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Park Theatre announces 2023 season including Clive Anderson and ABBA drag tribute band play

The season programmes the venue through to May

The Way Old Friends Do

The Park Theatre in north London has unveiled its 2023 season plans.

Kicking off 2023 in the venue's larger space will be a new musical drama On the Ropes, penned by Dougie Blaxland and Vernon Vanriel, with direction by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour. The piece tells of influential Black British boxer Vanriel's prolonged 2005 battle for British citizenship – despite having lived in north London for 43 years after arriving in the country aged six. It runs from 6 January to 4 February.

After this, the venue's artistic director Jez Bond will direct Clive Anderson (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) in new play Winner's Curse (8 February to 11 March), penned by a former Middle East peace negotiator Daniel Taub and comedy writer Dan Patterson (Mock the Week). Audience interaction and humour will be combined to reflect on the nature of international peace talks.

The third show in the venue's main space will be a London transfer for Ian Hallard's The Way Old Friends Do, telling the story of the world's first drag ABBA tribute band. Mark Gatiss (The Unfriend) directs the comedy, which runs from 15 March to 15 April.

The final show in the main space is a co-production of Jon Bradfield's ANIMAL (based on a story by Bradfield and Josh Hepple). Co-produced with the Hope Mill Theatre, the show follows David, described as "gay, disabled and profoundly horny". It runs from 19 April to 20 May.

Two shows will be staged in the smaller Park90 space – Nicolas Billon's The Elephant Song (16 January to 11 February), directed by Jason Moore. The show tells the tale of a psychiatrist who disappears from a mental institution.

After this is The Beach House, penned by Jo Harper (15 February to 11 March). The show explores "the fragility of female relationships as three women grapple with motherhood, sisterhood and distraction."

Bond said: "We are delighted to be presenting not one, but three in-house productions this season. It's such a pleasure to welcome Clive Anderson back to Park Theatre as he takes the helm of Winner's Curse – the new play penned by Middle East diplomat Daniel Taub and television comedy writer, Dan Patterson, and directed by myself. I am as pleased as punch to be giving the incredible tale of north London local lad Vernon Vanriel a crucial voice on our P200 stage with On the Ropes. Plus, we are looking forward to welcoming audiences to see a wonderful new piece of writing from Jon Bradfield and Josh Hepple, ANIMAL, a hilarious and heartwarming story about disability and desire, identity and independence. It's fantastic to co-produce ANIMAL with the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester – our second collaboration in the past six months – and we're excited to tour the show to a key creative hub in Bristol.

"We hope these burgeoning connections with venues outside of London are a sign of things to come as Park Theatre marks a very special landmark in May by turning ten years old. Completing the main stage bill, Mark Gatiss directs The Way Old Friends Do, and we have two remarkable plays in P90 – The Elephant Song and The Beach House. Right now, we're still riding high after the fantastic success of our opening shows in the autumn 2022 season, but this is an absolute cracker of a season and I cannot wait."

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