Today's full programme, more choices & comment
The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English explores the cultural history of a first generation Nigerian-British woman of Igbo descent<br/>A gripping new play from multi award winning company Nouveau Riche. Written by Tania Nwachukwu, we follow the people of Eze as they fight to preserve their beloved kola tree. <br/>Using African theatre practices, call and response, dance, song, and poetry, this is a loud, unapologetic, passionate embrace of who we are and the importance of a Nigerian-British woman preserving her own history.<br/>The Brand Nouveau Initiative, in partnership VAULT Festival, brings together a group of the best black and minority ethnic emerging artists ready to take the next step in their careers. The scheme provides opportunities to expand their networks, receive first class mentoring from our award winning team, and benefit from creative space, time and research opportunities.<br/>Following successful productions at New Diorama and Soho, this is your chance to experience the next generation of theatre practitioners collaborating together to create exciting, brand new work.<br/>Praise for Nouveau Riche -<br/>WINNER - Underbelly and New Diorama UNTAPPED Award (Queens of Sheba)
BEST NEW PLAY - Off West End Award Nomination (Typical)
BEST MALE PERFORMANCE - Off West End Award Nomination (Typical)
'Scab' is a one-man show set in any one of the many deprived coastal towns in the UK, which asks the question 'to what extent can one delve into the life of a stranger?' Come and join the Narrator, played by Conor Lowson (‘The Liberator’, Opus Films for Netflix and BBC’s ‘Ladhood’), as he embarks on a playful, dark and devious odyssey into the recesses of his own mind.
This kinetic piece of storytelling is directed by Jamie Biddle (‘Whitechapel: Suspects, Lunatics and a Leather Apron’; ‘Extinct’, The Bush Theatre; ‘Conk the Dyslexia Goblin’, The Bush Theatre and ‘Smoking in the Boys Room’, Theatre503) and written by Luke Stapleton (‘Mycorrhiza', The Space; 'Retinas', Southwark Playhouse, and as Script Editor; BBC's 'The Capture' and Amazon Prime's 'Hanna').
'I have this hole in me
And my whole life is spent just desperately tryin’ not to fall into it.'
“The air is the only place that is free from prejudice”. Bessie Coleman<br/>They said she couldn’t do it but she could.
From going around the world on a bicycle to doing spectacular airshows or climbing the highest mountains on earth, Annie "Londonderry" Kopchovsky, Bessie Coleman and Junko Tabei fought the prejudice and scepticism that surrounded them.
Their achievements became milestones in the path towards women’s rights and freedom, challenging the assumption that the “fairer sex” lacks the physical and mental stamina for big deeds. Though their adventures were as breathtaking, spellbinding and phenomenal as their male counterparts, where are their stories now?
For one night only Annie, Bessie and Junko come back for the live recording of the podcast “Miles Apart Together” and share their stories.
Four brand new companies.
Four incredible ideas.
Four of a Kind is a night not to miss. <br/>Wildcard's inaugural Artist Development Programme supports four of the UK's most exciting young companies to each produce a sharing of a brand new piece of work. <br/>Expect hot topics in these fantastic theatre pieces and have an opportunity to give your feedback to help shape the creative future of these emerging companies. Injected with Wildcard's signature energy and attended by programmers from some of the UK's leading venues, Four of a Kind is a platform to help launch exciting new work and an opportunity to meet other artists and programmers from around London and the UK.
PYNEAPPLE is The SPYCE Collective’s debut piece of work. The play is centred around four young women from London. Erycah, Lauryn, Maya and Raye grapple with stereotypes daily and find therapy in hair studio ‘Crowns’. But with rent increasing on the street will their safe space continue to exist?<br/>This new, vibrant play explores mental health, sexuality, colourism and femininity as the women find themselves.
