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York Theatre Royal Announces Autumn/Winter 2019 Season


Emma Rice's Wise Children company return with Enid Blyton's Malory Towers in York Theatre Royal's autumn-winter season, which also features new productions of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge and Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye.

Touring shows include the first revival of Sarah Waters' The Night Watch and the return of Susan Hill's chilling ghost story The Woman In Black.

Summer shows Swallows & Amazons (26 July to 24 August) and Hetty Feather (30 Aug - 1 Sept) are followed in the main house by the Original Theatre Company with the first revival of Sarah Waters' The Night Watch (4-7 Sept) in a co-production with York Theatre Royal. Olivier-nominated playwright Hattie Taylor has adapted Waters bestselling novel set in 1940s London.

York Theatre Royal teams up again with Emma Rice's Wise Children company to stage Enid Blyton's Malory Towers (10-14 Sept), a story of high jinks, high drama and high spirits at a girls' boarding school. It's the original 'Girl Power' story. Rice adapts and directs a show described as "nostalgic, naughty and perfect for now".

The first of two co-productions with Royal & Derngate Northampton finds York Theatre Royal Associate Director Juliet Forster directing Arthur Miller's award-winning A View from the Bridge.

Juliet's previous productions at York Theatre Royal include Sense and Sensibility, Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes and The Machine Stops.

She says: "This gripping drama is compulsive viewing - it simmers with tension and explodes with passion. It feels more relevant today than it has ever been, in its examination of the power of desire, models of masculinity, and in attitudes to immigration, which once again have become a hugely contentious political issue in current times."

The York and Northampton theatres also co-produce Alone in Berlin (3-21 March), adapted by Alistair Beaton from the bestselling novel by Hans Fallada which has been described as "the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis". Based on true events, Alone in Berlin follows a quietly courageous couple who, in dealing with their own heartbreak, stand up to the brutal reality of the Nazi regime.

The consortium - Pilot Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Derby Theatre - that came together to stage productions aimed at younger audiences enjoyed great success with Noughts and Crosses. Now comes the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winner Crongton Knights (25-29 Feb) by Alex Wheatle, adapted by Emteaz Hussain.

The production will be directed by Corey Campbell, artistic director of Strictly Arts Theatre Company and Pilot's Artistic Director Esther Richardson.

John R. Wilkinson directs York Theatre Royal's revival of Tony award-winning playwright Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye (Studio, 14-30 Nov). This tense meditation on family, selfishness and redemption is set in South Africa with the story revolving around Johnnie being visited by his sister Hester after a very long absence.

John is Associate Artist at York Theatre Royal and the tenth recipient of the Genesis Future Directors Award at the Young Vic, where he directed a sold-out production of Winter by Norwegian author and dramatist Jon Fosse in February 2018.

The programme in the Studio also includes Black Men Walking (10-14 Sept), directed by Dawn Walton and written by Testament for Eclipse Theatre Company. This is the production's second UK tour following its huge sell-out success last year.

Tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal present The Boy Who Cried Wolf (26 Sept - 12 Oct) by Mike Kenny. Inspired by the Aesop fable, this tale tells the story of a bother of a boy, a mithered mother and a grand old brass band of a grandad. All set in a village of knitters where every new Christmas jumper tells a story. Suitable for 3+

Engine House, the theatre company behind Grandad's Island, return with The Storm Whale (Studio, 14 Dec-4 Jan), written and directed by Matt Aston. This Christmas show for those aged 4+ is based on Benji Davies children's stories.

Matt Aston will also be co-directing - with Berwick Kaler ­- the pantomime Sleeping Beauty (7 Dec - 25 Jan). Berwick, who has hung up his dame's costume after 40 years, is also writing the show which stars York panto family regulars Martin Barrass, A. J Powell, Suzy Cooper and David Leonard.

Although he's not appearing in the pantomime, the legendary dame will be on stage for An Audience With Berwick Kaler (16 Oct) in support of the theatre's 275th anniversary this year. The legendary pantomime dame will be talking about a lifetime in theatre, from his humble beginnings in Sunderland to 40 years as dame. The evening is in aid of the Berwick Kaler Foundation.

Among touring productions visiting York are Reasons to Stay Alive (5-9 Nov), taken from Matt Haig's frank and funny bestseller. This play with music and movement, imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins, celebrates what it means to be alive.

Susan Hill's ghost story The Woman in Black (12-16 Nov), adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, returns to chill the blood in a play, directed by Robin Herford, that began life more than 30 years ago in Scarborough.

Nigel Slater's Toast (19-23 Nov) recreates the cookery writer's childhood through the tastes and smells he shared with his mother. Giles Cooper plays Slater in this entertaining adaptation by Henry Filloux-Bennett of Slater's autobiographical book.

Yorkshire-based Phoenix Dance Theatre, who presented Windrush last year, return (18 & 19 Oct) with a double bill that includes The Rite of Spring, re-imagined by Haitian contemporary and folklore choreographer Jeanguy Saintus, bringing the sacred arts of Haiti and voodoo to Vaslav Nijinksky's choreography.

Ballet Black, which made an impressive debut on its York debut last year, return with a Triple Bill (26 Nov) featuriing three modern ballets featuring choreography by Mthuthuzeli November, Martin Lawrence and Sophie Laplane.

York Opera present Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers (22-26 Oct) and in 2020 York Light Opera Company will stage Lionel Bart's Oliver! (12-22 Feb). This is the company's 60th consecutive year performing on the York Theatre Royal stage with a show that made its West End debut 60 years ago.

Young people take over the running of the theatre for a week in October with a full TakeOver10 programme of events including You and I: A New Musical (31 Oct) by Tom Williams and Cordelia O'Driscoll. This comedy music won the Cameron Mackintosh Award 2018.

York Theatre Royal will also be the festival hub for Aesthetica Short Film Festival from 6-10 November with film screenings, virtual reality, masterclasses, industry marketplace and panels.

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