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Iris Theatre Has Announced Summer Season 2020

Iris Theatre Has Announced Summer Season 2020

Artistic Director, Paul-Ryan Carberry and Executive Director, Paul Virides today announce Escape to the Forest their inaugural season for Iris Theatre, the resident theatre company of the Actors' Church in Covent Garden.

Iris Theatre's annual season of outdoor theatre, which takes place across the grounds of the Actors' Church, opens with A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Carberry, marking his first production as Artistic Director of the company. Following this is Teresa Burns' new adaptation of Robin Hood directed by Rafaella Marcus.

In addition, Iris Theatre launch PLATFORM, an initiative to champion emerging artists, that will see the company host a series of showcase nights that will run throughout 2020 featuring performers from a variety of disciplines. The first PLATFORM artist is musician Dylan Wynford on 14 March, with further artists to be announced. Also, applications open for Start - a new development scheme for those early in their theatre careers and those getting into theatre for the very first time. The scheme offers mentorship across two disciplines: startDIRECTING and startDESIGNING.

Paul-Ryan Carberry, Artistic Director, said today, "After a fruitful collaboration with the company in 2018 with The Three Musketeers it's wonderful to be launching my first season as Artistic Director of Iris Theatre. Our first priority is finding new ways to support emerging artists as well as those taking the leap from early to mid-career, and the new Start and PLATFORM initiatives are our first steps towards that goal. I'm also thrilled to be welcoming amazing talent to Iris in Rafaella and Teresa for Robin Hood, and to be directing A Midsummer Night's Dream for our summer season. In difficult times theatre must bring people together, and we hope that audiences around London join us to Escape to the Forest this summer."


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Paul-Ryan Carberry

17 June - 18 July 2020

Press Night: Tuesday 23 June, 7.30pm

"Are you sure that we are awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream."

It's the height of summer, and the ancient city of Athens has never felt colder. The young nobleman Demetrius is set to marry his bride Hermia, and their parents are overjoyed. The only problem is, she's in love with someone else. Fleeing the broken court, and her impending nuptials, Hermia escapes to the forest beyond the city, ready to elope.

There, deep in an enchanted forest of lights, new mysteries await her. A feuding fairy King and Queen plot revenge, a band of travelling misfit actors prepare their latest performance, and a magical trickster, ready to cause mischief, has other ideas for the young lovers' midsummer's night.

Experience Shakespeare's best-loved comedy in the heart of Covent Garden with the award-winning Iris Theatre, in Paul-Ryan Carberry's first production as artistic director. Featuring an electronic forest world, glittering fairies and some surprising guest performances along the way, celebrate the arrival of summer and find out whether love really can conquer all.

Recommended for ages 8+.

Paul-Ryan Carberry is Artistic Director of Iris Theatre, where his work includes The Three Musketeers. Other theatre credits as a director include Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) (Backstage Theatre, Peckham), A Serious Business (Hat Factory Arts Centre/The Pleasance), The Nativity (St James's Church, Paddington), Touched (Bernie Grant Arts Centre), The Outback Games (Edinburgh Festival Fringe - nominated for an MTN Award), Star Jumps Are Not Essential (The Lost Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Central Academy of Drama, Beijing), Half A Sixpence, James Joyce's The Dead, Heathers, Ourselves Alone, Into The Woods and Parade (Mountview). As an associate director his credits include Grease (UK tour); and as assistant director, Strangers on a Train (UK tour). As an actor, his theatre credits include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Octagon Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse), As You Like It (Grosvenor Park Open Air), Billy Liar (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Everybody Loves a Winner (Royal Exchange Theatre) and All the Fun of The Fair (UK tour); and for television, A Song For Jenny and The Village.


by Teresa Burns

Directed by Rafaella Marcus

23 July - 30 August 2020

Press night: Tuesday 28 July, 7pm

Nottingham is in peril. Taxes are rising, the corrupt Sheriff is stealing the homes of the poor and the wealthy keep getting wealthier.

Now, with the usurper Prince John plotting the demise of the King, a band of friends, robbing from the rich and living as outlaws, realise this is their chance to make a change.