Meet Marcus. Argentinian. Catholic. Straight. Maybe. He doesn't know anymore, or why he wanted to be Pope when he was young. <br/>Welcome to the Wonderful World of Marcus!<br/>Delving deep into the colourful circus of Marcus’ memories, we meet his fantastical family and friends, loves and losses as he grapples with the events that have shaped him. <br/>Hear the discovery of the dreams and wishes of Marcus and those close to him... but does anyone really listen?<br/>Award-winning Seemia return to VAULT with their dark-comedy, bursting with phsyical-theatre and storytelling, clowning and music. Seemia ask what makes us become who we are, pulling apart the matrix of gender politics, religion and the impact of family relationships on forming our identity.<br/>MARCUS is generously supported by Theatre Deli, The Albany, ARC Stockton and ArcolaLAB for BAME Artists, and public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Seemia are a Tangled Feet mentored company.
“I’m the reason the caged bird sings
I am the thorn in the side of the boy
I am the fat lady telling you it’s over”<br/>Based on interviews with female-identifying practitioners across the music industry, A Beautiful Way to be Crazy is a tale of growing up and finding a voice. Weaving together spoken word, live music, verbatim audio from the interviews and a few genuine teenage diary entries, award-winning poet Genevieve Carver and her multi-instrumental live band (Tim Knowles, Brian Bestall and Ruth Nicholson) take you on a journey that begins in 1999 and isn’t over yet.<br/>Expect to meet the spirits of Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Delia Derbyshire as Genevieve navigates her way through school bullies, the pressures of mainstream media, anxiety and pregnancy scares, but comes out smiling.<br/>A Beautiful Way to be Crazy is an innovative piece of gig theatre exploring what it means to be a girl in the business of music, but also simply to be human. Told in Genevieve's 'heart-breaking and hilarious all at once' style, to a soundtrack moving seamlessly between pop, rock, folk, soul, classical and electronica.
Why is everything bad dark, why does dark times mean hard times? Why anyting black nuh good? The Night Woman disagrees and is on a mission. The Night Woman brings exceptional physicality, beautiful Caribbean sounds and a deep and powerful performance to bring one woman’s journey into the Dark. What will she find there?<br/>Through gripping and poetic storytelling, dynamic sound and exceptional physicality, the story of a strong passionate woman’s journey into the dark will unfold. “Walking through the valley of the shadows might lead to redemption”<br/>Unleash your bravery and join the adventure with the Night woman as she makes her way through the dark all the while receiving a delicious serving of exquisite performance, Caribbean flavours of sound and movement with a serving of Caribbean history and folktale. This is your chance to be moved. Your senses will thank you.<br/>Devised and performed by Julene Robinson an award- nominated performer who have consistently offer strong convicted beautifully nuanced performances. Don’t miss the powerful, thought provoking, beautiful Night Woman
Ophélie wanted to quit stand-up comedy to become a crystal healer, but then she was booked to perform an hour of stand-up comedy... Therefore, please join her as she performs an hour of stand-up comedy explaining why she is quitting stand-up comedy to become a crystal healer. <br/>In this hour, Ophélie will take you on her journey, from Parisian bitch to basic witch. <br/>This is a story about some weird stuff, like the patriarchy, but it's also a story about some normal stuff, like suddenly feeling other people's energies.<br/>This is a story about healing, in a mind, body and spirit way, but also in a fun way (as contractually obliged.)
