Theatre News

Fuel announces 20th anniversary season

See what’s coming up for the award-winning company

Khalid Abdalla in Nowhere, © Manuel Vason
Khalid Abdalla in Nowhere, © Manuel Vason

Fuel, led by artistic director and CEO Kate McGrath, has announced the first projects for its 20th anniversary season.

Highlighting the season, Khalid Abdalla will debut his solo show, Nowhere, inspired by his involvement in the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and the subsequent events. Directed by Omar Elerian, the show will premiere at Battersea Arts Centre in October 2024 and then move to HOME, Manchester.

Toby Olié’s stage adaptation of Ross Collins’ children’s book There’s a Bear on My Chair will premiere at the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival in February 2025.

Melanie Wilson’s Dreaming Species presents a new digital listening experience exploring human connections with nature. Additionally, the popular productions Love Letters Straight From Your Heart and Peaceophobia will return as part of the anniversary celebrations.

Fuel will also support lead artists in developing new projects. These artists include Joelle Taylor, Inua Ellams, Jay Bernard, Michael Henry, Suspect Culture, Lula Mebrahtu, Travis Alabanza and Debbie Hannan, Racheal Ofori, Oona Doherty, Will Adamsdale, Rachel Bagshaw, Lucian Msamati, and Natalie Ibu. New residency partnerships with Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking and Coombe Farm Studios will aid the development of these projects.

A new podcast, Fuelling Change, will explore Fuel’s journey over the past 20 years, featuring interviews with various collaborators. Fuel’s 20-year archive will also be made public through a partnership with Queen Mary University London, supported by grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Archives.

In addition, Kate McGrath has been named a Visiting Fellow with the Cultural Programme at the University of Oxford. Fuel will also launch a new puppetry training programme for global majority artists, led by Olivier Award-winning puppeteer Fred Davis.

McGrath said: “To my surprise and delight, it’s Fuel’s 20th birthday. You would expect that over 20 years doing this, that the process would be getting easier, with more positive results, more respect and a more resource. But, whilst I am thankful every day for the many blessings in my professional life, and mindful of how much harder it is for so many others, especially those who continue to be marginalised by structural inequalities, many days at work are incomparably harder now than they were 20 years ago.

“The impact of the cost of living crisis and cuts in social welfare on our audiences, participants, artists and colleagues; the legacy of the pandemic on our resources, human and financial; the imbalance between rising costs and standstill or reduced funding; politically-motivated culture wars and financially-motivated social media algorithms leading to implicit and explicit censorship of freedom of expression: all of these challenges directly affect our work every day.”