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Almeida Festival 2012

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS SUMMER, the Almeida’s annual festival, which celebrates the best of international theatre, runs from July 2 to July 28, 2012.

During those four weeks, the Almeida will present productions by Inua Ellams, Inspector Sands, Lost Dog and Custom/Practice with return visits from the TEAM, Greyscale and Young Friends of the Almeida. There will also be a programme of one off events, to be announced shortly.

The Festival will enable audiences to hear new and diverse theatre voices, bringing a fresh perspective to the Almeida’s work.

Inua Ellams – Knight Watch

Presented by Fuel, poet, writer, teacher and performer Inua Ellams starts the Almeida’s 2012 Festival with Knight Watch. A 45 minutes site specific performance, accompanied by two musicians, Knight Watch will be performed on July 2 and 3 at 7.30pm at Spa Fields, Clerkenwell.

Michael keeps away from the warring tribes until a passerby helps him out of a tight situation. Instantly, he is pulled into the culture he has tried to escape. As the city spirals out of control around him and battle lines are drawn, will Michael succeed in ending the war?

Knight Watch is commissioned by the Albany and funded by Arts Council England.

Knight Watch will also be performed at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (June 23-24), International Student Drama Festival, Sheffield (June 26), Camden People’s Theatre (June 29-30), Tara Theatre at Coronation Gardens, Southfields (July 5–7), Arcola Theatre at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden (July 10), The Last Refuge, Peckham (July 11), Latitude Festival, Southwold Outdoor Theatre Stage (July 14), Southbank Centre, Central London (July 22), Stockton International Riverside Festival (August 2–3), Live Theatre in association with NewcastleGateshead Bridges Festival (August 4-5) and The Albany at Deptford Lounge, Deptford (September 21).

Inspector – Sands – Mass-Observation

Inspector Sands creates devised work with a particular focus on the way in which global events and trends manifest themselves in the detail of everyday life. Performances of Mass-Observation, their third show, are on July 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on July 14 at 2.30pm.

In 1937 a young woman is discovering the world; in 2012 a young man gets lost in his grandfather’s care home. Mass-Observation is about 95 years that have gone by in a flash and an afternoon that lasts an eternity.

Inspector Sands was founded in 2005 and their two award-winning shows, Hysteria and If That’s All There Is have toured nationally and internationally, including presentations in China (with the British Council) and New York City.

Mass-Observation was commissioned by the Almeida Theatre and The New Wolsey Theatre and is supported by The Corn Exchange Newbury.

Custom/Practice – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

One of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is magically retold by London based theatre company Custom/Practice. Performances at the Almeida are on July 16, 17, 20 (captioned performance) and 21 at 7.30pm with a matinee at 3pm on July 21.

This edited production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream moves from a bleak modern, inner city school detention room to the fantastical world of princes and lovers, forests and fairies.

Founded in November 2009, Custom/Practice are committed to creating arresting productions of new and classical work, delivered alongside an integrated programme of professional development and high-level educational outreach that reflects the best practice and cultural diversity of 21st Century Britain.

Lost Dog – It Needs Horses/Home for Broken Turns

Lost Dog will present their latest show, It Needs Horses/Home for Broken Turns on July 23, 24, 26 and 28 at 7.30pm.

It Needs Horses, winner of the Place Prize in 2011, tells the tale of two down at heel performers and their increasingly desperate attempts to entertain the crowd. Home for Broken Turns is the first showing of a new work from Lost Dog which expands the story of this faded ringmaster and his bedraggled assistant.

Formed in 2004, Lost Dog has created three full length works – Hungry Ghosts, which toured nationally and internationally in 2007/8, The Rain Parade, which was commissioned by Dance Digital and toured in 2009 and Salvage, created at the Corn Exchange in Newbury and performed at British Dance Edition and the Brighton Festival 2010.

Young Friends of the Almeida – Parallax and the Mini Dream

The Festival continues with a run of performances by the Young Friends of the Almeida, a company of young people who have responded to the creative work of the Almeida’s 2011/12 season.

Written by Rebecca Prichard, whose most recent play was the critically acclaimed Dream Pill for Clean Break Theatre Company, Parallax will be directed by Natalie Abrahami, former Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre.

Performances of Parallax are on July 25 and 27 at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on July 28 at 3pm.

The Mini Dream, a shortened version of Shakespeare’s classic developed during the festival through workshops with Custom/Practice, will also be performed by the Almeida’s Young Friends on July 21 at 12.30pm.

The first Young Friends of the Almeida’s production in 2009, Or Nearest Offer, was written by Tanya Ronder and directed by Vik Sivalingam. Red Helicopter, written by Robin French and directed by Tessa Walker followed in 2010 and in 2011, Lu Kemp directed John Donelly’s play Encourage The Others.

Greyscale – Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone

Greyscale return to the Almeida with their latest production Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone, written and directed by Selma Dimitrijevic. Performances are on July 18 (to include audio description, captioning and integrated British Sign Language) and 19 at 7.30pm.

What happens when we discover that our parents are flawed human beings, and that at some point, sooner than we think, they are suddenly going to disappear from our lives? Intimate and funny, this play presents a lifetime of conversations, condensed into four versions of the same moment.

Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone recently enjoyed a hugely successful run in Moscow where it was part of the repertoire of Teatar Doc for over a year. In 2011 the production won two major awards at the Tekstura Festival in Perm.

Since their inception in 2009, Greyscale have produced work in partnership with Northern Stage, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Theatre Royal Bath, Arts Council England, Warwick University, Oran Mor and the Theatre Royal Stratford East. They took part in the 2011 Almeida Festival presenting The Theatre Brothel.

The TEAM – RoosevElvis

Returning to the Almeida, New York ensemble the TEAM will present RoosevElvis on July 9, 10, 11 and 12 at 7.30pm.

An enormous man strides through western landscapes in a place called “the Badlands.” His dead wife visits him at night in fever dreams. And somewhere else, warmer and decades into the future, in a place called “Graceland,” another man lies face down on a toilet. They speak American. They happen to be played by women.

The TEAM – the Theatre of the Emerging American Moment – is a New York City-based theatre company dedicated to dissecting and celebrating the experience of living in America today.

Led by Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin, the TEAM took part in the Almeida’s 2009 Festival with their production of The Capitalism Project. Three times winners of the Edinburgh Fringe First Awards, the Company are also the recipients of the 2007 Dublin Fringe Best Production and the 2008 Total Theatre Award. They were last in London at the Barbican with Architecting in 2009.

RoosevElvis is produced in association with the Almeida Theatre, the Gate Theatre and Brooklyn’s Bushwick Starr.

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Filumena continues at the Almeida until May 12. It will be followed – from May 17 to June 30 – by Children’s Children.