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ROH & RSC Headline Fifth Annual Latitude Festival

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Latitude 2010 is set for a royal flush with the announcement that the Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company are headlining its theatre programme this summer. The festival, which runs from 15 to 18 July in the grounds of Suffolk's Henham Park Estate, is now in its fifth year.

The ROH will be making its Latitude debut with Pleasure’s Progress by director-choreographer Will Tuckett, to be performed deep in the festival’s Faraway Forest woods. Meanwhile, the RSC are returning to the theatre arena with a new piece by playwright Carl Grose aiming to rival the company’s hugely popular zombie show at Latitude 08.

Also direct from Covent Garden come The Opera Group and London Sinfonietta with George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill, a contemporary classical take on the tale of the Pied Piper. And soul singer Omar makes his debut with Lovesong, a one man play for piano written and directed for English Touring Theatre by Che Walker.

Established in 2006 and marketed from the off as "more than just a music festival", Latitude now rivals Edinburgh and Manchester for the calibre of its theatre programme, which operates alongside the event's music, comedy, poetry and film arenas. The festival showcases both new and established companies, often with bespoke productions created especially for the weekend.

Tania Harrison, overall programmer for the festival's arts arenas, said: “I think this year, Latitude will be a bit more devilishly decadent, so prepare to unleash your wild side!”

Off-West End theatre will be well represented by west London’s Bush Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith, the former with its latest show, The Great British Country Fete, the latter bringing a group of its actors, dancers and visual artists for live storytelling across the festival’s three day programme. Soho Theatre is also on the bill with Mark Ravenhill’s horror short, The Experiment, first seen at Southwark Playhouse last year.

From further afield come the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, who have teamed up with Latitude regulars Paines Plough for Tiny Volcanoes, a new play by Laurence Wilson, former winner of the Liverpool Post’s Play of the Year award. And Northern Stage and Company of Angels join forces in a co-production of Apples, adapted from Richard Milward’s blistering novel about a Middlesborough housing estate, which the author read from at last year’s Literary Arena.

There will be more new writing from festival returnees Nabokov and their stag-themed show, Amplified, and Shatterbox Theatre Company, whose verbatim play Fair Trade takes an anything-but sentimental look at the female sex trade.

Away from the main theatre arena, East Anglia’s own Mouth to Mouth company will be taking up residency in the festival’s outdoor spaces with its slapstick-heavy version of Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors. And finally, flying the more experiential flag will be Red Shift Theatre Company, whose Invisible Show will only be audible in the crowd via wireless headphones, and  Les Enfants Terribles’ new musical extravaganza Vaudevillians, which will be followed in the Empire Music Hall by live bands late into the night.

More details on the full Latitude line-up can be found at the festival's website here.


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