Mick Gordon and his new On Theatre company return to Soho Theatre next month with their new piece On Religion, which opens on 5 December 2006 (previews from 28 November 2006) and continues until 6 January.

Gordon was artistic director of the Gate from 1998 to 2000 and, as an associate director of the National Theatre under Trevor Nunn, steered the five-month Transformation season of new work in the reconfigured NT Lyttelton in 2002. He launched On Theatre last year with On Ego, inspired by neuro psychologist Paul Broks’ book Into the Silent Land, which premiered at Soho in December 2005. On Religion is the company’s second production.

The new play, co-written by philosopher AC Grayling, explores the themes of religion and how it affects our lives. The story centres on Grace, a militant atheist who clashes with her Christian son. When he is suddenly killed, the conflict between her grief and her principles threatens to rip her family apart.

While researching and writing On Religion, Gordon consulted philosophers, theologians and scientists. The production is accompanied by a live debate about the themes raised in the play on 7 December, and a panel discussion on 12 December, chaired by Gordon.

On Religion is also directed by Gordon and designed by Naomi Wilkinson, with lighting by Linus Fellbom, music by Jon Frankel and sound by Mike Furness.

Meanwhile, the venue’s Christmas show for children, That Pesky Rat, runs from 6 December 2006 to 3 January 2007 (previews from 3 December), with afternoon performances at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm during the run (times vary).

Adapted from Lauren Child’s award-winning book by Jonathan Lloyd, who also directs, That Pesky Rat is brought to the stage with puppets by Talk to the Hand, a company that’s worked with everyone from Jim Henson to the Scissor Sisters. The show has songs by Kenny Mellman of New York’s OBIE-winning cabaret duo Kiki and Herb. It’s Soho Theatre’s second in-house production for children, after Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book in 2004.

That Pesky Rat sees Pesky Rat alone in his dustbin in Grubby Alley, longing for a loving owner an envying the glamorous lifestyle of his friends Pierre the chinchilla and Nibbles the circus rabbit.

- by Caroline Ansdell