Arcola Theatre has announced the new shows in their 2023/24 Autumn/Winter season. Audiences can expect a range of new and re-discovered work from a diverse mix of UK and international writers. Certain shows are taking part in a multi-buy offer which runs until 31st December 2023* where tickets for 2-4 shows can be purchased at the same time for a discounted price.
Next year will begin in January Studio 1 with a re-discovered classic from Offie winning Two’s Company. Don’t Destroy Me is the 1956 debut from pioneering Jewish writer Michael Hastings (Tom and Viv, Lee Harvey Oswald, The Emperor) about Jewish refugees in post-war London directed by Tricia Thorns.
An Arcola co-production with Run At It Shouting follows in February with When You Pass Over My Tomb. Playwright Sergio Blanco, the most performed Spanish playwright in the world, and director Daniel Goldman return to the theatre after the success of their critically acclaimed Offie award winning productions of Thebes Land and The Rage of Narcissus for a story of love and lust beyond the grave.
Creative Works will take to the stage in March with The Improvised Play which will leave the show’s theme entirely up to the audience each night. Two of the UK’s most experienced and hilarious improvisers Lola-Rose Maxell (Starstruck, The Now Show, They Seem Nice) and Charlie Kemp (White Gold, Man Down, Austentatious) lead the cast.
A lesser explored classic follows in April with a production of Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo from Boy Next Door Productions. Directed by Eduardo Barreto, this is the play Williams called his ‘love-play to the world’ and looks at hope and love in a Sicilian-American community on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.
The UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s The Book of Grace opens in May directed by Femi Elufowoju jr. (The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives). This visceral family portrait set on the Texas-Mexico border reveals a divided nation and gains timely new resonance from its 2010 debut as the world watches its own borders.
Finally in Studio 1, the winner of the 2023 Papatango New Writing Prize, Some Demon by Laura Waldren from Olivier Award-winning Papatango Theatre Company begins in June. Sam and Zoe are thrown together in an eating disorder unit and form a complicated bond threatened by the arrival of a new patient in this powerful and compassionate piece.
Over in Studio 2, to round out 2023, We Light Up The House present Protest Song by Tim Price. This alternative Christmas tale follows Danny who bonds with a group of protestors while sleeping rough. Inspired by real-life events, this funny, savage solo play questions society’s norms and how we can change them.
January kicks off with hit Edinburgh Fringe show Spin from 3 Hearts Canvas. Written by Kate Sumpter and directed by Sarah Jane Schostack, this solo show is darkly comedic takedown of a capitalist society obsessed with attaching morality to our bodies – all performed on a spin bike. Also in January, Rachel Thomas presents The Last One by Zoe Alker and directed by Imy Wyatt Corner, following 24-year-old Bess Malone as she navigates the impact of climate change and grief in her coastal hometown.
Late January and into February. Lightbox Theatre Company presents Broken Water. Written by Michèle Winstanley and directed by Nicola Samer, this acclaimed piece traces three women’s experiences of motherhood. Developed at Arcola as part of the 2014 Playwrought Festival, the play was shortlisted for the 2013 Verity Bargate Award and the 2017 Nick Darke Award
Pleasance theatre will bring Land of Lost Content by Henry Madd to the Arcola in late February. Directed by Nic Connaughton, this compassionate, funny and deeply moving play follows a friendship from adolescence to adulthood in a small town.
The first play from innovative acting studio Actors East Theatre, Casserole will begin in March. Developed over five years of improvisational workshops, this blisteringly funny and emotionally raw play looks at how grief causes people to hide from each other in a relationship. Created by Kate Kelly Flood (Dear England, I hate Suzie), Dom Morgan and James Alexandrou (Eastenders, Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare’s Globe) who also directs.
Another Edinburgh Fringe hit will take to the Arcola stage in April. Life with Oscar is written and performed by Nick Cohen who plays 29 characters from his time trying to make it big in Hollywood, which is directed by Nicholas Pitt. Also in April is the unique solo musical What (Is) A Woman by Andrée Bernard and directed by Michael Strassen. Set over four decades, this original solo musical is a woman’s story of love, laughter and what it is to be a woman in the modern day.
In May, Collide Theatre in partnership with Elizabeth Filippouli and in association with Arcola Theatre will present A Thousand Ships. Based on Natalie Hayne’s 2019 groundbreaking novel, this adaptation by Quentin Beroud and Emily Louizou and directed by Emily Louizou, retells the mythology of the Trojan war from the perspective of the women involved.
In June, Surrender is the result of a collaboration between Writer Sophie Swithinbank and Director/Performer Phoebe Ladenburg. Mother is in prison. Daughter has come to visit. Closely watched by security personnel, they have 45 minutes. A trained actor, and quick-witted, Mother tries to keep things light… but the darkness rises up around them as they are forced to confront the disorienting series of events that led them here.
Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen said: “We’re really looking forward to this new season of theatre at Arcola. It features a diverse range of productions, from here at home in the UK and overseas, with artists assembling from across the globe. Get ready for a radical season of trailblazing theatre that tackles topics as far ranging as you can imagine.”