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Theatre to look out for in Spring 2018

24 February 2018 | Sian Brett

There’s a whole wealth of wonderful theatre going on tour this Spring, with productions making their way across the country to make sure that everyone possible can see the slick, smart, diverse work that’s either already award-winning or surely soon will be.

Education Education Education
Bristol based company The Wardrobe Ensemble take Education Education Education on tour, following it’s sell out smash-hit run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. Set in a secondary school in 1997, the day before year 11 go on study leave and the day after Tony Blair makes his ‘Education, Education, Education’ speech, the play is full of slick multi-roling, physical theatre, comedy and silly dancing. The tight knit Wardrobe Ensemble change and shift characters and scenes at break neck speed, demonstrating a wealth of character acting. There are hints of nostalgia as Tamagotchi’s are played with in the staff room, but more than that it’s an examination of the school system that shaped Generation Y.


Image Credit: The Wardrobe Ensemble
  
Education Education Education will be at Theatre Royal Plymouth 24-28 April, as well as touring around the UK from 14 March – 2 June.
 
Happy Days at Royal Exchange Manchester
Following their previous hit collaborations, such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Hamlet, Royal Exchange artistic director Sarah Frankcom and Maxine Peake will team up once again for Happy Days. Peake takes on the seminal role of Winnie in this Samuel Beckett classic, beginning the play buried up to her waist and ending it buried up to her neck. Since taking over as the artistic director in 2014, Frankcom has been brave and daring in her choices, and this fourth collaboration with Peake will be no different. Peake will also have a play of her own staged at the Royal Exchange this year, Queens of the Coal Age, which tells the true story of four women who protest against the closing of a colliery in their Lancashire town.
 

Image Credit: Royal Exchange Manchester

Happy Days is on at Royal Exchange Manchester 25 May – 23 June.
 
Three Sisters by RashDash, After Chekhov
At the forefront of the feminist theatre scene are RashDash, made up of Abbi Greenland, Helen Goalan and Becky Wilkie. This year, the trio reimagine Chekhov’s Three Sisters, examining the notion of the ‘classic play’ and the ‘dead white man’ and what happens when women take back control. The company use music and physical theatre to undo the male narrative inherent in the theatre world. RashDash are the associate artists of Royal Exchange Manchester where the show will open before heading to The Yard in London and the Tobacco Factory in Bristol.


Image Credit: RashDash
 
RashDash will premiere Three Sisters at Royal Exchange Manchester 3 - 19 May, before going on to The Yard, Hackney and Tobacco Factory, Bristol. You can find more information here.
 
Fleabag
Theatre company DryWrite makes work that articulates women intelligently, and their hit one-woman show Fleabag is no exception. The play was penned by Waller-Bridge and directed by Jones, and went on to win a Fringe First Award in 2013, become a BAFTA award winning BBC sitcom, return to Soho Theatre, and transfer back to Edinburgh last year with a new actor in the main role. When it returned to Soho Theatre in 2016 it was the fastest selling play in the theatre’s history, and you absolutely will not want to miss it when it goes on tour this year. A one-woman show which rips open the female experience, Fleabag is important, funny and gut-wrenching in equal measure.


Image Credit: Soho Theatre
 
Fleabag is going on tour from 26 April – 9 June and you can find more information here.
 
Black Men Walking
Rapper Testament was approached by theatre company Eclipse to write a play about walking group 100 Black Men Walk for Health and the result, Black Men Walking, promises to be an ode to the power of the group that inspired it, and the British spaces that they reclaim. The four person cast will use music and dramatic storytelling to tie together walking, blackness, Britishness, and the Yorkshire countryside. Directed by Eclipse artistic director Dawn Wilton, Black Men Walking opens first at the Royal Court before going on a national tour.


Image Credit: Eclipse Theatre
 
You can catch Black Men Walking at Salisbury Playhouse 18-21 April, and find more information on its tour here.
 
Sherbet at Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Winner of the Octagon’s National Prize Winner, this duologue by Curtis Cole and Sarah McDonald Hughes tells the story of a brother and sister, plunged into the world of social services and how this impacts the next 30 years of their lives and relationship. The pair of writers also perform the piece, and it will premiere at Octagon Theatre Bolton as part of the theatre’s 50th anniversary season.


Image Credit: Octagon Theatre
 
Sherbet will be on at Octagon Theatre Bolton 2-10 March.
 
Police Cops in Space
If you’re a fan of buddy cop drama’s, then Police Cops in Space (sequel to Police Cops) from the Pretend Men is one you will absolutely not want to miss. The trio use exceptional physical theatre skills as well as incredibly silly comedy to satirise cop drama’s, 70’s cinema, space, and occasionally even themselves. Since the original Police Cops was first performed back in 2015, the East 15 graduate theatre company have been on the up, touring the two shows both nationally and internationally, winning plaudits and awards along the way. It’s silly, smart and absurd, and you’ll be quoting your favourite jokes all the way home.


Image Credit: The Pretend Men
 
Police Cops in Space is going on tour across the UK until April 14th and you can find out more and book tickets here.
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