Donmar Warehouse's All-Female THE TEMPEST to Storm Into St. Ann's Warehouse This Winter

By: Dec. 20, 2016
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St. Ann's Warehouse teams up once again with London's Donmar Warehouse to introduce American audiences to director Phyllida Lloyd's immensely celebrated new all-female staging of The Tempest, January 13 - February 19, 2017.

The production is the third and final work in a trilogy of Shakespeare plays Lloyd has set against the backdrop of a women's prison, with the brilliant Shakespearean actor Harriet Walter leading the cast. St. Ann's Warehouse presented the first two parts of the trilogy, Julius Caesar and Henry IV, to widespread acclaim in 2013 and 2015, respectively. The Tempest comes to St. Ann's direct from London, where the Donmar is offering both The Tempest and the full trilogy in a purpose-built temporary theater at King's Cross (that mirrors the stage in St. Ann's Warehouse).

Opening just before the Presidential inauguration, and including a multi-pronged education program, the production makes an important contribution to international conversations about prison reform and about gender in both society and Shakespeare.

Performances of The Tempest will take placeJanuary 13, 14, 16, 17, 20-22, 24-29, 31 and February 1-5, 7-11 and 14-19 at 7:30pm; and January 21, 22, 28 and 29 and February 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 2pm. Tickets are $45-80 and can be purchased at, 718.254.8779 and 866.811.4111. Critics are welcome as of January 17 at 7:30pm for an official opening on January 18 at 7:30pm. The new St. Ann's Warehouse is located at 45 Water Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

From the outset, Lloyd's trilogy has stunned audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, sparking not only a debate about "who owns Shakespeare," but also, more broadly, a rich cultural and social conversation about gender, equality and aspiration. Of Henry IV, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, "It's an exultant spirit of freedom with which these captive women burn...[and] a multilayered act of liberation. Prisoners are allowed to roam the wide fields of Shakespeare's imagination; fine actresses are given the chance to play meaty roles that have been denied them; and we [the audience] get to climb out of the straitjackets of our traditional perceptions."

Lloyd has said of the trilogy, "The premise was to take the most voiceless group you might imagine-women prisoners; refugees from our culture, if you like; people without any access to the internet even-and watch them electrify an audience with nothing but Shakespeare's language."

Walter, speaking with The New Yorker when St. Ann's presented Henry IV last year, said, "There are exceptions, but pretty much the women in Shakespeare are talking about their man, or putting themselves in relation to the man...He doesn't write less well for women; it's just that the themes are smaller, on the whole, and they are less fulfilled characters. When the greatest playwright-so considered-in the English language leaves women out of the picture so much, it has a bad effect on your sense of worth, because the culture that followed in his shadow has reinforced that. It does have an effect on us."

In the Donmar presentation of the trilogy at King's Cross this fall, an actor has introduced each play, revealing her "prison character," and, in some cases, the real-life inspiration for her performance. Walter, in The Tempest, shares that her character is informed by JuditH Clark, a 67-year-old woman currently serving the 36th year of a sentence of 75-years-to-life at the maximum-security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. Clark drove the getaway car in a 1981 robbery of a Brink's armored truck, during which two police officers and a security guard were killed. For her character, Walter was looking for a "lifer" who had committed a politically motivated crime, and she found Judy Clark, with whom she and Lloyd have struck up a relationship. Clark, who long ago publicly accepted responsibility and expressed remorse for her actions, like Prospero on his island in The Tempest, will die in prison unless granted clemency or pardon. Her situation has led to much debate about female prisoners and justice reform. Throughout the play, the themes of reckoning and redemption resound.

In The Tempest, Walter, deemed "one of the best Shakespeareans alive" by The Guardian, plays Hannah, who plays Prospero. The diverse cast performing at St. Ann's will include numerous actors from Julius Caesar and/or Henry IV, including Jade Anouka (Ariel), Shiloh Coke (Sebastian), Jackie Clune (Stefano), Karen Dunbar (Trinculo), Zainab Hasan (Gonzalo), Sophie Stanton (Caliban) and Carolina Valdés (Antonio). The company will also welcome Sheila Atim (Ferdinand), Leah Harvey (Miranda) and Martina Laird (Alonso).

At the invitation of Phyllida Lloyd, legendary artist Joan Armatrading composed original music for the production-recorded instrumental scoring as well as songs performed live by the actors-that spans styles including a capella songs, jazz, atmospheric and energetic dance music. Armatrading also recorded the music, singing the songs herself, for an album entitled The Tempest Songs, available via her website,

The creative team for The Tempest includes designer Chloe Lamford, theater environment designer Bunny Christie, lighting designer James Farncombe, Sound Designer Peter Malkin, movement director Ann Yeeand assistant director Ola Ince.

As with Julius Caesar and Henry IV, the Donmar Warehouse will bring its highly successful and enlightening multi-pronged education program to St. Ann's with The Tempest. There will be in-school workshops, an intensive half-day empowerment workshop for young women and professional leaders, as well as workshops organized specifically for young people in the juvenile justice system.

