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Trouble in Mind | Tanya Moodie

Tanya Moodie to Reprise her role as Wiletta Mayer in Trouble in Mind

Following her widely acclaimed appearance at Theatre Royal Bath last year, Olivier Award nominated Tanya Moodie will return to Laurence Boswell’s production of Trouble in Mind when it premieres in London this September. Tanya will make her Print Room at the Coronet debut in the role of Wiletta in Alice Childress’ groundbreaking play, with previews from 14th September. Further casting will be announced in due course.

Trouble in Mind opened at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio in November 2016 to huge critical and public acclaim. Written by trailblazing 1950’s American playwright, the production tells the story of a group of African-American actors rehearsing for a Broadway production, in a theatre dominated by white men. By turns comic and dramatic, Childress’s Trouble in Mind, which has not been presented in London for over 20 years, was the first play by a black woman to be professionally produced in New York. 

Tanya Moodie said, “After the success of Trouble in Mind at the Ustinov, I am delighted to be sharing the story in London at the Print Room. I wanted to find a character’s voice on stage that articulates the challenges of transcending our limitations and realising one’s fullest creative potential. Finding Trouble in Mind, bringing it to Laurence, gathering a superb creative team and sharing Alice Childress’ play has been the most uplifting professional experience of my career. Thank you for supporting our work.”

Wiletta Mayer is a talented African-American actress who has spent a lifetime building a career in the theatre. Now she is on Broadway, rehearsing Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching play with a white director. As rehearsals progress, Wiletta finds it increasingly difficult to relate to the part she is playing. Will she be able to overcome her misgivings and let the show go on?

Tanya Moodie is a multi-award nominated actress recently recognized for her role in Fences alongside Lenny Henry; Constance in King John (The Globe) and Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Further theatre credits include The House that will not Stand (Tricycle Theatre); Intimate Apparel (Ustinov Studio); The Under RoomChairA Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky (Lyric Hammersmith); CatchACDCFewer EmergenciesIncomplete & Random Acts of Kindness (Royal Court); The OverwhelmingThe Darker Face of EarthThe Oedipus Plays (National Theatre). On screen she is known for her roles in LegacyRabbit FeverCommon, SkinsSherlockLewis, The StreetThe Clinic (Series 6 and 7); CasualtySea Of Souls and Silent Witness.

Trouble in Mind | 14 Sep – 14 Oct | http://bit.ly/2uSHSvS 

July 10, 2017

Remnants | Director’s Note: Patrick Eakin Young

Dimitri Djuric

Remnants | Director’s Note: Patrick Eakin Young

I started creating REMNANTS almost two years ago with a workshop at the Print Room investigating ghosts. I wanted to make a piece about memory and history, about the ways in which the past forces itself into the present, and the effect this haunting has on our lives.

I was born stepping out of the 20th and into the 21st Century and I have lived as much of my life on this side of the millennium as the other. Though I am at home in this new century, I feel deeply burdened by the one I have left behind. Growing up in Canada in the 1990s, I was privileged to be so far removed from the violence and traumas of the 20th Century, and yet I felt their deep vibrations beneath the surface of society. Though I had not experienced them, I felt that they had affected me nonetheless.

When I found Courtney’s memoir, The Stone Fields, it immediately resonated with me. Through the lens of one family’s story, in one corner of Europe, I felt I could see the messy cycle of history, and how we come to inherit the trauma of the past. But the true appeal of the text was Courtney herself. As a North American, I understood her. Her idiom, her accent, and a part of her experience, were my own. What’s more, I sensed in her story a similar searching, a desire to uncover the source of these uninvited ghosts.

Telling stories was fundamental to Courtney’s family, and it became fundamental to this piece. Through hours of interviews, I entered into Courtney’s world, and encountered the characters from her history that she had inherited in a similar way from her father. Listening to the recordings I made with her, I felt drawn to the ellipses, the pauses and revisions in the text, the subtle ways in which things were unsaid. That is the space of music and dance; the place where memory, trauma, love and longing reside.

Patrick Eakin Young

June 15, 2017

Babette’s Feast | Adapting Babette’s Feast: Glyn Maxwell

Babette’s Feast | Adapting Babette’s Feast: Glyn Maxwell

We are told that after his professional triumphs in Stockholm, the great opera singer Achille Papin ‘laid his way back to France round the Norwegian coast.’ This is not an implausible journey if he were visiting that country’s south-eastern shores, say Oslo or Kristiansand, but he finds himself – and the heavenly singing voice of Philippa – in the very far north, at Berlevåg, one of the last human dwellings before the Arctic, a literal end of the world. Achille Papin is indeed lost in his soul, but that’s a northward diversion of about fifteen hundred sea miles.

