Camden People’s Theatre is set to turn 25 in 2019, celebrating its trailblazing beginnings with a jam-packed programme championing new work, amplifying diverse voices and unearthing local stories. A stalwart of the London independent theatre scene since 1994, CPT has been the birthplace of some of the country’s most exciting experimental theatre, supporting artists and companies from Chris Goode to shunt and will continue to pave a way for bold new voices.
2019 will see CPT’s Artistic Director Brian Logan take centre-stage as part of The Camden Roar (7th – 25th May), a festival inspired by the untold stories unfolding in the theatre’s home borough. Human Jam, a new piece co-created and performed by Brian Logan, tells the history and future of CPT’s local park, St James’ Gardens, which has been taken over by HS2 works. It is now the site of the biggest exhumation of graves in European history, and Human Jam will explore the human impact of large-scale infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, the excavation of St James’ Gardens burial ground is to feature as part of a new BBC documentary to be released in 2019. Alongside new works from companies such as Beats and Elements (No Milk For the Foxes), The Camden Roar will also welcome a host of productions made especially for and by local residents with familiar favourites including the likes of Tom Marshman’s Kings Cross (REMIX) (21st – 25th May) about the hidden histories of LGBTQ communities in Kings Cross during the 1980s.
As well as their usual eclectic mix of festival shows and scratch performances, CPT will host three three-week runs as part of their Home Run Programme, which offers artists substantial support to develop their works-in-progress into fully realised shows. The programme includes Jennifer Tang’s Ghost Girl // Gwei Mui 鬼妹, (22nd Jan – 9th Feb) based on Jennifer’s experiences of being born to a Cantonese family and raised by a white British family, presented in partnership with Chinese Arts Now. Later in the year, Elephant in the Room (2nd – 20th April) is an explosive and unapologetic dance theatre solo exploring the mental health crisis within the working-class black community, inspired by Lanre Malaolu’s person experiences and supported by Talawa, The Place and DanceEast.
As part of their 25th birthday celebrations, Camden People’s Theatre will also be launching a brand-new membership scheme, welcoming new members to the CPT family to help support artists, with benefits including discounted tickets to shows, exclusive advance announcements and invitations to season launches. From becoming a CPT Nova (£5 per month), through to a CPT Big Bang (£21 per month), the membership scheme will support CPT in championing experimental work from scratch performance to fully-staged work.
Widely recognised for their politically playful festivals, CPT’s Calm Down, Dear returns for 2019 with a fearless and (mainly) female programme to be announced in the New Year. Previous editions launched out-there hits including Sh!t Theatre’s Woman’s Hour, Louise Orwin’s Pretty Ugly and Racheal Ofori’s So Many Reasons. Meanwhile Sprint, CPT’s annual festival of new theatre, marks its 22nd year of showcasing artists at the dawn of their careers, plus one or two old friends twisting their practice into new shapes.
Executive Director Kaya Stanley-Money said “CPT first pitched up on the corner of Hampstead Road and Drummond Street in October 1994, since then our corner of Camden has undergone significant change – change that’s now intensifying. With HS2 and the proposed new Euston Station on our doorstep – and now that we’re celebrating 25 years in the area – we want, more than ever, to champion and speak up for our vibrant, eclectic borough. Over the course of this anniversary year, we’ve squeezed in some extra-special treats alongside our usual jam-packed programme of radical performance. We’re particularly excited about The Camden Roar, which brings our local community and our trailblazing artists together through a variety of projects and programming with Camden at their beating heart. And this is just the start – there’s more to be announced and we can’t wait to celebrate our quarter century with you.”