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Almeida Theatre Announces New Season

Almeida Theatre Announces New Season Artistic Director Rupert Goold today announces the Almeida Theatre's new season:

Also announced today:

  • The return of the Almeida For Free festival taking place from 3 to 5 April during the run of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke.
  • The new cohort of eleven Resident Directors.

Rupert Goold said today, "It is with enormous excitement that we announce our new season, featuring two premieres from immensely talented and ground-breaking writers, a rare UK revival of a seminal, pioneering American play, and an exhilarating interactive show from one of the most revolutionary theatre companies in Europe.

"We start by welcoming back Ella Hickson, following her epic Oil in 2016, with new play The Writer, directed by Blanche McIntyre. Like Ella's previous work, this is a hugely ambitious, deeply political play that consistently challenges what theatre can and should be.

"Following The Writer, we are thrilled to present a timely revival of Sophie Treadwell's masterpiece, Machinal, directed by Natalie Abrahami. Ninety years after it emerged from the American expressionist theatre scene and twenty-five years since its last London production, it remains strikingly resonant in its depiction of oppression, gender and power.

"I first saw Belgian company Ontroerend Goed's show £¥€$ (LIES) at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. It was an adrenaline-charged, unpredictable, all-consuming experience that hasn't left my mind since. I couldn't be happier to welcome the company of LIES to the Almeida for a three week run in August and to share its glamour, risk and game-playing with London audiences.

"The season concludes with the award-winning new American play Dance Nation by Clare Barron, directed by Bijan Sheibani. Dance Nation is a fierce take on youth and ambition and the second winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Award to be given its UK premiere at the Almeida, following Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica in 2013.

"We also announce today the return of our Almeida For Free festival, following its success on Hamlet last year. From 3-5 April, all performances of our production of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke will be performed to audiences aged 25 and under, with all tickets completely free. They will be accompanied by a diverse programme of free events, performances and masterclasses themed around the play. It continues our commitment to offering affordable, accessible tickets to young people for all Almeida productions."

World Premiere


By Ella Hickson

Directed by Blanche McIntyre; Designed by Anna Fleischle

Sound Design by Emma Laxton; Lighting Design by Richard Howell

Saturday 14 April - Saturday 26 May 2018

"I want awe. I feel like I need blood. All the time. And anything less than that makes me feel desperate. It makes me feel like I want to die."

She wants to change the shape of the world. But a new way of thinking needs a new story. How can she make herself heard?

Ella Hickson returns to the Almeida following the success of Oil in 2016 with the world premiere of The Writer, directed by Blanche McIntyre.

Ella Hickson's Oil was produced by the Almeida Theatre in 2016 (it won the Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play in 2013). Her other plays include Merlin, Wendy and Peter Pan, Boys, The Authorised Kate Bane, Gift (part of Headlong's Decade), Precious Little Talent and Hot Mess.

Blanche McIntyre directs. Her theatre credits include The Norman Conquests at Chichester Festival Theatre; Titus Andronicus and The Two Noble Kinsmen for the RSC; Noises Off at the Nottingham Playhouse; Welcome Home, Captain Fox! at The Donmar Warehouse; The Oresteia at HOME, Manchester; As You Like It and The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare's Globe; Arcadia for English Touring Theatre and Ambassador Theatre Group; Accolade at St James' Theatre and also at the Finborough Theatre; Tonight at 8:30 and The Nutcracker at Nuffield Southampton Theatres; Ciphers for Out of Joint, Bush Theatre and Exeter Northcott; The Birthday Party at the Manchester Royal Exchange and The Seagull for Headlong Theatre, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Derby Theatre (winner of Best Director at 2013 UK Theatre Awards) and Foxfinder at the Finborough Theatre. McIntyre was the winner of the 2011 Critics' Circle Most Promising Newcomer Award. She will direct The Winter's Tale at Shakespeare's Globe later this year.


