The next two years of programming for Edward Hall's Propeller theatre company will include three brand new productions – a Shakespeare production, an hour-long version of Henry V, and Propeller's first ever new writing commission – as well as a tour of two Propeller classics to new UK and international audiences, and a revival of a third Propeller Shakespeare production.
An hour-long version of Propeller's Henry V will tour schools and theatres from September 2012. Entitled Pocket Henry V, the production will be aimed at young people, and includes an informal 40-minute post-show 'talkback' with the company. It is part of Propeller's ongoing Pocket Propeller initiative, which creates hour-long versions of the company's full-length Shakespeare productions. Previous titles have included Pocket Dream and Pocket Comedy.
Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew, which each premiered in 2006/7, will begin a UK and international tour in October 2012. The productions will be directed by Edward Hall.
The productions will tour to Coventry, Guildford, Nanterre, Norwich, Plymouth, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, Salford, Cheltenham, Canterbury, Newcastle, Sheffield, Milan, Nottingham and Madrid. Of the 15 venues, 12 are venues to which the two productions have not toured before.
Propeller's 2013/14 season will see a UK and international tour of two more Shakespeare productions – one brand-new and one revival. More details will be announced later in the year.
Alongside these productions, Propeller will present a production of their first ever new writing commission. More details to be announced later.
Propeller has also launched an annual award in memory of Jill Fraser, former artistic director of the Watermill Theatre, Newbury. The Jill Fraser Award will be open to any young actor, director, or other theatre practitioner. The winner will receive a £5,000 bursary and an opportunity to work with Propeller. The award fund comes from donations made in memory of Jill Fraser.
Edward Hall, artistic director of Propeller, said:
"Propeller grew out of just one all-male Shakespeare production of Henry V, back at the Watermill Theatre in 1997. We have stuck to that successful model ever since, and I couldn't be prouder of what we've achieved. It is important that Propeller has a repertoire of productions, hence reviving these two shows, but we want to find new audiences with the existing work, so we are touring these two, for the most part, to places where they have not been before.
"Another benefit of reviving these shows is that it also allows us to create new work in parallel, including our first ever piece of new writing, and a new Shakespeare production for 2013/14.
"Propeller is all about how we approach a show, how we treat our audience, how we bring life to the words and stories we put across, how the camaraderie of the company spreads to the people who are watching. We will always continue to do Shakespeare, and I hope that Propeller as a company will still remain synonymous with a certain exciting approach to that canon, but it's time we tried out the Propeller approach on new writing."
Propeller's 2012/13 tour sees them continue to work with The Touring Partnership, this year with the addition of a new venue – The Royal Centre, Nottingham.