This summer The Almeida Theatre annual festival hosts two innovative theatre companies whose work will encourage audiences to see the building in a new light. Over four weeks (6 - 31 July) the Almeida will present the unexpected as the theatre not only plays host to acclaimed companies but also puts the work of its Young Friends company centre-stage. In addition there will be an interactive installation, a photographic exhibition, panel discussions, workshops and a Street Party. The Festival will enable audiences to hear new and diverse theatre voices, bringing a fresh perspective to the Almeida's work.
Formed by a group of established directors, writers, actors and designers Greyscale theatre company will take over the Almeida for two weeks and turn the building into a theatre brothel. Performances of The Theatre Brothel are 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13 (signed performance), 14, 15 and 16 July at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 with concessions at £7.50.
Members of Greyscale performing at the Almeida includes Elspeth Brodie, Sean Campion, John Paul Connolly, Sandy Grierson and Scott Turnbull. They are accompanied by guest word and graphic artist Inua Ellams (produced by Fuel) and co founders of Pin the Tale Theatre Company, Susan Momoko Hingley and Emmy Sainsbury.
Performed in all manner of places in and around the Almeida, audiences are invited to buy the experience they want or maybe need! This collaboration promises to be a provocative and challenging exploration into how we engage with theatre and how our perceptions of it can be altered.
There are currently 15 members of Greyscale theatre company, formed in 2009 by Lorne Campbell and Selma Dimitrijevic. Since their inception they have produced work in partnership with Northern Stage, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Theatre Royal Bath, Arts Council England, Warwick University, Oran Mor and the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Greyscale has recently completed two critically acclaimed runs of The Theatre Brothel in Hull and Newcastle.
BELARUS FREE THEATRE
Belarus Free Theatre is a company operating under extreme conditions - each time they perform in their home of Minsk they and their audience face arrest. This underground theatre company, founded in 2005 by Natalia Koliada and Nikolai Khalezin, joins the festival to perform the UK premiere of Eurepica. Challenge. Performances are from 20, 21, 22, 23, 25 and 26 July at 7.30pm with a matinee on 23 July at 2.30pm. Tickets are £15 with concessions at £7.50.
Eurepica. Challenge. is a collection of 12 plays from 11 European countries. Welcoming you aboard Eurepica Airlines, the company will take you on an unsettling tour of their continent in the Belarus Free Theatre's inimitable style.
In 2008 the Belarus Free Theatre performed at Soho Theatre with their productions of Being Harold Pinter and Generation Jeans. Last year, Dreams, written by Natalia Koliada, formed part of Soho Theatre's Russian Festival.
There will be a post show talkback event on Friday 22 July immediately after the performance, featuring members of the creative team as well as Nikolai N. Khalezin and Natalia Koliada, Co-Founders of the Belarus Free Theatre.
In addition, there will be an accompanying foyer installation designed by Holly Waddington inspired by Eurepica. Challenge. Throughout the Festival, in the Almeida Bar, there will be a photographic exhibition comprising family portraits of Belarus political prisoners.
Eurepica. Challenge. is supported by the Eranda Foundation.
YOUNG FRIENDS OF THE ALMEIDA
Taking inspiration from this year's main productions and work with Festival artists the Young Friends of the Almeida curate their own alternative Festival for young audiences.
Young Friends of the Almeida have responded to the creative work of the Almeida's 2010/11 season and devised their own play based on their experiences. The world premiere of John Donnelly's Encourage The Others is directed by Lu Kemp. Performed by a Company of 15, Encourage The Others will have three performances on 29 July at 8pm and 30 July at 5pm and 8pm. Tickets are £10 with concessions at £7.50.
In addition, on 9 July at 2.30pm the Young Friends will present The Rashomon Effect, a performance devised with Greyscale's co Artistic Director, Selma Dimitrijevic. All tickets are £3.
For details of workshops with Inua Ellams, Pin the Tale and Belarus Free Theatre please call the Almeida Projects Department on 020 7288 4916.
To complete the Festival, The Almeida Theatre will celebrate with a Street Party on Sunday 31 July. From 1-5pm Almeida Street will be closed to traffic as the Theatre opens its doors for an afternoon of music, theatre tours, hat making workshops, face painting and a bake off judged by Jane Asher. In addition the Almeida will offer audiences a chance to take part in Changing Stages - the Almeida's first Community Play. Working with a professional creative team, local participants of a range of ages and experiences, will come together to rehearse a new play in just one hour to perform on The Almeida Theatre stage.
Photo Credit: Matt Humphrey
John Paul Connolly
Susan Momoko Hingley and Emmy Sainsbury