By Sophie Treadwell

Directed by Natalie Abrahami; Designed by Miriam Buether

Composition and Sound by Ben and Max Ringham; Lighting Design by Jack Knowles

Monday 4 June - Saturday 21 July 2018

"Your skin oughtn't to curl - ought it - when he just comes near you - ought it? That's wrong, ain't it? You don't get over that, do you - ever, do you or do you?"

The city. A woman is restless. A woman is suffocating. A woman is silenced.

The woman revolts.

Natalie Abrahami directs a visceral production of Sophie Treadwell's expressionist masterpiece.

Sophie Treadwell (1885 - 1970) was a playwright and journalist. She was the author of 39 plays including Machinal (most recently revived in London at the National Theatre in 1993), Gringo, O Nightingale, Ladies Leave, Lone Valley, Plumes in the Dust and Hope for a Harvest.

Natalie Abrahami directs. She was previously Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre from 2007-2012 and Associate Director at the Young Vic from 2013-2016. Her credits include Wings, Ah, Wilderness!, Happy Days and After Miss Julie at the Young Vic; Queen Anne for the RSC and at the Theatre Royal Haymarket; Hitchcock Blonde at Hull Truck Theatre; Yerma, How To Be An Other Woman, The Kreutzer Sonata, Vanya, Unbroken, Women in Love and The Internationalist at The Gate Theatre; Pericles at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and A Midsummer Night's Dream for Headlong.

Ontroerend Goed, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Richard Jordan Productions and Vooruit Kunstcentrum in association with Big in Belgium present

£¥€$ (LIES)

Tuesday 31 July - Saturday 18 August 2018

Script by Joeri Smet, Angelo Tijssens, Karolien De Bleser, Alexander Devriendt

Directed by Alexander Devriendt

Technical support from Babette Poncelet and Iben Stalpaert; costumes by Astrid Peeters; music composed by Johannes Genard; design by Nick Mattan and scenography by Vormen.

'The best way to rob a bank is to own one' (William Crawford, Commissioner of the California Department of Savings and Loans).

For one night only we invite you to join the super-rich. The 1%. You will call the shots. You will be the centre of the economy. You will have the power.

Given the chance to do things your way - will you play it safe or risk it all?

World-renowned Belgian theatre company Ontroerend Goed brings its award-winning immersive production to the Almeida Theatre for a limited run.

Special thanks to Toneelacademie Maastricht and with the support of the Flemish Government, Province of East-Flanders, the City of Ghent.

Ontroerend Goed produces self-devised work grounded in the here and now, inviting its audiences to participate as well as observe. It first emerged on the international scene in 2007, with The Smile Off Your Face, a one-on-one show in which the audience is tied to a wheelchair and then blindfolded. Its hit show Once and For All we're gonna tell you who we are so shut up and listen, was an uncompromising celebration of raw teenage energy on stage. With every new piece of work, Ontroerend Goed provides an intense experience constructed in reality; life goes on during the performance. The company has won numerous awards across Europe, including STUK-prijs (2003), Scotsman Fringe Firsts (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2016, 2017), Herald Angels (2008, 2009), Total Theatre Awards (2007, 2008, 2012) and The Stage Award for Best Ensemble (2014). Ontroerend Goed performs in Dutch, English and French, and has played to critical acclaim in New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Toronto and London. Its work is currently being 'staged' in countries around the world with successful local remakes in Istanbul, Moscow and Vancouver.

Ontroerend Goed is Alexander Devriendt, David Bauwens, Joeri Smet, Wim Smet, Charlotte De Bruyne, Karen Van Ginderachter, Karolien De Bleser, Babette Poncelet, Aurélie Lannoy and Angelo Tijssens. They are currently associated artists in residence at Vooruit Arts Centre in their hometown Ghent, Belgium. With award-winning British theatre producer Richard Jordan and leading UK producing theatre Theatre Royal Plymouth, they co-produce and develop all their productions worldwide.

