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Regional Theatre Summer Round-Up
Image Credit: An Evening with an Immigrant, Inua Ellams

Regional Theatre Summer Round-Up

8 June 2017 | Will Rathbone

There’s a whole heap of interesting underground theatre in the UK over the next couple of months. It’s always worth taking a trip to your local theatre, and we’ve rounded up some of the most impressive, interesting and downright innovative shows popping up across the country this June/July.

Let’s kick off with a show from one of the most visually arresting and original theatre companies working today: 1927 are touring their award-winning West End smash, Golem. 1927 combine the animations of illustrator Paul Barritt with the theatrical nous of director Suzanne Andrade to create stunning theatre. Golem looks at our relationship with technology, and is based on the ancient myth of the man who fashioned a servant out of clay. It tours to the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Oxford Playhouse and Harrogate Theatre, with more potential dates to be added.
 
Another show that’s unlike anything else out there is All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, a gig/theatre hybrid from Middle Child that forms part of Hull’s UK City of Culture programme. Writer Luke Barnes has paired up with musician James Frower to present a three-act anthem spanning the last thirty years and featuring some of Hull’s finest live acts. It’s definitely worth a trip to Hull’s Welly Club to see this.


Image Credit: Josh Moore, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
 
Plymouth’s Theatre Royal are hosting Belgium’s immersive theatre specialists Ontroerend Goed, who have developed a reputation for creating difficult, provocative work that challenges their audience’s role both as theatre spectators and as members of society. Their new show £¥€$ examines money, and asks everyone to bring some cash along with them to the show. It’s guaranteed to provoke, in the best kind of way.
 
Snuffbox Theatre’s fantastic Blush is touring to a number of venues throughout June. The Bike Shed Theatre Exeter, Gulbenkian Canterbury, mac Birmingham, The Garage Norwich and Wardrobe Theatre Bristol all play host to this critically acclaimed show that looks at revenge porn and the damage it wreaks. This is important work that deserves to be seen.
 
Another voice in the discussion of twenty-first-century gender politics is Fatherland – the new show from Frantic Assembly in collaboration with playwright Simon Stephens and Karl Hyde from the electronic group Underworld. Fatherland examines contemporary fatherhood in all its complexities, weaving text,  music and movement together in Frantic Assembly’s seamless trademark style. It’s running at the Royal Exchange Manchester throughout July.


Image Credit: Fatherland
 
On a lighter note, Theatre Ad Infinitum’s miraculous Translunar Paradise is making a return to the stage. We cannot stress quite how good this show is. Mask play, live accordion and movement combine to create a heartbreakingly beautiful show about grief, love, death, fantasy and memory. It’s simply stunning. Bristol’s Tobacco Factory is due to be the first stop.


Image Credit: Translunar Paradise
 
In a similar vein, the astonishing Everything Brilliant Thing from Paines Plough is back on the road again. Dates at Wales’ Theatr Clwyd and Theatre Royal Margate are followed by a tour of Ireland. It’s a remarkable piece of theatre tackling depression in a thoroughly uplifting way, straight from the pen of Duncan Macmillan, of People, Places and Things fame.


Image Credit: Every Brilliant Thing
 
An Evening with an Immigrant is another show that’s been doing the rounds for a while and is well worth seeing for the timeliness of its subject matter alone. Award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams tells his story and talks about how his heritage – born of a Muslim father and Christian mother from what is now considered Boko Haram territory in Nigeria – has informed his life. You can see it at The Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon Avon, Market Theatre Ledbury, Bradford Literature Festival and Chichester Festival Theatre.
 
If the mere mention of Stratford has you itching to see the bard, there’s a real treat potentially coming to a cathedral near you. Antic Disposition are performing Richard III all across the country in a series of cathedrals, and the majestic setting is sure to bring out the best from the classic tale of the evil, power-hungry King-in-waiting. Peterborough Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Leicester Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral all play host to the blood-fuelled drama.
 
And now for something completely different – Ockham’s Razor: Tipping Point is a circus show that takes the concept of ‘less is more’ to a whole new level. Five performers, a few five-metre poles and a heap of ingenuity and imagination are all this company requires to create a show that’s mesmerising and super-smart. Take a trip along the south coast to Theatre Royal Portsmouth or Worthing Theatres to catch this totally unique show.


Image Credit: Ockham's Razor: Tipping Point
 
Jeremy Herrin, artistic director of Headlong, is returning to Chichester Festival Theatre to direct The House They Grew Up In, a new play by Deborah Bruce. We’re always interested in anything Jeremy’s involved in, as his track record of late – People, Places and Things, This House, The Nether – has been astonishing. The play focuses on two reclusive siblings living in South-East London, whose eccentric hoarding habits are interrupted by a friendly neighbour.
 
Finally, From The Mill tackle modern-day loneliness in their show I’m Standing Next To You. The award-winning promenade play invites audiences to become part of a faceless crowd, before presenting a story about the struggle to find one’s place in the modern world through the eyes of a struggling single mother. You can see it, or take part in it, at The Old Fire Station in Oxford.


Image Credit: I'm Standing Next To You
 

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