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Spring 2020 at The Playground Theatre

 Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act

THE Playground Theatre’s 2020 season foregrounds the work of female playwrights, directors and creatives with a wide-reaching programme of theatre and dance.

Stand out productions include a play about the life of Ida Rubinstein, a dancer with Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes who fearlessly courted controversy. Later in the Spring, Joshua Sobel’s Sinners comes to the theatre in a production directed by the award-winning actor Brian Cox and starring Nicole Ansari.

The season also features Mum, the story of caring for an elderly relative with dementia, and Fragments, another show combining themes of memory, history and how we (re)write the past.


Twelfth Night – January 10 and 11. Suitable for ages 12+.

In the country of Illyria, twins Viola and Sebastian find themselves shipwrecked and separated after a violent storm, leaving them both believing each other to be dead. Here begins a journey of discovery within and through the rich and beautifully flawed characters of Twelfth Night.

In this new adaptation by Kirsty Bushell, presented by the internationally diverse All One Theatre Company, the production explores what happens when people try to fix their insides by changing their outsides. What happens to the characters as they relentlessly pursue their heart desires, at all cost.

Ida Rubenstein: The Final Act – January 23 to February 15. Suitable for ages 12+.

From Paris to Palestine, from dancing in the Ballet Russes to commissioning Ravel’s Boléro, Ida Rubinstein’s career as a dancer and impresario saw her working with artists such as Diaghilev, Nijinsky and Debussy. But despite her varied career and her fame in her own time, her name is all but forgotten, whilst her contemporaries live on in memory.

Now Naomi Sorkin, actor and former Ballerina, portrays the Russian heiress’ dramatic life: her scandalous Salomé that lead her embarrassed family to commit her to an asylum, her rise to the heights of fame in Paris, her bisexual love affairs, the assassination of her long time lover Lord Moyne, and her work as a nurse in both World Wars. Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act combines text, movement, music, projections and film to evoke a long-gone era of theatrical extravagance.

Based on the original scenario The Interview That Never Happened by Irina Ioannesyan and Natella Boltyanskaya, Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act has a book by Christian Holder, is directed and choreographed by Christian Holder and is designed by David Roger, The cast includes Naomi Sorkin, Adam Clayton Jones, Marco Gambino and Darren Berry.

Girls at Night on the Internet: The Digital Error (R+D 2) – February 14.

Sex online wasn’t meant for us. But now it’s ours for the taking. We are the digital error.

Slipping and sliding between traditional conventions of gender and sexuality, audiences are invited to swim and bathe in a “secret” digital dimension. A nebulous “place” of intrigue, illusion, curiosity and motherboards, this radical new piece of interdisciplinary theatre explores how female, femme, queer and gender non- conforming people are expressing and interacting with their sexuality digitally.

Challenging patriarchal perspectives of sexuality online, Girls At Night On The Internet: The Digital Error combines theatre, film and queer feminist performance art in an eclectic, electric theatrical experience.

Sleeping Beauty

The Great Experiment – February 18 and 19. Suitable for ages 14+.

We were taught in school about the Abolition of Slavery.

We weren’t taught about the huge compensation paid to the slave owners. We weren’t taught about the two million + Indian migrant labourers who were indentured to work in plantations around the world, replacing slave labour. The abolitionists, and Indian nationalists, called this a ‘new system of slavery’ – the ‘international shame of the Indian’. The roots of our Mauritian, Asian-Caribbean, Malaysian and African-Asian communities are all buried in this history, known as The Great Experiment.

As award-winning theatre-makers Border Crossings create their new play about these indentured migrations, the actors begin to feel the weight of history in their own lives and their responsibility to the past. Join us behind the scenes as we question who has the right to tell a story and who has the right to be heard.

The Great Experiment is created by Border Crossings in association with Dugdale Centre, Exchange Theatre and The Playground Theatre.

Sleeping Beauty – February 21.

Let’s All Dance returns with this much-loved ballet for the whole family. Dazzling dancers, Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score and gorgeous costumes bring this glittering classical ballet to life.

A good fairy turned evil by jealousy casts a bad spell on a young princess. But an act of pure love will undo her magic, restoring her heart and bringing peace and harmony to the whole kingdom. This innovative company presents shortened classics to introduce children to the wonder and magic of live dance. Character and narrative led stories engage boys and girls from start to finish and are loved by all ages.

There will be a photo opportunity with the dancers on stage after every show!

Sinners – February 26 to March 14.

Layla, a married English professor, has an affair with one of her married students, Nur. Out of fear that the oppressing authorities would find out and kill them both, Nur decides to confess, claiming that Layla seduced him. A fully staged production directed by Olivier and Emmy Award-winner Brian Cox, the play examines issues of women’s rights, societal constraints, and what choices one makes for love.

Written by Joshua Sobol with a cast that includes Nicole Ansari.

Mum – March 15 to April 5. Suitable for ages 12+.

Written by Juliet Cowan and directed by Yasmeen Arden, Mum is a play about identity, love and losing your mind.

Sorrel and Bun are struggling to manage their mum who has dementia. Mum is struggling to manage the real world and the compelling world of her hallucinations.

The play asks the questions: What does it mean to be a mother? Who gets to decide what is real? And when is it OK to laugh instead of cry?

Also at The Playground Theatre: Theatre Lab Company’s production of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (December 15 to December 29, 2019).