The traveller Karen Blixen must know, so she must not mind. Which reminds us again of the fairytale force of her storytelling: its light and confident once-upon-a-time-ness. The sisters have Three Visits – Lorens, Achille and Babette – and the last is the revelation that makes sense of the others. They live in a yellow house; their father walked upon the water; the General is haunted by the huldre; suddenly years pass. But this quality in Blixen is mixed with profound human insight, as if a tale spun by Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm had slowed down and made luminous the actual passing moments.

I have tried in the retelling to do justice to both qualities, spinning the big and little wheels of time, while letting her people sound their hearts. Babette’s Feast is the kind of crystalline story through which all readers can trace their own different paths of light. What I saw was Babette Hersant, her husband and son both slain in the carnage of 1871. To the Communards she’s a hero, to her government a terrorist, and as Paris descends into chaos the prospect of Berlevåg, a safe and peaceful haven, a welcoming fireside, must seem to Babette more fairytale than likelihood, more blind faith than sure belief. Yet she flees her home to save her life, baffles and is misunderstood by those who greet her in the far North – and yet they shelter her, welcome her, save her, and are at last rewarded beyond all expectation, on a night they could only have imagined taking place in their Heaven. It seems we dwell now in a country where open arms for the wretched can only be imagined. We had better take our Heavens where we find them.

Glyn Maxwell

 

May 15, 2017

Out of Blixen | Karen Blixen / Isak Dinesen: Paul Tickell

Out of Blixen | Karen Blixen / Isak Dinesen: Paul Tickell

All of Blixen’s stories grip you – what is going to happen next? All of them evoke an intriguing atmosphere and sense of place. Whether it’s a rough bar in a seaport, the opulent boudoir in a country mansion, or the cloistered solitude of an abbey, Blixen takes you there on her magic carpet. Many of her stories are set in the 18th and 19th century but they feel like they belong as much to dreamtime as to any historical period.

In spite of this sense of enchantment and of a parallel universe, Blixen’s gaze is detached, unflinchingly trained on the violence, eroticism and disturbed mental states which lie below the surface. Everything is presented with great, even classical control lending her prose a rationalist, 18c feel. But this very control, together with her search for the right word and her measured powers of description, allows her the license to delve all the deeper into the darkness of the human psyche.

It’s a perverse, even cruel place laid bare but echoing with laughter. Displaying irony and a wit, Blixen is like a dandy dancing over the abyss – a pierrot or clown entering the lion’s den.

It’s this sense of risk and playfulness which gives her work a very modernist sensibility. This is further reflected in the innovative form and structure of the stories. Many of them are stories-within-stories, a Chinese-box effect which plays with the reader’s sense of the real – especially when tales are told not just by one but several narrators.

The shifting tone is further enhanced by the seamless way in which Blixen weaves together mythology, folklore and the ancient story-telling traditions of the the bible and the Arabian Nights. Then there is the range of her political philosophical reference, drawing in particular on the feminism which began to emerge out of the 18th century Enlightenment.

But she also embraced what has been called the Dark Enlightenment, the revival of interest in magic, hermeticism and the occult. Her work teems with characters who are magicians and witches.

She once described herself as a witch. But she was also very aware of the tawdry, fake side of magic – reflected in all those mountebanks, charlatans and tricksters who also populate her work. There is a thin line between the artist and the con artist, between Jesus the miracle worker and Simon Magus the magician for hire. Along this thin line Blixen drives a coach and horses, all the while its occupants conveying stories to each other.

Blixen knew that as a writer she could never return to the oral tradition of story-telling. But she does evoke it, particularly the female tradition of the pre-literate storyteller in The Blank Page. Women, like their male counterparts – sailors, ploughmen and masons – would tell stories while they worked, weaving cloth and spinning yarns. Textiles and the text: they share the same etymological root, the story and the cloth, the narrator and the weaver. Blixen’s typewriter is her loom.

Paul Tickell

April 10, 2017

Babette’s Feast | Cast Announcement

Image: Hugo Glendinning

Babette’s Feast | Cast Announcement

We are delighted to announce the full casting for Glyn Maxwell’s commissioned adaptation of the much loved short story Babette’s Feast by the revered Danish storyteller Karen Blixen. Bringing their innovative style to Print Room at the Coronet, Bill Buckhurst reunites with designer Simon Kenny, following their hugely successful collaboration on “Sweeney Todd” at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop. The 2015 production transferred to the West End and is now playing off-Broadway at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre. With new music composed by Olly Fox, this world premiere, telling the story of one community’s willingness to accept a stranger in need, begins previews on 9th May.

