Theatre News

New Lucy Kirkwood play to be performed at the Royal Court next week

The creator of ”Chimerica” will present a new piece, staged in response to recent events in London

The Royal Court
The Royal Court
© Helen Murray

Chimerica and The Children playwright Lucy Kirkwood will present her new piece Maryland in a script-in-hand production from next week.

The piece, which will play without any press night or show photography, will run at the Royal Court (in the theatre's upstairs space) from 7 to 16 October 2021.

The venue's artistic director Vicky Featherstone and Royal Court associate directors Milli Bhatia and Lucy Morrison will co-direct the show, which is set to run for 30 minutes.

Kirkwood said today: "This play was for many years a private conversation with myself. The horrific murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year have galvanised me into making it public. I hesitate to even call it a play when it is simply a howl, a way of expressing what I feel about a culture of violence against women, but I am sharing it because I wonder if it might express a little of what other people feel about it too. It was written very quickly, and I am grateful to the Royal Court for snatching up a gauntlet thrown down last Friday night with such energy, care and seriousness."

Ticket prices are £5 for these readings and audiences are encouraged to make a donation to Rape Crisis England and Wales alongside buying tickets.

Featherstone added: "Sometimes you don't know what you need until it arrives like a bolt from the blue and things are turned upside down. This is what happened to us at the Royal Court when Lucy Kirkwood's play Maryland arrived in our inboxes on Friday night. Since then we have all stepped up to her extraordinary rallying cry and are able to give her voice our space in search of some kind of understanding, howl, communal event in light of the horrific actions still being committed against all women and victims of gendered violence.

"We all live in the same world, hear the same news, share the same existential fears and longings. Some people specialise in tending to our health, and some people tend to our roads and buildings, and some people tend to the food we eat and some people teach us to read and write and some people move important things from a to b. And then there are some other people who sit in the same world as us but with their pattern of words and ideas show that world back to us in a way which momentarily stops us feeling so alone, so fearful, so lost. There is order. There is hope. This is what this tiny enormous play does. This is what the Royal Court is for. This is what art is for.

"We are so proud to be stepping up. We are devastated we still have to."