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BAC Celebrate 30th with Kneehigh & One-on-One

By • West End
Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) have announced plans to for their 30th anniversary celebrations, with Kneehigh Theatre's award-winning production The Red Shoes receiving its last ever London staging from 3 March (previews 2 March) to 9 April 2011.

Following the success of their 2010 event the BAC will also remount a season of work for single audience members, the One-on-One festival which launched last year as the first major international festival of one-on-one theatre. Artists confirmed for this year's event, which will take place from 29 March to 9 April include Ontroerend Goed, Adrian Howells and Lundahl&Seitl. The event's programme will again be presented in a menu format, with theatregoers choosing work to suit their tastes.

BAC has also said it will use its 30th anniversary to raise funds for new 'Artist Bedrooms', a previously mooted plan which will allow artists to live at the venue for residencies of up to four months. Six of the One-on-One festival's performances will be set inside new bedroom spaces, which will be designed and created for the event.

After the season has finished, the bedrooms will enable artists to live and work in the building. The project is part of BAC’s ‘Playgrounding’ process, where the South London venue develops its Town Hall space whilst facilitating the creation of theatre. Funds for the project will be raised at a special 30th birthday party at the BAC on 24 March, hosted by the venue's patron Vivienne Westwood.

Kneehigh's The Red Shoes, which is based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, was first staged in the venue's Council Chamber in 2000. The show then played the Lyric Hammersmith in 2002 and has undertaken a national tour. The company toured the piece again, starting last year, with dates in the UK, America, Australia and New Zealand.

The BAC have since co-produced The Wooden Frock (2004) and Rapunzel (2006) with Kneehigh, collaborating again in 2009 with the staging of Don John in BAC’s Grand Hall. The production, which is helmed by Kneehigh's artistic director Emma Rice - who received a 2002 TMA Award for the show - opens shortly before the company starts previews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the West End's Gielgud Theatre on 5 March - the musical opens on 23 March.

Throughout its 30 years history the BAC has develop the careers of a range of performers and companies. The venue launched Jerry Springer - The Opera and supported the work of artists such as French & Saunders, Cheek by Jowl, Complicite, Kneehigh Theatre, the League of Gentlemen, Faulty Optic, DV8 and the Right Size.

Speaking about the anniversary, the venue's joint artistic directors David Jubb, who took up the post in 2004 and was joined in 2008 by David Micklem, said: "At thirty years old, we are proud to reflect on the history of BAC and the pivotal role it has played in inventing the future of theatre in the UK."

The BAC's first artistic director Jude Kelly who now heads the Southbank Centre, said in a statement: "BAC is inseparable from its community. The artists need the community and the community needs the art. It’s not just about the economic impact or the access to entertainment and recreation... It’s about having a building where it is possible to go in a spirit of uncertainty and leave feeling more optimistic about the human race."


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