Karen Blixen is widely recognised for the portrayal of her by Meryl Streep in the Academy Award Winning film, Out of Africa, as well Gabriel Axel’s acclaimed screen adaptation of Babette’s Feast, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Blixen wrote some of Denmark’s most-loved fiction from the 1900’s to her death in 1962, often under pseudonyms, most prolifically as Isak Dinesen who is credited as the author of Babette’s Feast. Glyn Maxwell’s new adaptation will tell the story of Martine and Philippa, two sisters living in a remote coastal village with their father, The Dean. They live pious, simple lives until Babette arrives at their door, a refugee fleeing from the French Civil War seeking sanctuary. The sisters welcome her into their home and she works as their cook, feeding the locals for many years. In a selfless act of thanksgiving, Babette creates a lavish feast for the people of the town.

Joseph Marcell, best known for his role as Geoffrey in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, makes his Print Room at the Coronet debut in the roles of The Dean and Lorens Lowenheilm. Joining Marcell on the Coronet stage, Sheila Atim, recently seen on stage in the National Theatre’s Les Blancs, will be playing the titular role of Babette. Brideshead Revisted star Diana Quick will take on the part of Martine, with her on-stage sister Philippa being played by Majorie Yates, recognised for her role in Channel 4’s Shameless. Norma Attalah, Amanda Boxer, Richard Clews, Ladi Emeruwa, Henry Everett, Whoopie Van Raam and Rachel Winters complete the cast.

Babette’s Feast | 9 May – 3 June | http://bit.ly/2glCJZH

April 7, 2017

maliphantworks | In Focus: Russell Maliphant

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maliphantworks | In Focus: Russell Maliphant

maliphantworks sees acclaimed choreographer/dancer Russell Maliphant return to the London stage having last performed at the Coliseum in July 2014 with Sylvie Guillem.

Born in Ottowa, Canada in 1961, Russell Maliphant was raised in Cheltenham and trained at the Royal Ballet School. He graduated to Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (which later became Birmingham Royal Ballet) for seven years, after which he joined Dance Advance, and left ballet altogether in 1988, pursuing a career in independent dance.

He appeared in Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men by physical theatre company DV8, and worked with companies such as Michael Clark & Company, Laurie Booth and Rosemary Butcher. While working with Booth, Maliphant met lighting designer Michael Hulls, with whom he has collaborated closely for 20 years.

Unspoken

Russell Maliphant and James de Maria in Unspoken

Maliphant created his first solo work in 1992, and founded Russell Maliphant Company in 1996. It was during the 90s that he produced works such as Shift (1996), Unspoken (also 1996) with James de Maria, and Two (1998).

In 2001, William Trevitt and Michael Nunn (The Ballet Boyz) performed the duet Critical Mass, choreographed by Maliphant in 1991, and then commissioned Torsion in 2002. This led to Broken Fall, which premiered at the Royal Opera House in December 2003 and was awarded an Olivier Award in 2003. Broken Fall marked the beginning of a collaborative relationship with Sylvie Guillem, which led to the award winning works Push and Solo.

Russell Maliphant continues to work with his own company, which acts as a creative lab for the development and presentation of new work. 2007 saw Russell Maliphant Company featured in Cast No Shadow, a new work exploring the ideas of identity and migration created in collaboration with the visual artists Isaac Julien which was presented at Sadler’s Wells and BAM in New York. In 2009, as part of the Spirit of Diaghilev programme at Sadler’s Wells, Maliphant choreographed Afterlight (Part One) for Daniel Proietto, for which he was Olivier Award-nominated in 2010. Maliphant created The Rodin Project with Sadler’s Wells in 2012 which included The Wall, a duet for Tommy Franzen and Dickson Mbi.

Russell Maliphant became an Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells in 2005 and in 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by Plymouth University.

