BRINGING TOGETHER AN OUTSTANDING COLLECTION OF SIX NEW SHOWS AND SEVEN FIRST BITES
This season’s pertinent theme of care highlights both the theatre’s enduring passion for nurturing emerging artists
In a unique collaborative programme, Ovalhouse’s autumn season brings together an outstanding collection of six new shows plus seven FiRST BiTES that, for the first time, are all coproduced in-house by Ovalhouse. This season’s pertinent theme of care highlights both the theatre’s enduring passion for nurturing emerging artists – every production in this season started its life at Ovalhouse – as well as the way all of the plays deal with how we care for one another.
Ovalhouse are dedicated to supporting artists with important voices to create radical and innovative theatre. In a time when our government retreats from the provision of social care, it is telling that these artists all, in very different ways, explore the complex ideas of who provides care, who needs our care and the challenges faced when this care is stripped away. Exploring the world through the lens of poverty, child welfare and the trans experience, the season journeys through comedic highs and harrowing lows, whilst welcoming diverse audiences of every age.
Kicking off the season is Annie Siddons’ Dennis of Penge which explores poverty, addiction, friendship, ecstasy, love, and chicken shops. The restless new thriller POT from Ambreen Razia (The Diary of a Hounslow Girl) reveals the hidden lives of Britain’s invisible children, adrift in the care system at the mercy of gang culture. Meanwhile, Chris Goode (Monkey Bars, Men in the Cities) returns to Ovalhouse for a three-week run with his latest solo performance Mirabel, exploring what it means to be lost. The season will conclude with a joyful and irreverent new adaptation of the classic story Snow White by award-winning The Wrong Crowd, crafted from an intriguing formula of the finest puppetry, toe-tapping live music and dazzling humour.
In addition to their unique programme of FiRST BiTES that give artists the chance to stage their work in front of an audience for the first time, Ovalhouse also continue their Young Associates scheme. The six new fearless and daring young artists who will gain the invaluable opportunity for a full year’s mentorship and financial support to develop their work will be programmed as part 2019 summer season’s FiRST BiTES. With the theatre’s care and guidance, these FiRST BiTE productions can develop into full-length shows such as Spun Glass Theatre’s previously sold-out show Princess Charming and award-winning poet Nick Makoha’s The Dark that tells the vivid and moving story of the migration he made, at the age of four, with his mother.
Ovalhouse’s Executive Producer, Stella Kanu, comments, It is a lie that our societal and familial broken parts don’t harm us on deep, sometimes hard-to-repair, levels. Harmonising the souls of our children, our communities, our broken and even high-achieving adults, has got to matter. How else will we heal from the devastating effects of lopsided wealth creation, and the personal and familial trauma associated with poor housing, poverty and lack? When we reach our potentials, will it be in a bubble made by our own hands? Or something richer, much more collective in nature, but built on feeling personally and individually strong and empowered?
Kanu’s powerful words resonate throughout this season, seen pertinently in some of the FiRST BiTES; Wonder Girl tells the true story of child protection lawyer Eva Edo who explores the notion that children in care are in fact superheroes who escape into their own surreal worlds to survive. Additionally, Travis Alabanza explores the ways in which the collective care of public spaces is not afforded to transgender bodies. While many of these plays are set against a backdrop of neglect, abandonment and loss, a strong and hopeful light shines through these stories. All of these characters eventually find community, solidarity and self-empowerment. Even the most famous abandoned child in our season, Snow White, finds a troupe of seven moles who can help her to change her future.