Fast-paced, absurdist, narrative sketch from surreal specialists Crybabies. Expect songs, dances, accents, heroes, haircuts, jackets and maybe a lesson or two. <br/>Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer Nominees 2019<br/>'Highly impressive' **** The Guardian
'High-concept farce of the first order' **** The Telegraph
'Head-and-shoulders above many sketch shows' **** Chortle
'A great wave of absurdist wonderment' **** The Skinny
'A ludicrous story with a touching emotional heart' **** Beyond The Joke
'Clever and genuinely funny... go and see it' ***** Mumble Comedy
When Clem first dates Luke, she is a 32-year-old ambitious go-getter woman, (eggcount 115), with no interest in motherhood. Four years later, and happily in love, she decides she does want a child after all. Clem and Luke then gradually find themselves in a crisis of infertility, in which Clem becomes increasingly obsessed with time, (insisting it is going too fast), and counting things (like her remaining eggcount)... . To make matters worse, Clem’s older and best friend, Ruth, accidentally conceives a second child, aggravating her despair. By the time Clem is 42 (eggcount 7) she has become mentally and emotionally absent, slipping in and out of her own ‘egg-time’ (which runs faster than everyone else’s). Luke, fearing he has lost her, suggests that it’s time to give up on ‘project baby’.<br/>About 500 combines an unfolding drama between 3 characters with an exploration of the subjective nature of time and a docu-theatre thread suggesting the real women’s voices behind the play. It also uses movement and an ‘installation’ made up of 100s of tiny meringues to convey the spent and squandered ovulations that come to haunt the protagonist. The story’s 10-year passage of time is made explicit to the audience through an ever-present visual display of Clem’s remaining egg count, a forcible reminder of her ever diminishing odds.<br/>The average age of first conception for women in the UK is now 30 and climbing steadily. However, the cliff edge of female fertility remains brutal, dropping dramatically at 35, with the result that more and more women find themselves involuntarily childless in their 40s. This has a huge, and seriously overlooked, impact on women's mental health. The fundamental disparity between a punishingly finite female fertility and a potentially infinite male fertility remains an issue that our society has failed to address, and something of a blind spot for feminism.
About 500 invites audiences to consider this raw deal that contemporary women face.
Featuring movement and a club soundtrack Trying To Find Me is a semi- autobiographical show about the shame of pain. The show exposes the secret, heart-breaking and wonderfully honest and funny world of Ann — a black woman in her early 30s looking for love and in many ways, trying to heal. <br/>It incorporates BSL, creative captioning, visual sound technology and audio description, utilising a variety of communication styles woven into the narrative and movement fabric of the piece
Graham de la Cruz is a superstar. The only problem is that no-one knows it yet. Irelands sassiest triple threat performer is on a mission to bring his cabaret extravaganza to the world. Armed with a dazzling array of diva classics, a strong sequin blazer and a microphone he is ready to give the performance of his life!!<br/>After a sell-out run last year Graham is back with extra sass and extra sequins!
“If I invited you to come with me on a journey, a story, will you come with me?”<br/>Northern Uganda. When Okumu’s village is attacked by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), he and his brother’s lives are changed forever.<br/>Far Gone is a profoundly moving story of a young boy’s journey from childhood innocence to child soldier. Seen through the eyes of those that love him and those that betray him, Okumu’s experience strikes straight at the heart through a powerful one-man performance by John Rwothomack, directed by Moji Elufowoju.
The world premiere of Invisibles by Argentinian writer Lola Lagos platforms the voices of two Latin women who despite being robbed from their dignity and freedom, never succumb to losing their spirit.<br/>Sandra and Marisa have been in this place for a long time. A place they thought would bring a better life but only takes and takes and takes away... Yet when the music plays, the women dance, laugh and love. Stuck between abuse and violence, they keep on living and dreaming. Dreaming of a better life, somewhere across the river. <br/>Directed by feminist theatremaker Nastazja Somers, Invisibles is a haunting and political piece of theatre that brings us closer to understanding the real weight of endurance and resistance carried by so many women in many foreign lands.
July 3rd, 1976. It’s Nora’s 19th birthday and it’s been three years to the day since she ran away from home. Standing outside the Pier Pavilion, Hastings, having just watched The Sex Pistols play live for the first time, she knows her life is about to change forever.
