Theatre News

King's Head Theatre announces new details around 50th anniversary celebrations

Some big names will support the venue

Harriet Walter and Gemma Whelan
Harriet Walter and Gemma Whelan

The hit north London venue the King's Head Theatre has announced full details for its celebration of its first 50 years, running from 14 to 19 February.

Gemma Whelan will join Harriet Walter for the opening event at the V&A in South Kensington on Monday 14 February for the staged reading of Timberlake Wertenbaker's The Third, first staged
in 1980), directed by Audrey Sheffield.

Walter will also take part in a panel discussion titled "New Women's Theatre and Lunchtime Theatre", alongside Wertenbaker, the King's Head Theatre co-artistic director and joint CEO Hannah Price and theatre historian Susan Croft.

On 15 February, Tim Luscombe will direct a reading of Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase, first staged at the venue in 1988. Karl James, Gareth Tudor-Price and John Warnaby will return to the show after playing the younger versions of their characters in the '80s – now they'll take the older roles.

They will be joined by Nicholas Armfield as Young Martello, Benjamin Prudence as Young Beauchamp, Francesca Eldred as Sophie and Rosalind Lailey doing stage directions.

The next day will see Annabel Arden, co-founder of Complicité, and widow of Stephen Jeffreys, stage Jeffreys' Like Dolls or Angels starring Isabel Adomakoh Young. There will also be a post-show discussion with award-winning playwright April de Angelis.

Bryony Lavery's musical Grandmother's Steps, first staged at the venue in 1977, will be directed by Abigail Anderson on 17 February. While many feared the score lost, it has been found in an original company member's home. While the original tunes will book-end the show, new music will be composed for the show by The Showstoppers' Lucy Trodd and Ruth Bratt, who are set to star in the piece with musical direction by Jordan Paul Clarke.

On 18 February, Victoria Wood's Good Fun (seen in 1980) will be presented with direction by Annabel Leventon. Trainee resident director Ella Murdoch will act as assistant director with George Strickland as musical director. The piece has a company of Julia Romano as Liz, Will Robinson as Frank, Colm Gleeson as Mike,
Chloe English as Elsie, Joshua Eldridge – Smith as Kev, Katherine Rodden as Gail and Paul Ansdell as Maurice.

The week of celebrations will end with two performances of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, written and directed by Bill Russell with
music by Janet Hood (at 3pm and 7pm). Thirty years after it was first staged at the venue, the King's Head is working with Grad Fest to cast the show.

Charles Quittner will be assistant director and Gareth Bretherton will be musical director.