The Royal Court today launched its Theatre Local scheme, which will present a season of work in a disused shop at the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

Described this morning by artistic director Dominic Cooke as a “really significant experiment in relationships between art and audiences”, the season opens with Debbie Tucker's Random, from 3 to 27 March 2010.

Random will be followed by the transfer of three productions from the current season in the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs: Anupama Chandrasekhar's Disconnect (31 March-3 April), DC Moore's The Empire (2-5 June) and Anya Reiss' Spur of the Moment (25-28 August).

Funded by a £100k grant from Bloomberg, Theatre Local began with the pilot run of Levi David Addai's Oxford Street in June 2008, which extended its run due to demand (See News, 6 June 2008).

Looking beyond Sloane Square

Cooke described the Elephant and Castle shopping centre as “the perfect base for us to start this venture”, confirming that he wants to run the scheme there “for a minimum of three years”. He added that the decision to run the scheme was largely to provide access to productions for “people who will never travel to Sloane Square”.

“We're based in one of the richest boroughs in Europe … which can create an obstacle in the audience relationship” he said. “In a theatre, it's as important who you're sitting next to as what you're seeing on stage.”

This morning's press conference was held in the bare shop (number 215/216) that will host the performances. Cooke said the performances will be “unplugged”, with a minimum of set and lighting and flexible seating configurations. Tickets will be priced at £8 (£5 concessions), with the first performance of each run being 'pay what you can'.

A minimum of 20 tickets will be available on the day of the performance, and can be booked through the Royal Court website or bought on the door on a first come basis.