 

maliphantworks | 28 Feb – 11 Mar | More Info

February 9, 2017

maliphantworks | Cast and Creatives Announcement

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maliphantworks | Cast and Creatives Announcement

We are delighted to announce the programme for maliphantworks, featuring world-renowned collaborators and works spanning internationally acclaimed choreographer Russell Maliphant‘s hugely celebrated 25 year career. Maliphant will make his Print Room at the Coronet debut with a site-responsive return to some of his early work, inspired by our intimate Victorian theatre.

maliphantworks will include the modern dance classic Two; Afterlight (Part One); The Wall from The Rodin Project, with stage design by Es Devlin and Unspoken. Maliphant performs in Unspoken, a duet with James de Maria, 21 years after the pair first danced the piece and marking de Maria’s return to the stage after 16 years. Daniel Proietto once again dances Afterlight (Part One), for which he received an Olivier Award nomination in 2010 and received a Critics Circle National Dance Award. The international award-winning Dana Fouras dances the electrifying Two, which Maliphant choreographed for her in 1997; Olivier Award nominee Tommy Franzen brings his eclectic dance style to The Wall duet for which he was nominated for a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award in 2013 alongside Dickson Mbi renowned for his strength and incredible popping style. With Lighting by Olivier Award winner and double Knight of Illumination Award winner Michael Hulls, projection and animation by Jan Urbanowski, costumes by Stevie Stewart and music by Andy Cowton, Alexander Zekke and Erik Satie.  

maliphantworks | 28 Feb – 11 March | http://bit.ly/2fsQNfg 

February 1, 2017

In the Depths of Dead Love | Director’s Note

In the Depths of Dead Love | Director’s Note

Theatre at present seems to be in two camps that might be called the hot and the cool. The cool is to the limits of the Brechtian; it shows the scaffolding and eschews and even despises rhetoric, even colour in the actor’s voice, as obfuscatory to plain truth. Yet theatre is metaphor by nature, and essentially and always rhetorical, so the rhetoric has to go somewhere, rather like squeezing the air in a balloon: it must pop up somewhere else, and does so, in cool theatre, in the mis-en-scene. That’s where the puff is now. This theatre can carry tremendous freshness and revelation.

‘Hot’ theatre still allows for the actor’s art, doesn’t mistrust it as an axiom and confronts its potential byways into sentimentality or ‘acting’, and still aims to find truth, but without neutering the proper truth-filled sound-information excitements in our inheritance of Shakespeare and the Jacobeans. Barker long ago saw the opening up of this false division between truth and rhetoric.

It seems to me that his purpose is to have both hot and cool burners on at once.

The architecture of his rhythms and cadences – its sinews, and his character’s need to create and investigate their own identity, in a sense makes themselves their own continuous metatext. This is coupled by Barker’s immaculate sense of logical – and illogical – structure. This was the singular and modernising project pursued by Barker’s own company The Wrestling School.

In In the Depths of Dead Love, Thanatos – the irresistible death drive – is, as often, in combination with Eros. Both lead us towards the desire for transcendence. The dark encounter of the three main protagonists of this fable, predicated on the promise of the bottomless well to would-be suicides, is an entwined, subtle, and complex composition of strategies and desires. It’s clear that at least one of these protagonists has come to have a nausea of existence, but perhaps all three have. Far from hopelessness, it has given them need, and when need and possibilities combine a different transcendence offers itself.

The well master breaks his own advice not to ‘debate… encouraging, discouraging ‘have you considered this,’ ‘see it from another side,’ etcetera’ but rather to ‘imitate the well / it’s wide / wide open mouth / from which / oh / heavenly ambiguity / … no opinion ever eminates /’.

The well master intervenes.

‘Whereas the tragic protagonist has abolished hope in himself, he is not without inspiration. This inspiration is born out of the last remnant of his naivety – the conviction that at least death cannot be the world repeated…’ Barker, “Death, the One and the Art of Theatre.”

Gerrard McArthur

January 23, 2017

Spring 2017 Season

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Spring 2017 Season

Our Artistic Director Anda Winters today announces Print Room at the Coronet’s Spring / Summer 2017 programme, featuring four world premieres. Seminal British playwright Howard Barker will open the season. Three of the works are being created especially for the space, including Russell Maliphant’s site-inspired return to his early choreography and two specially commissioned works: Erratica’s Remnants and dramatist Glyn Maxwell’s new adaptation of Babette’s Feast. The renowned Kathryn Hunter is devising and starring in a second Blixen project, Out of Blixen. World renowned film and theatre composer Jocelyn Pook completes the programme with her mixed-media work Hearing Voices. This season reinforces our commitment to producing and presenting a varied and bold repertoire of work.

