Theatre News

Pleasance Theatre Islington 2020 season launched

Ten shows across two venue spaces in Islington features several debuts and world premieres

The Pleasance Islington
The Pleasance Islington
© Pleasance Theatre

The Pleasance Islington has announced its 2020 season of ten shows across two venue spaces, featuring debut plays from Julie Tsang, Polly Creed and Vicky Moran, as well as new work by the likes of Yellow Earth, Silent Faces and Silent Uproar.

Work in the 2020 season focusses on social and political issues such as environmental activism, the rise of homelessness, identity, mental health and the exclusion of women and the non-binary community. 70% of shows in the season are led by women or non-binary people as either writer or director.

No Sweat by Vicky Morgan
No Sweat by Vicky Morgan
(© Reece McMahon and Pleasance Theatre)

First in the Downstairs space, Unbroken Theatre and Yellow Earth Theatre bring Fix by Bruntwood Prize long-listed playwright Tsang, playing from 14 January to 1 February. The play tells the story of a repairman as he responds to a call-out from an old woman at her house in the woods, as he is forced to confront past memories during a storm.

Moran and Reece McMahon present No Sweat from 4 to 29 February, developed after Moran worked with young LGBTQ ex/homeless people in London to highlight a forgotten generation of homeless youth. The show combines real stories, verbatim clips and an original score – it focusses on the world of gay saunas, where young homeless people often shelter when seeking accommodation.

Pipeline Theatre presents Drip Drip Drip, a dark comedy by Jon Welch from 3 to 21 March. It is set on an NHS ward, where Eritrean trainee nurse Daniel, Muslim doctor Rahmiya and white cancer patient David spend their days until far-right David's ideology is set at odds with Daniel Rahmiya's sense of belonging.

Godot is a Woman, a show by Silent Faces, will then play from 24 March to 11 April and tells of a familiar scene – two people waiting beneath a solitary tree on a country road. But unlike Waiting for Godot, this show is not written by a man – Silent Faces are an ensemble-led, integrated company of disabled and non-disabled artists whose work includes A Clown Show About Rain.

Godot is a Woman by Silent Faces
Godot is a Woman by Silent Faces
© Silent Faces and Pleasance Theatre

True Name Theatre bring Humane by Creed to the Pleasance stage from 14 April to 2 May. The show is based in 1995, in a small port in rural Essex where residents are confronted with a parade of lorries carrying live captive animals in horrendous conditions and choose to do something about it.

The London premiere of Catching Comets by Piers Black plays from 5 to 16 May by Ransack Theatre. The show tells of Toby, as he discovers a comet heading towards the Earth a year after a relationship knocks his life off course.

Horatio Productions presents The Science Fiction Theatre Festival: Antarctica from 19 to 23 May, a festival of short plays and new writing from over 70 artists that features every day Antarctica and is based on climate change and AI research in collaboration with King's College London.

Finally in the Downstairs space, Many Moons by Alice Birch and Rocket Box runs from 26 May to 13 June. It follows four lonely Londoners as they tell stories, weave lies and confessions, reveal and conceal desires and regrets, culminating in one afternoon in July.

Many Moons by Alice Birch
Many Moons by Alice Birch
© Rocket Box and Pleasance Theatre

In the Main House, The Wright Brothers by Opus Dreams transfer after a sell-out run at The Albany. Co-created by Tyrone-Lee Davies and Kieran Shekoni (Ty and Ky Show), it plays from 3 to 8 February. The show centres on Imani and her determined journey to find a date for her sister's wedding.

Silent Uproar (A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)) present Thank You for Doing Nothing by Josh Overton from 16 to 28 June. The musical takes place in the near future when "global warming" has affected most of the country's drinking water, according to "scientific expertise" but not according to a lobbyist for the Big Water Corporation. The show explores the climate emergency and those who profit from it.

Anthony Alderson, director of Pleasance Theatre Trust, comments: "The seeds of many of today's issues can be found in the past and a number of this season's shows explore how they manifest in the present. It's important to look back, but also to the future and what is to come. Exploring the intersection between social and personal politics, our opening 2020 season tackles important issues head on, showing that theatre isn't afraid to speak out."