Theatre News

Royal Court unveils new shows in Vicky Featherstone’s final year as artistic director

Featherstone’s replacement will be revealed in due course

The Royal Court, © Helen Murray
The Royal Court, © Helen Murray

The Royal Court Theatre has added three plays scheduled from September to December 2023, joining the previously announced season.

Amongst them is Blue Mist, the debut play by Mohamed-Zain Dada, set in the vibrant shisha lounges of North West London. It follows a journalist who confronts the media’s portrayal of South Asian Muslim men. Directed by the Milli Bhatia, Blue Mist will grace the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs stage from 5 October to 18 November.

Next up is Imposter 22 by Molly Davies, in collaboration with Access All Areas. This sensory experience is specifically designed for neurodivergent audience members, ensuring a relaxed and inclusive environment. The play, co-created with seven learning disabled and autistic artists, is a whodunnit caper inspired by their lived experiences and imagination. Under the direction of Hamish Pirie, the production will run in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 23 September to 14 October.

Completing the trio of plays is Mates in Chelsea by Rory Mullarkey, a contemporary comedy of manners infused with the spirit of Wilde and Wodehouse. Set among the elite dwellers of south-west London, this hilarious production, directed by Sam Pritchard, offers a satirical exploration of the country’s ruling class. It runs at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 3 November to 16 December.

The Royal Court Theatre is also calling for submissions through its “Plays from UR Notes” app, inviting writers to share their saved play ideas on their phones. Additionally, in collaboration with Clean Break, six works-in-progress will be showcased in two sharings at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.

Vicky Featherstone, outgoing artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre, said: “The writers in our new programme are unified in their desire to take aim at preconceptions, stereotypes, and centres of power. Their words dismantle our understanding of the world, inviting new meanings and a stronger empathy for the communities we live in and among. In the same breath, the work is playful, dynamic, and highly imaginative.

“In these times we are doing everything we can to keep our work accessible, affordable and vital. Over the next six months, we are responding to audience feedback and trialing a new ticketing initiative. Our tickets that are £25 and below sell very quickly but once they are gone, we know that many of the people who buy those tickets can then not afford to see the work, and it’s essential that we continue to welcome everyone who wants to come to the theatre into the space and reduce the barrier that price presents. The hope is that the initiative will allow more people to see more performances at more affordable prices.

“It’s a privilege to present my final programme of work as artistic director of this extraordinary theatre. Very soon a new visionary will be in place and I’m sure, under their guardianship, the Court will continue to inspire, invigorate and provoke writers, theatre-makers and audiences alike.”