UK Premiere


By Clare Barron

Directed by Bijan Sheibani

Monday 27 August - Saturday 6 October 2018

"Maybe this is the year, this is the moment, this is the dance where your lives will start!"

Somewhere in America, a revolution is coming.

An army of competitive dancers is ready to take over the world, one routine at a time.

With a pre-teen battle for power and perfection raging on and off stage, Dance Nation is a ferocious exploration of youth, ambition and self-discovery.

Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and The Relentless Award, Clare Barron's explosive new play Dance Nation makes its UK debut in summer 2018, directed by Bijan Sheibani.

Clare Barron is a playwright and actor. She won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Dance Nation. Her plays include You Got Older, Baby Screams Miracle, Solar Plexus and Dirty Crusty. She is the recipient of the 2014 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow and the Paula Vogel Award at the Vineyard, and a two-time finalist for the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission. She is also a member of Youngblood, an Affiliated Artist with Target Margin and an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. As an actor, Barron appeared in the world premiere of Heidi Schreck's The Consultant (Long Wharf) and travelled to Beirut to play Mae in an Arabic-English production of María Irene Fornés' Mud.

Bijan Sheibani directs. He previously directed The House of Bernarda Alba and Fixer at the Almeida Theatre. His production of The Brothers Size is currently running at the Young Vic and he will shortly direct Circle Mirror Transformation at HOME Manchester. His other theatre credits include Barber Shop Chronicles, Romeo and Juliet, A Taste of Honey, Emil and the Detectives, The Kitchen and Our Class at the National Theatre; Giving at Hampstead Theatre; Moonlight at The Donmar Warehouse, Eurydice for ATC and the Young Vic and Gone Too Far! for the Royal Court, Hackney Empire and Albany Theatre (Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre). His opera work includes Nothing at Glyndebourne and The Virtues of Things and Through His Teeth at the Royal Opera House. He was Associate Director at the National Theatre from 2010-2015 and Artistic Director of ATC from 2007-2010.


Tuesday 3 April - Thursday 5 April 2018

Following the success of the inaugural 'Almeida For Free' during the run of Hamlet in 2017, the festival returns for a second time during the final week of Rebecca Frecknall's production of the Tennessee Williams classic Summer and Smoke. All performances across the three days will be made free to 25s and under with an additional programme of free live music and theatre, late night cabaret, exclusive masterclasses with creative professionals and panel discussions. The full programme will be announced shortly.

1,600 people aged 25 and under saw Hamlet for free during the inaugural festival in April 2017, with another 750 involved in events over the week. 69% of participants had never visited the Almeida before.

This year's festival has been made possible through the generous support of The Taylor Family Foundation. The Taylor Family Foundation, set up in 2007 by Ian and Cristina Taylor, supports charities giving opportunities to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their chances of attaining success; improving access and engagement in the performing arts and helping the homeless and struggling families to overcome their challenges.

The Almeida Theatre's Directors' Pool offers directors in the early stages of their career the opportunity to work closely with the theatre in all aspects of the artistic programme, to gain experience through access to the resources provided by the Almeida, and to widen their artistic network. For each of our productions, the Director will select a Resident Director from the pool to support the production process from first rehearsals to public performance. Alongside the opportunity to assist, the group will take part in script readings and workshops led by Almeida creatives, and lead projects for Almeida Participation during their residencies. The 2017 pool included Rebecca Frecknall whose production of Summer and Smoke runs at the Almeida from 24 February - 7 April.

The cohort for 2018 is:

  • Piers Black
  • Or Ben Ezra
  • Nel Crouch
  • Floriana Dezou
  • Matt Hassall
  • Hannah Joss
  • Caitlin McLeod
  • Dervla Toal
  • Denzel Westley-Sanderson
  • Joseph Winters
  • Lucy Wray

The Almeida Theatre is grateful to the Eranda Rothschild Foundation for its support of its Resident Director programme.

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