Robin Hood, their leader, has one shot to uproot the Sheriff's oppressive reign. Together with her merry men, she can protect the King's rule and liberate the people, but she'll need some help from the inside to pull off her most daring heist. Can her arrow hit its final mark?

Recommended for ages 8+.

Teresa Burns is the co-founder of How It Ended - her credits for the company include Wild (Unicorn Theatre). She is also Writer in Residence at Wardown House Museum and Gallery, where her credits include Keep the Home Fires Burning, A Christmas Carol, The Horrid House Tour, The Lost Letter, The Ghostly Gardener, The Secret Diary and Time Travellers. Her other credits include Threads (Hat Factory Arts Centre), Roll Credits (Rich Mix), You Obviously Know What I'm Talking About (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/UK tour), and Waterproof (Site-specific). In 2019, she won the Funny Women Award for Best Comedy Short for Neil's Yard, with co-writer Samantha Lyden.

Rafaella Marcus directs. Her credits as director include Stop Kiss (Above the Stag), Bury the Dead (Finborough Theatre), Alley. Pearls. Gunshot. (The Yard Theatre), Spooky Action at a Distance, Crave (Bunker Theatre), and I Have a Mouth and I Will Scream (VAULT Festival - winner of the People's Choice Award). Her credits as associate director include Emilia (Vaudeville Theatre); and as assistant director, Pericles (Shakespeare's Globe), Romeo and Juliet, The Wind in the Willows (Chester Performs), Boeing Boeing, Afterplay, Love Your Soldiers, The Winter's Tale (Sheffield Theatres) and The Killing of Sister George (Arts Theatre).


PLATFORM offers an opportunity for artists from a variety of disciplines to showcase their work, offering financial and artistic support as part of the company's ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for the next generation of theatre practitioners and artists.

The artists will perform at the Actors' Church; they will receive full venue support including ticketing, marketing, technical, front of house as well as production and artistic support from Iris Theatre. Finally, they will receive a 60% split of Box Office after Iris Theatre cover expenses. Iris Theatre's 40% share of Box Office sales will go towards further supporting PLATFORM and its artists.

PLATFORM artists can be from any performative discipline. They should have been working in their artform for an extend period and have a selection of work, shareable over the course of at least 90 minutes.

Artists are curated as well as selected through applications. For further details and to apply please visit Applications are open all year round.

PLATFORM: Dylan Wynford

Saturday 14 March, 7.30pm

Dylan Wynford performs a selection of new musical theatre and punk folk.

Dylan Wynford is a Musical Theatre and Punk Folk musician. He is lead singer of Dylan Wynford and His Yesteryears, a punk/folk quartet. His theatre credits as a writer include Bright Young Things and The Throwaways (The Other Palace).

PLATFORM is supported through donations from the company's supporters, including Legacy Friends and its resident venue, St Paul's Church (Actors' Church).


Start is a development scheme for those looking to nurture their skills in a practical environment with a focus on mentorship and learning. The scheme has two different strands: startDIRECTING and startDESIGNING.


Iris Theatre will support four people who want to begin a career in directing for theatre, but have yet to receive any formal, vocational training in the role. The programme runs over six months, with twice-monthly sessions curated and hosted by the company's Artistic Director, Paul-Ryan Carberry.

Participants in the scheme will also be given the opportunity to be placed as Assistant Directors on one of the summer season productions - allowing the opportunity to apply some of the skills gained in learning sessions in a practical environment.

Applicants should be over 18, not have received any formal education in directing, not directed any professional theatre production or assisted on more than 2 professional productions.


Iris Theatre will support four people who want to develop a career in designing for theatre across both costume and set.

The programme will engage an associate costume and set designer across each show in its summer season offering the opportunity to work alongside and receive mentorship from a professional theatre designer.

Applicants should be over 18 who have not worked as a designer on more than 2 small-scale theatre productions or as an Associate/Assistant on more than 3 productions of any size.

Start is supported by the Mackintosh Foundation and the Aspinwall Education Trust.

To apply for the Start scheme please visit, The deadline to apply is Friday 28 February at 6pm. If you require the form in an alternative format, get in touch with us at 020 7240 0344 or via

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