"You've fucked the planet mum but you're still on me bout my phone"
Emma wants to dance. Phoebe is struggling to stay out of referal units. Austerity hasn’t helped, screens are proving to be very challenging and trauma lurks somewhere in the very beginnings of the umbilical cord. When you are battling a storm you gotta hanker down and believe it will pass. But when the storm gets into your home what do you do to protect yourself and the ones you love? STORM is a raw, new play written by Juliet Knight and gives voice to invisible women who have sat alone in special care units and now wonder if that is why their miracle children are teenagers who fight so hard against the world. Reaching 50, Juliet Knight searched for manifestations of her own personal story. Quickly realising they weren't out there she wanted to shed some light on how chaos, conflict and closeness in a single parent unit can affect a mother and daughter’s mental health. Using live music and physicality the production explores how changing-hormones and parenting teenagers can be a monumental catalyst for change and deserves airspace. First supported by The National Theatre Studio and using lived in experience as a single parent, Storm tells the story of a mother and daughter's intense and complex relationship which has built up through years of broken public services and shut down centres. It looks at the comic and tragic ways in which two family members fight against each other and questions why two people who love each other so much can hate so hard. Emma is a mother who misses her little girl and Phoebe is the adolescent the girl has become. This play is for any parent who has navigated the teenage years, any child who has stood up to their mother or anyone who is living in these interesting times. A brand new score by Tristan Parkes and Aruhan Galieva with direction by Sam Hardie and Juliet Knight.
It's the season of cutting carbs, hitting it hard at the gym, and shaving everything from the chin down. Summer has rocked up and the media has us thinking about how our bodies aren't up to scratch and there are companies ready to capitalise on that. We've been shamed, dehumanised, and humiliated for how we look and we've had enough.
Join The Roaring Girls for a defiantly feel-good show which sticks two fingers up at how the media says you should look.
The Roaring Girls are getting Beach Body Ready. Are you?<br/>"Engaging, funny and inclusive" - The Guardian<br/>"Beach Body Ready is the show the world has been waiting for" - Within Her Words
“An impressive success for Australian-born Unlikely Productions, who assemble a poignant and thought-provoking line-up of talent.” ***** (Broadway World UK on The Apologists)<br/>1&Only is a near-fi, bureaucratic, satirical comedy. The show takes place in 2048. The government has two years left to fulfill their promise of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and so far, nothing has been done. In a last-ditch effort to save the planet, the Minister for Roads, Transport (and climate crisis) has decided to launch a one-child policy on the unwitting public.<br/>Led by a crack team of political strategists and marketing experts, the audience will join them in a secret underground vault for an emergency meeting as they brainstorm and blue-sky their way through catchy names, viral videos, subliminal messaging, propaganda pop and mind- control technology in their thankless mission to make the notion of a one-child policy sound like an appealing prospect.<br/>Brought to you by the team at Unlikely Productions (The Apologists), 1&Only is written by Gabrielle Scawthorn and Hugo Chiarella, directed by Sam Hooper (Death Suits You) and performed by Gabrielle Scawthorn (The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Rose Riley (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time) and Will Close (Great British Mysteries).<br/>In the age of Boris Johnson, Brexit and Trump, 1&Only is a comedic romp about the politics of selling and the selling of politics.
She's been chatting about what does it mean to be a woman* (as host of hit comedy podcast What Women* Want), and writing about being a woman* (as editor and contributor to the book I Call Myself a Feminist) now it's stand up comedy, baby! From the back hurting reality of Lean In, to how bread is a force for good in this world and some useful tips and tricks for everyday life (how to avoid taking notes in meetings? make sure you never, ever are seen with a pen) join Amy Annette for, just slightly less then, an hour of new comedy.
Oh it's fun being a meatshape on the burning planet earth! This is a show about whether we like ourselves enough as a species to bother fighting to exist. And also about how being an alcoholic stripper taught Siân to love and accept men (even when they make it really hard.)<br/>Previous praise for Siân Docksey:<br/>BBC New Comedy Award Nominee 2019<br/>Featured in The Telegraph’s Funniest One-Liners of the Edinburgh Fringe 2017<br/>The Skinny **** "Joy and bewilderment in equal measure" <br/>Funny Women **** "Siân Docksey has got her weird in order."<br/>The Mumble **** "I ain't ever seen anything quite like that!" <br/>One4Review “Silly, nonsensical, political, feminist and weird.”<br/>The F-Word "With a great energy and a surreal vibe, Docksey is very funny – on the face of it her set is full of quirky humour and off-beat anecdotes but underneath she addresses important issues of gender and sexual politics".
