China Plate Present Spring 2019

Shakespeare for a new generation and plenty to get you thinking:
China Plate present Spring 2019

  • Co-production with Contender Charlie set to bring brand new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to schools across the country
  • Scotsman Fringe First winners The Shape of the Pain and Status to tour
  • Urielle Klein-Mekongo's Yvette set for three-week Bush Theatre run and dates at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  • First Bite and Bite Size Festivals return showcasing exciting new theatre from the Midlands
  • New York experts fly in to participate in Musical Theatre Darkroom to develop new shows

Midlands-based independent producing studio China Plate today announces the shows and festivals it will present during Spring 2019. From award-winning Edinburgh Fringe hits, through a new Shakespeare adaptation for young people, to opportunities for artists to develop new work, it's going to be a busy start to the year...

In October 2018, a survey commissioned by LAMDA suggested that nearly a third of British schoolchildren don't know that Shakespeare was a playwright; bringing Shakespeare to this new generation of children, China Plate have once again partnered with theatre education company Contender Charlie to create Romeo and Juliet - Mad Blood Stirring (3 Feb - 22 Mar) an adaptation for 9 - 13-year-olds (KS2 and lower KS3) written by Nick Walker.

Following their previous successful collaboration Macbeth - Blood Will Have Blood in 2015, the companies will once again create striking visuals and live music to bring the Shakespeare play to life in both public and schools performances, and workshops and an education pack will be provided to help students further explore the play. Romeo and Juliet - Mad Blood Stirring will be narrated by the Friar in modern English alongside the other main characters following the traditional Shakespearean text. From the charity and compassion of the Friar, to the apparent savagery of Tybalt, Contender Charlie use Shakespeare's characters to explore themes of divided communities, violent crime and how far you'd go to protect what you love.

Following a Scotsman Fringe First award-winning run in Edinburgh 2017 and Offie nominated tour in 2018, The Shape of the Pain returns to London to play the atmospheric Wilton's Music Hall as part of a tour (19 Mar - 5 April). Writer Chris Thorpe weaves together director Rachel Bagshaw's personal experiences of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) with a fictional narrative about a love affair, using sound, light and video alongside fully integrated captioning and audio description.

In Chris Thorpe's collaboration with Rachel Chavkin, Status (also a Fringe First winner), Chris explores national identity, the narrative that comes with it and the internal and political conflicts that arise when people chose not to accept their nationality. Following the Prime Minister's assertion that 'if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere' and touring the UK as Brexit looms, Status (19 Mar-30 May) attempts to show that feeling like a citizen of the world and having a specific national identity are not mutually exclusive.

Returning to the Bush Theatre for a three-week run (14 May - 1 June) Yvette is a one woman show with original music about a stolen childhood. It's written, performed and based on the personal experience of exciting new talent Urielle Klein-Mekongo who was recently selected as one of the 'Old Vic 12' new generation of theatremakers. It's about a thirteen-year old's crush on Lewis, trying to be a woman, friends, virginity, garage remixes, hello kitty underwear and an 'Uncle' lurking in the corner of her story. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 and toured to several London venues, including the Bush, in 2018. The show will then visit the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for a limited run (6 - 8 June).

This Spring will also see the return of China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre's biennial First Bite festival (2, 22 Mar & 5 Apr) presented in partnership with Midlands Arts Centre, Derby Theatre and Attenborough Arts Centre. The festivals offer companies in the Midlands the chance to develop new ideas and perform short extracts in front of an audience of theatregoers and industry professionals. Three of the companies presenting early work will receive a £3,000 commission to develop the work and showcase it at Bite Size festival in January 2020. Bite Size is a daylong showcase that takes place at Warwick Arts Centre celebrating original theatre makers emerging and established from across the Midlands.

As part of an ongoing project to develop new musicals to tour on the midscale in the UK, this Spring China Plate will host New York artists, musical theatre composer Fred Carl and lyricist and librettist Robert Lee, who will work with invited companies on their ideas. China Plate is preparing to tour its first musical during 2020 with details to be confirmed later this year. Spring 2019 will also see China Plate continue its work with the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, as Associate Producers at Warwick Arts Centre and programming PULSE festival at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.

Speaking about Spring 2019, China Plate's Directors Ed Collier and Paul Warwick said:

"Spring 2019 is going to be our biggest season to date! We'll be taking our brand new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet around the country introducing a new generation of children to Shakespeare whilst encouraging them to think about the communities they live in and the current knife crime epidemic. We have two Fringe First Award winning shows from playwright Chris Thorpe: first off is The Shape Of The Pain, a beautiful, tender piece of theatre with an exceptional, award winning design which integrates access for D/deaf and visually impaired audiences seamlessly into the show creating an immersive experience unlike anything we've seen elsewhere. And STATUS, made with legendary New York Director Rachel Chavkin, which speaks honestly and passionately about deeper questions of national identity than just leave or remain. Then extraordinary fresh talent Urielle Klein-Mekongo will be reviving her powerful piece Yvette for its first full run at The Bush.

On the development front, we're embarking on a new round of the First Bite Festivals looking to uncover and commission new theatre talent across the Midlands and we're extremely excited to be embarking on a brand new musical theatre development programme and welcoming some of Broadways finest to work with us inspiring a new slate of Musicals."

Established in 2006, China Plate is one of the UK's most prolific and respected independent producers of contemporary theatre, producing work that engages 25,000 audience members annually. The company's central mission is to 'challenge the way performance is made, who it's made by and who gets to experience it.' China Plate has worked with some of the UK's most talented artists, including Caroline Horton, Inspector Sands, David Edgar, Chris Thorpe, Rachel Chavkin, Rachel Bagshaw, Urielle Klein-Mekongo and Contender Charlie.

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