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The Arcola's new season includes Richard III with Greg Hicks

Greg Hicks as Richard-III (c) Alex-Brenner

Season preview

SPEAKING about the Arcola Theatre’s 2017 Spring/Summer Season, Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen said:

“Arcola’s new season confronts tyranny – the tyranny of people by rulers (Richard III, Tamburlaine, These Trees [Are Made of Blood]), states of emergency (The Plague, Ready Or Not) and work in the global economy (The Pulverised).

“At a time when the world order is under strain – but also when ordinary people are feeling the strain of that change – these plays offer a chance to reflect on our afflictions, and on ways we might resist the worst excesses of power.

“In-keeping with Arcola’s commitment to diverse theatre, the season features new productions from leading BAMER companies Yellow Earth and Kali Theatre. Half of the shows are directed by women, including two original works by female playwrights.”

STUDIO 1, now a fully producing house, hosts three productions this season:

The Plague, based on La Peste by Albert Camus and adapted and directed by Neil Bartlett – April 5 to May 6.

April 29th; lunchtime. Found Mr Michel in the street outside the apartment. Walk unsteady. Eyes unnaturally bright.

Dr Rieux is noticing things. A rat on the stairs, where it has no right to be. A sore throat becoming a fever. The first signs of panic. It all amounts to a troubling diagnosis… so what’s the cure?

The Plague is Albert Camus’ electrifying story about living through a time of crisis and fighting back against despair.

Written in the aftermath of the Nazis’ march across Europe, it struck a powerful chord with millions struggling to understand the fascist ‘plague’ that had just overwhelmed them.

Now, seventy years later, multi-award-winning director Neil Bartlett (Or You Could Kiss Me, National Theatre; Stella, LIFT) retells Camus’ classic for our own dangerous times. His frank and gripping new stage adaptation puts chaos under the microscope, and plants the germ of hope in the power of our common humanity.

The cast includes Joseph Alessi, Burt Caesar, Billy Postlethwaite, Sara Powell and Martin Turner and the production has lighting by Jack Weir and sound by Dinah Mullen.

Richard III by William Shakespeare, directed by Mehmet Ergen – May 11 to June 10.

I’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders Before I’ll see the crown so foul misplaced.

Gripping and outrageous, Shakespeare’s Richard III is the tale of a ruthless, power-crazed misogynist who lies and cheats his way to the highest seat in the land.

Following his celebrated performances as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Greg Hicks takes on the role of the tyrant king Richard in what is described as a startling new production, directed by Mehmet Ergen.

The production is designed by Anthony Lamble and has lighting by David Howe. Further casting will be announced in due course.

These Trees are Made of Blood, from an original story by Amy Draper (who also directs), Paul Jenkins (book) and Darren Clark (music and lyrics) – June 14 to July 15.

And for our next act … The Magical Military Junta … Will make 30,000 people disappear before your very eyes.

1970s Argentina. A violent, right-wing dictatorship. Thousands of citizens, seized by the authorities, have “disappeared”.

Inside the country’s most disreputable club, a mother is about to risk everything to find her missing daughter.

Described as spectacular, arresting and totally unique, These Trees are Made of Blood blends cabaret and original live music to tell a vital, human story from Argentina’s Dirty War.

Step into Buenos Aires for this immersive theatrical experience, which pulls back the curtain on a secretive state, and shines the spotlight on a powerful act of resistance.

Tickets (for all three Studio 1 productions): £12 – £22 (previews £10 – £17) – available online at

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm.

STUDIO 2 is also hosting three productions:

Tamburlaine by Christopher Marlowe, adapted and directed by Ng Choon Ping – March 15 to April 8.

I mean to be a terror to the world.

In his new adaptation for Yellow Earth theatre company, Ng Choon Ping directs a startling production with a British East Asian cast and live taiko drumming. Lourdes Faberes makes her Arcola debut as Tamburlaine.

As ‘strongman’ leaders exert their influence, and new power from the East asserts its growing dominance, Christopher Marlowe’s classic tale takes on a new urgency and relevance for our time.

The cast also includes Melody Brown, Fiona Hampton, Susan Hingley, Amanda Maud and Leo Wan, with live taiko drumming by Joji Hirota.

The production is designed by Moi Tran, with video design by Gillian Tan, lighting by Neill Brinkworth, movement by Rose Ryan and dramaturgy by Stewart Melton. Creative Producer is Kumiko Mendl.

Ready or Not by Naylah Ahmed, directed by Helena Bell – April 11 to April 29 (part of a UK tour).

Why would an ordinary retired teacher take a young Muslim man hostage in her living room?

In this timely political thriller from Naylah Ahmed (winner of the Royal National Theatre Playwrights Award), an innocent encounter soon develops into a dangerous game of hide and seek with the truth.

In a world of 24-hour news, is there any escape from fear? And how can we detect the real enemy at our gates?

Ready or Not is presented by Kali Theatre which has been presenting groundbreaking new theatre by South Asian women for over 20 years. New Artistic Director Helena Bell directs what is described as a sharp, thought-provoking world premiere.

The cast includes Joan Blackham, Naeem Hayat and Natasha Rickman and the production is designed by Rajha Shakiry, with lighting by Katharine Williams, video design by Daniel Denton and sound by Chris Drohan.

The Pulverised by Alexandra Badea, translated by Lucy Phelps and directed by Andy Sava – May 2 to May 27.

Stop the rat race. Stop time. Stop the money. Stop the anxiety. Stop everything that has made human beings so bitter.

A quality assurance officer from France, a call centre manager from Senegal, a factory worker from China, and an engineer from Romania – each leads a life apart, but all work round-the-clock for the same multinational corporation. When work has no borders, what’s the cost?

Alexandra Badea’s captivating drama is a powerful and disturbing portrait of globalisation and its far-reaching effects on our lives.

The Pulverised arrives in the UK with a new English translation following an explosive premiere at the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where it won the prestigious Grand Prix de la Littérature.

Tickets (for all three Studio 2 productions): £17/£14 concessions (previews £12) – available online at

Times: Monday to Saturday at 8pm, Saturday matinees at 3.30pm.