Theatre News

Simon Callow and Clybourne Park to feature in Park Theatre spring 2020 season

The north London venue also hosts an anime adaptation

The Garden of Words in Park Theatre's 2020 season
The Garden of Words in Park Theatre's 2020 season

Simon Callow and the London transfer of Hope Mill Theatre's Rags the Musical are among the productions announced as part of the Park Theatre spring 2020 season.

Rags the Musical opens the Park200 programme, playing from 9 January to 8 February. With book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), revised book by David Thompson, music by Charles Strouse (Annie), lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked and The Prince of Egypt) and direction by Bronagh Lagan, the musical tells of a group of Jewish immigrants arriving to start new lives in America. Full casting is to be announced – the Hope Mill Theatre production was led by OIivier Award-winner Rebecca Trehearn.

Simon Callow's translation of Jean Poiret's La Cage aux Folles [the Play] follows. The French farce has been adapted into four films and a Tony Award-winning musical and makes its English language world premiere. It tells the story of nightclub owner Georges and his drag artist partner Albin as they create shows in St Tropez, until Georges' son Laurent announces his engagement to the daughter of a right-wing politician determined to bring an end to the town's nightlife. Callow says: "La Cage aux Folles is a great – and brilliantly funny – play about living the life you want to live. It's also a bit of an eye-opener about what it was to be out and gay in the early seventies." The cast and creative team will be announced at a later date and the play will run from 12 February to 21 March.

Next is the tenth anniversary revival of Bruce Norris's Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award-winning Clybourne Park. Directed by Oliver Kaderbhai, it focusses on community rifts – firstly in 1959, when characters Russ and Bev move to the suburbs and sell the house to the neighbourhood's first black family, and then again decades later as a young white couple buy the property in a predominantly black neighbourhood. Clybourne Park will play from 25 March to 2 May.

Talawa Theatre Company bring A Place For We from 6 May to 6 June, an intergenerational story of London's changing communities. Written by Archie Maddocks, the world premiere will be directed by Talawa's artistic director, Michael Buffong, and was shortlisted in 2017 for both the Bruntwood Prize and the Alfred Fagon Award. The full cast and creative team will be announced at a later date.

Ending the Park200 season is the world theatrical premiere of The Garden of Words, playing from 15 July to 15 August. Adapted for the stage by Whole Hog Theatre – whose previous works include Princess Mononoke – and with Alexandra Rutter directing, it will be performed in English with some incorporated Japanese. The story tells of a student and an older woman drawn together by chance through their mutual feelings of alienation and loneliness.

Park90's new season commences with Shackleton and his Stowaway, which played at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and tells the true story of an 18 year-old shipman who secretly boarded the ill-fated ship of Ernest Shackleton. Andy Dickinson's script will be directed by Simone Coxall and will play from 8 January to 1 February, with a cast including Richard Ede and Elliott Ross.

The world premiere of Time and Tide will play from 5 to 29 February. Written by James McDermott and directed by Rob Ellis, the LGBTQ comic drama is set within a Norfolk seaside community and was longlisted for The Verity Bargate Award and both the Bruntwood and the Papatango Playwriting Prizes.

From 4 to 28 March, a revival of Gerald Moon's black comedy farce Corpse! will be directed by Clive Brill. The story centres around poor actor Evelyn, rich twin Rupert and the decision to kill the wealthier family member to inherit his fortune.

Never Not Once follows from 1 to 25 April, a story by Carey Crim about the families we choose and the secrets that can pull them apart. Directed by Katharine Farmer, the production won the 2017 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, was a finalist for the 2018 Eugene O'Neill Award and will receive its UK premiere in Park90 next season.

Sally Rogers' The Still Room plays its world premiere from 9 April to 23 May, with Nigel Douglas directing and a cast including Kate James. It is set in 1981, as waitress Janice waits for her exam results so she can leave her hometown. Then, a new employee arrives and Janice is draw to her sexual confidence and bold ideas, as her perceptions of the world irrevocably shift.

Burkas and Bacon Butties closes the Park90 season from 27 May to 20 June. Co-writer Shamia Chalabi bases this story of a Muslim family caught between tradition and their new life in Wigan on her real-life experiences. Written in conjunction with Sarah Henley, the show played at VAULT Festival in 2018.

Artistic Director Jez Bond said of the new season: "Once more this season we're bringing a wealth of new writing to the stage – in terms of both UK and world premieres, along with an exciting 10th anniversary revival. As a theatre that embraces its local community we are proud to be collaborating with a diverse range of artists to present a variety of plays which will engage and resonate with all Londoners."