Not from the makers of ‘Making a Murderer’. Also not from the makers of ‘Kidnapped in Plain Sight’ – A journey of self discovery where Roann leaves no (wo)man behind. Piecing together what it means to be a mixed heritage, queer, woman having grown up in the 90's, in Wembley.<br/>Gender & sexuality, a spilt nail varnish, a murdered cat. Roann delves into her past, as she has some questions and questionable memories. All her family members are back in force in her second show and due to popular demand, more stories of her Algerian Mother and her unique take on life will take centre stage. <br/>'Congenial storyteller, a likeable stage presence, a lot of truth'
The Stage<br/>‘Ask her to read a train timetable and she could have her audience in stitches’.
British Theatre Guide<br/>‘Packed full of love, integrity, wit and humour.’ ****
Bath Echo <br/>‘McCloskey broaches the subjects of sexuality, family and dating in a fresh, tender and delicate manner that will leave an impression on you that is impossible to ignore.’ ****
WithinHerWords<br/>‘My Father... offers a mixture of meaningful reflections on family whilst still being able to relatably laugh at the fact your dad can't use Facebook properly.’ ****
Beth Vyse returns as Olive Hands in this work in progress show: The Hands Have It! where she finds herself running for leader of the Western world. What do we want? Hands! When do we want them? Now!
If 1 in 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, and 80% of students are going undiagnosed in schools, how many kids are being cheated out of a proper education? This juicy game-show puts our education system to the test and asks why neurodiversity is so often branded as a weakness, when it could be our biggest strength!<br/>With exams getting harder every year, coursework being removed and students being forced to produce A*s like chickens laying eggs, some kids are left feeling like failures before they’ve even begun. But not all hope is lost, Becks Turner is here to remind you that when life gives you lemons, you can make Melonade!<br/>Melonade is a fun, fierce and full-of-glitter show that tears apart the legacy of Michael Gove’s laughable education policies and celebrates the fact that no two brains are the same.<br/>Expect melons, lemons and a rigged and raucous game show that exposes the academic bias of our education system, debunking myths about “soft subjects”, empowering the dyslexic community and highlighting a need for a serious change in the way in which we educate and assess students.
A play about luck and the stories we tell about money. <br/>Natalie. 25. Life on hold. <br/>Staring at an uncertain future, she picks over a series of moments in her life – both small and significant – trying to understand when things began to fall apart.<br/>‘6/49’ sets about defining the shapeless pressure of debt on low-income families. A new play by journalist Angus Harrison, directed by Elin Schofield.
Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' meets Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.<br/>Set in a country not so far away, Colin Clutterbuck, a British diplomat is brutally arrested by the National Intelligence Agency. Thrown into a cell and accused of conspiring to overthrow the government; Colin fights back with wit and great British banter. But with the infamous master interrogator, Pacifique Muamba as his opponent, the young diplomat is about to be painfully re-educated and taken to the brink of madness.<br/>Following a sold-out NYC Premiere, Outer Gaea Company makes it Vaults Festival debut with 'The Ballerina'.
Meet the two men who wish they were your dad (but who are glad he went to prison.) A surreal fever dream of a double act filled with songs, stupidity and the sanctity of marriage. Guaranteed to erase your memories of childhood and replace them with better ones. Tom Curzon, 'charming' (Chortle.co.uk) and Luke Rollason, 'hugely entertaining' (Chortle.co.uk), are the men who make your mum happy. 'tear-inducingly funny' (The Reviews Hub). Winners: Brighton Otherplace Award. Leicester Square Sketch Off 2019, second place. Musical Comedy Awards 2019, second place. 'They could have easily won' (Bruce Dessau).
