contribute in some way to a Leavers’ Assembly. It is based on the ritual of children going from primary school to secondary: some are thrilled and some want to stay where they are but both have to acknowledge that change is happening.

The Brexit Big Band project, started by Herbert when article 50 was triggered, is described as a “celebration of collaboration and the imagination”, recorded and performed across Europe with 1,000 musicians and singers, including walking the Northern Irish border, swimming the channel and flying a WW2 plane.

Leading British playwright Winsome Pinnock has been announced as the seventh writer in Passage: A Windrush Celebration, a programme of seven monologue films curated by theatre director Lynette Linton. They will be screened in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on 13 April along with panel events and festivities.

Along with Linton herself, the other writers are Rikki Beadle-Blair, Natasha Gordon, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Jamael Westman and Roy Williams. It is being curated and produced by Linton with 
Christopher Haydon as a response to the Windrush scandal where many longtime UK residents were threatened with deportation.

The films, which focus on the British West Indian experience, will be released weekly online later this year. They have been produced in collaboration with the Royal Court, Black Apron Entertainment and Misfit Films.

Featherstone said: “Theatre is a civic space – a space to hold, challenge and illuminate the questions of our times whether personal, national or global. This season does that.

“We are honoured at the Royal Court that these writers, theatre-makers and musicians are trusting their unflinching, yet often vulnerable stories and journeys with us to place before you – so we may be enlightened, shocked, entertained, moved and changed.

“Many of these artists have never worked with us before, many are at the start of their journey and others more experienced are returning to the very personal to make sense of where we are right now. We are honoured to give them our building.”

Tickets for the new season go on sale to Friends of the Royal Court on Friday 26 October 2018 at 12 noon and to the general public on Tuesday 30 October 2018 at 12 noon.


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