The Donmar Warehouse (Josie Rourke, Artistic Director; Kate Pakenham, Executive Producer) is a 251-seat not-for-profit theatre located in the heart of Covent Garden, in London's West End. Over the past 24 years it has built a reputation for artistic excellence as one of the UK's leading producing theatres.

The theatre's diverse artistic policy encompasses bold reimaginings of classics and Shakespeare, innovative revivals of contemporary British, Irish and American drama, and in recent years has demonstrated a renewed commitment to bringing new plays to its audiences. As well as staging work in its intimate Covent Garden home, the Donmar regularly produces work elsewhere around the UK and internationally. The Donmar is committed to sharing its work with an ever-broader audience and, through innovative and exciting education work, engaging audiences of the future.

Alongside Phyllida Lloyd's all-female Shakespeare Trilogy being performed at a specially built theatre in London, recent highlights include a six-month residency in New York, beginning with Artistic Director Josie Rourke's production of James Graham's Privacy, starring Daniel Radcliffe at The Public Theater in June 2016, and the current revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, starring Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber at the Booth Theatre on Broadway.

Currently at the Donmar's London home in Covent Garden, Josie Rourke directs Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, which will be broadcast live in cinemas across the world via NT Live beginning February 16, 2017. For more information, visit

St. Ann's Warehouse plays a vital role on the global cultural landscape as an American artistic home for international companies of distinction, American avant-garde masters and talented emerging artists ready to work on a grand scale. St. Ann's signature flexible, open space allows artists to stretch, both literally and imaginatively, enabling them to approach work with unfettered creativity, knowing that the theater can be adapted in multiple configurations to suit their needs.

In the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, St. Ann's Warehouse has designed a spectacular waterfront theater that opened in October 2015. The new theater offers St. Ann's signature versatility and grandeur on an amplified scale while respecting the walls of an original 1860's Tobacco Warehouse. The building complex includes a second space, a Studio, for St. Ann's Puppet Lab, smaller-scale events and community uses, as well as The Max Family Garden, designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and open to Brooklyn Bridge Park visitors during Park hours.

Susan Feldman founded Arts at St. Ann's (now St. Ann's Warehouse) in 1980 as part of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, to help save the National Historic Landmark Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity on Montague Street in B­rooklyn Heights. For twenty-one years, St. Ann's presented a decidedly eclectic array of concert and theater performances in the church sanctuary.

From Fall 2001 through the 2014-15 season, the organization activated found spaces in DUMBO with the world's most imaginative theater- and music-makers, helping to make the burgeoning neighborhood a destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. After twelve years (2001-2012) in a warehouse that was located at 38 Water Street, St. Ann's transformed another raw space at 29 Jay Street, turning it into an interim home for three years (2012-2015) while the organization adapted the then-roofless Tobacco Warehouse at 45 Water Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park into the new St. Ann's Warehouse.

The Inaugural Season, November 2015 - June 2016, featured signature international presentations that continually demonstrated the flexibility of the new St. Ann's Warehouse. The season began with the Donmar Warehouse all-female Henry IV, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter, and continued with The Last Hotel, a new opera from Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh; Nice Fish, written by Mark Rylance and prose poet Louis Jenkins after Jenkins' prose poems, and performed by a cast led by Rylance; the Young Vic's immensely acclaimed production of A Streetcar Named Desire,directed by Benedict Andrews, with an explosive cast led by Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster, Vanessa Kirby and Corey Johnson; and Bianco, from the Cardiff-based international contemporary circus company NoFitState, which St. Ann's presented in a flying-saucer shaped tent erected under the Brooklyn Bridge in May 2016.

Almost four decades of consistently acclaimed landmark productions that found their American home at St. Ann's include Lou Reed's and John Cale's Songs for 'Drella; Marianne Faithfull's Seven Deadly Sins; Artistic Director Susan Feldman's Band in Berlin; Charlie Kaufman and the Coen Brothers' Theater of the New Ear; The Royal Court and TR Warszawa productions of Sarah Kane's 4:48 Psychosis; The Globe Theatre of London's Measure for Measure with Mark Rylance; Druid Company's The Walworth Farce, The New Electric Ballroom and Penelope by Enda Walsh and Walsh's Misterman, featuring Cillian Murphy; Lou Reed's Berlin; the National Theater of Scotland's Black Watch; Kneehigh Theatre's Brief Encounter and Tristan & Yseult; Yael Farber's Mies Julie; Dmitry Krymov Lab's Opus No. 7; the Donmar Warehouse all-female Julius Caesar and Henry IV; Kate Tempest's Brand New Ancients; Tricycle Theatre's Red Velvet and, most recently, the National Theatre of Scotland's Let the Right One In. St. Ann's has championed such artists as The Wooster Group, Mabou Mines, Jeff Buckley, Cynthia Hopkins, Emma Rice and Daniel Kitson, and presented an historic David Bowie concert in 2002.

The new St. Ann's Warehouse retains the best of its past homes: the sense of sacred space of the organization's original home in the Church, and the vastness and endless capacity for reconfiguration artists have harnessed in St. Ann's temporary warehouses in DUMBO. For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks


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