Further details have been announced for KHT50 Barstools to Broadway from The Kings Head Theatre taking place from 14 – 19 February, marking the successes of the world-renowned pub theatre’s first 50 years with a series of readings of plays that started their lives there, with cast and creative teams with links to the playwrights and original shows.
The celebrations will kick off on Monday 14 February with an event at the V&A in South Kensington, including a staged reading of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Third, directed by Audrey Sheffield with leading stage and screen actor Dame Harriet Walter performing the titular role, followed by a Panel Discussion on New Women’s Theatre and Lunchtime Theatre, where Dame Harriet is joined by playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, and King’s Head Theatre co-Artistic Director and Joint CEO Hannah Price, hosted by theatre historian Susan Croft.
The Panel Discussion will be available to access online, with the play reading only accessible to the in-person audience. Tickets are available now as part of the KHT50: Barstools to Broadway Sovereign experience and will go on sale to the general public on Monday 24 January via the V&A website.
As previously announced, the readings at the Kings Head will be Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard, directed by Tim Luscombe (Tuesday 15 February at 7.00pm), Stephen Jeffreys’ Like Dolls or Angels directed by Annabel Arden (Wednesday 16 February at 7.00pm), Bryony Lavery’s Grandmother’s Steps directed by Abigail Anderson, (Thursday 17 February at 7.00pm) and with Victoria Wood’s Good Fun, directed by Annabel Leventon (Friday 18 February at 7.00pm). Full casting to be announced.
The KHT50 Barstools to Broadway celebrations will close on Saturday 19 February with a double bill reading of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens written by Janet Hood and Bill Russell and directed by Bill Russell. This special day also serves to celebrate 30 years since the original 3 King’s Head Theatre production of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, and is taking place during LGBTQIA+ month.
The King’s Head Theatre is working with The Grad Fest to cast the show. The Grad Fest is an organisation set up in 2020 as a response to the lack of professional opportunities 2020 Graduands had access to, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More information regarding The Grad Fest is available via their website https://www.thegradfest.co.uk/
Mark Ravenhill from The King’s Head said, “King’s Head Theatre are proud to be partnering with The Grad Fest for part of their KHT50: Barstools to Broadway celebration. Putting on a week of readings that reflects on the successes of the last 50 years, we feel it’s important to look forwards to the new talent entering the industry – The Grad Fest perfectly captures the essence of the future of theatre and we’re delighted to be closing the week on that note.”
Bill Russell said, “Directing the London premiere of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens at the King’s Head Theatre in 1992 with the largest cast ever to appear on that stage was one of the highlights of my career and life. The power of having 33 extraordinary performers in that intimate space was thrilling. I will treasure those memories forever and am excited to revisit the show for the 50th anniversary celebration of this historically important theatre.
Liam Gartland from The Grad Fest said, “We are thrilled to be working with The Kings Head Theatre and Bill Russell to present ‘Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens’. This will mark a special moment for The Grad Fest to be able to champion graduate voices and especially those within the queer community during LGBT history month. After the success of our ‘Beyond Proud Festival’ last year which raised funds for Schools Out UK we are very passionate about creating such a pointiate piece of theatre as part of KHT50: Barstools to Broadway.”
Founded by original Artistic Director Dan Crawford, The King’s Head Theatre opened its doors behind a pub on Upper Street in 1970. Over the last 50 years, playwrights, plays and creatives that have passed through its doors have gone onto great heights: spring-boarding them from the Fringe into the West-End, Broadway and beyond. KHT50 Barstools to Broadway celebrates the last fifty years, whilst looking forward to the next 50 years in a new purpose built 220 seat Islington theatre due to open in late 2022.
Ticket prices will range from £10 – £250, with funds going towards supporting and sustaining the theatre’s work in the future.
Co-Artistic Director Mark Ravenhill said, “It’s been fascinating to rummage in the Kings Head archives. This week of readings is a fantastic celebration of some of our best work with audiences who have fond memories of the original productions and to others who were too young to enjoy them first time around. It’s a great way to begin the process of saying goodbye to our beloved but knackered pub theatre as we prepare for our move next door to a purpose built 220 seat theatre, a space for the next generation of theatre makers who I’m hoping will have the same cultural impact as the playwrights we’re celebrating in Kings Head 50’.