Theatre News

Nocturnal & Medea Lead Gate Anniversary Season

The Gate Theatre is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a season entitled Generation Gate, which aims to “honour the theatre’s prestigious past by pushing forward its international reputation for producing bold, eclectic and innovative new work from tomorrow’s rising stars”. It also marks the start of third year under the theatre’s first pair of joint artistic directors, Carrie Cracknell and Natalie Abrahami.

Opening the season, from 21 April to 16 May 2009 (previews from 16 April) is the UK premiere of Spanish playwright Juan Mayorga’s Nocturnal, in a new translation by David Johnston directed by Gate associate Lyndsey Turner.

Nocturnal explores the complex nature of friendship, stripping away the layers of polite behaviour to reveal the power struggles beneath, as two men who live in the same apartment block bump into each other at the local. On this is no coincidence – one of them has been planning this moment for a very long time.

It’s followed, from 21 June to 18 July (previews from 18 June) by the world premiere of Dylan Tighe’s Medea/Medea, in a co-production with Headlong theatre company. Directed by the playwright, Medea/Medea combines live performance with pre-recorded image to probe the nature of translation and the place of myth in modern society.

Writer/director Tighe is the winner of the Gate and Headlong’s second annual New Directions award, which was established in 2008 to “encourage emerging theatre artists to find a new approach to classic international plays and to broaden both companies’ commitment to celebrating and exploring the art of making theatre”.

The anniversary season also includes the transfer Pierre Rigal’s dance piece Press, originally staged at the Gate in February last year, to Sadler’s Wells, where it runs from 28 to 30 May 2009. Rigal, a French choreographer and performer, uses a specially constructed boxed stage just over three metres wide to explore how personal space is confined by the pressures of modern life.

Established in 1979, the Gate was one of the first theatres to produce and collaborate with Eastern European theatre practitioners and opened the way for a rapid proliferation of international work on London’s stages. It remains the capital’s only theatre dedicated exclusively to producing international work. Carrie Cracknell and Natalie Abrahami joined in March 2007 and launched their first full season last August (See News, 6 Feb 2007).

Tickets to the Generation Gate season will be free (subject to availability) to under 26s as part of the Arts Council’s recently launched scheme A Night Less Ordinary, in which the Gate is one of over 200 participating venues (See News, 10 Feb 2009)

– by Theo Bosanquet