Hot off the back of total sell-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe 2016, 2017, 2018 and Soho Theatre, London; multi award-winning company Police Cops bring you their latest comedy blockbuster: Badass Be Thy Name. Gritty northern town: 1999. A kitchen sink drama turns into a vampire-slaying horror epic. Complete with a 90s rave soundtrack, supercharged physical comedy and more vampires that you can shake a stake at. Winners: Amused Moose Comedy Award 2018. ***** (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine). 'I paid £12, I would have paid £13' (Dara Ó Briain).
Kayfabe: a pro wrestling term that refers to the act of blending characters and reality, which is sometimes how it feels to be a woman. In I'm OKayfabe, two failing humans smash the lights out of each other, trying to pin down what it is to be a woman in a brilliantly crafted hour of silly, dumb fun with an exceptionally smart narrative.
As enjoyable for hardcore wrestling fans as it is for those who've only ever known WWF as the World Wildlife Fund, I'm OKayfabe offers side-splitting laughs alongside heartbreaking social commentary. Come along for a night of slams, power bombs and DDTs, guest comedian commentators and the most remarkable shooting star press ever to have been performed by a baby.
“I carried on. Day job, stand up. Stand up competition. See friends, get obliterated. Wake up in the night crying. Get up. Shower. Eat. Make up on. Go to work. Argh! The tube feels like a gauntlet. Deep breath. Dive in. Earphones in. Volume up. It’s a game, through Kings Cross, dodging the obstacles. Duck into the secret passage between the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines. One foot in front of the other.”
For Isabelle, stand up comedy is the outlet that keeps her sane in her day job but the nature of the game is to turn your life into punchlines. How can you be funny when all you’re feeling is all-consuming sadness?
“In some ways I wanted [my therapist] to come and watch me to see how FUCKING HILARIOUS I AM and in others I thought how odd it would be performing to someone who’s seen so far behind my mask. Would he even find it funny or just sit there knowing what I was hiding?”
Ellipsis explores how to deal with grief, be authentic, and still be funny.
“I’m the kid of an alcoholic. It’s coloured the way I see the world. It’s impacted every part of me. But it’s made me, me.” <br/>It’s been two years since Max's mum, Pip, got sober after nearly dying from alcoholism. She was given days to live. She lived.<br/>This is the story of her Recovery in an absurd small town in the depths of the English countryside - a place where recovering addicts gravitate to attend one of the three recovery centres it’s home to. <br/>We follow Pip from the day she leaves hospital as she attempts to stay sober through following infuriatingly complicated recycling instructions from her neighbour Graham, to reconciliations and rebuilding of relationships. Through storytelling, the characters of Pip, her neighbours (a melee of bizarre country types, each dysfunctional in their own way), her friends, family and new AA fellowship chums are brought to life.<br/>Punctuated with stories from the ‘dark days’ throughout, Recovery Town is a one-woman raucous dark scrapbook of comedic storytelling, clowning, musical comedy, illustration and standup comedy exploring the impact of alcoholism on the addict through the eyes of their daughter. <br/>Written and performed by Ella Prendergast, who has a parent in recovery, Recovery Town is based on a true story and real accounts from recovering addicts.
Come and join storytelling and music ensemble The Embers Collective for a night of stories about the most brilliant, brave and bloodthirsty MOTHERS in myth and folklore.<br/>May contain: cannibal mums, magic dolls, blessings from beyond the grave, talking skulls and terrifying curses. (But not necessarily in that order.)<br/>The Embers Collective are a storytelling, music and events group that put on intimate shows in intriguing locations, in London and beyond. They tell ancient tales with a modern twist, set within an evolving musical landscape.<br/>'Master storytellers' Time Out<br/>'Their work is joyous, immersive and moving' The Nest Collective
Two men have a fated encounter in the street. An elderly woman wants to take her own life. A holiday romance goes sour, and a PR girl tries to solve a murder. In four semi-true stories of love, death and the healing power of disco, a group of uniquely 21st century mourners deal with joy, grief and sacrifice.