Anda said of the programme, “It’s hugely inspiring to be working with such a rich mixture of artists, emerging and established. Many of them — Kathryn Hunter, Howard Barker, Russell Maliphant, Glyn Maxwell and Jocelyn Pook — I have admired for years. Importantly, we are delighted to be introducing some of our more recent discoveries, Erratica and Riotous Company. This newer generation of theatre makers reassures us of the continuing vitality and diversity of theatre.”       

Coinciding with the announcement of the new season, Princess Eugenie of York was today announced as Royal Patron of Print Room at the Coronet in Notting Hill Gate, celebrating the re-opening of the Coronet as a theatre and art space for Kensington and across London.

The fifth season of work for the company commences in January, opening with the world premiere of In the Depths of Dead Love (16 January – 11 February) a dark new comedy from Howard Barker telling the story of an exiled poet who scrapes a living by renting out a bottomless well to suicidal locals. Howard Barker has worked closely with Print Room at the Coronet whilst developing this production, his first new work in five years. An extract was first presented in 2013 during Screaming in Advance, a two-day festival of readings from Barker which took place at Print Room, the venue also produced Lot and His God in 2012. The production will be directed by Barker’s long-term collaborator Gerrard McArthur, with casting to be announced.

maliphantworks (28 February – 11 March) will see award-winning choreographer, Russell Maliphant, curate an evening of intimate works tailored for the Coronet’s stage.  Featuring past and present international collaborators, Maliphant will bring some of his early choreography to this beautiful West London stage. Russell Maliphant is an Associate Artists of Sadler’s Wells and has received many of the highest theatrical accolades during his career, including an Olivier Award, two South Bank Show Awards and three Critics’ Circle Awards. This production will see the Print Room at the Coronet cement itself as a stage for presenting contemporary dance.

Out Of Blixen (3 – 22 April) by Riotous Company will receive its world premiere at Print Room at the Coronet. Inspired by the life and writings of the Danish author Karen Blixen, (known to many as the heroine of Out of Africa), this production will be directed by the award-winning Kathryn Hunter. This will be the second time Print Room at the Coronet and Riotous Company have worked together, having staged Scherzo for Piano and Stick earlier this year. Developed with the Print Room through 2016, this production is devised and performed by Kathryn Hunter, Nikola KodjabashiaMarcello Magni and Mia Theil Have, with dramaturgy by Paul Tickell, original music and sound design by Nikola Kodjabashia and design by Luis F. Carvalho.

Following on from this story of Karen Blixen’s life, Print Room at the Coronet will present a new telling of Blixen’s much-loved short story Babette’s Feast (8 May – 3 June). This world premiere of Glyn Maxwell’s commissioned stage adaptation will see the creative team behind Tooting Arts Club’s sensational Sweeney Todd in a pie shop reunite with Bill Buckhurst directing. Babette’s Feast tells the tale of Babette Hersant, a refugee from revolutionary Paris who throws a heavenly banquet to express her gratitude to the remote Norwegian village that gave her solace. Babette’s Feast was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1987 and has continued to delight readers and audiences across the globe. 2017 marks 55 years since Blixen’s death. Print Room at the Coronet will celebrate the author’s legacy in a typically innovative style.

Remnants (12 June – 1 July) from Erratica is an electro-folk opera based on a memoir by Courtney Angela Brkic telling the story of one woman’s encounter with the aftermath of war crimes at Srebrenica, and her family’s connections to the Holocaust in Bosnia 50 years before. Patrick Eakin Young will direct this tale of memory, family and the trauma that passes between generations, with performances from four singers and a dancer. Having been in workshops at Print Room at the Coronet earlier this year, the production mixes Balkan folk songs with original vocal arrangements and compositions by award winning composer Christian Mason and electronic soundscapes by DJ and installation artist Shelley Parker. Juxtaposing voices from the past with deep bass electronics, this original score evokes the pain of history and the secrets that lie beneath the ground. 

Hearing Voices (12-15 July) by composer Jocelyn Pook, directed by Emma Bernard, combines the testimony of Pook’s great aunt, who spent much of her life in an asylum, with that of four other women diagnosed with mental illness; artists Bobby Baker and Julie McNamara; Mary Pook, another of Jocelyn’s relatives; and seamstress Agnes Richter, who stitched cryptic texts into a jacket she wore in a German asylum at the turn of the last century. Singer Melanie Pappenheim duets live with recordings of the women’s words, protests and laughter and striking visuals from Dragan Aleksic. Accompanying visual art installations, by Dragan Aleksic, will appear in Studio in addition to the live performance.

Poetry at the Print Room will continue to run throughout the season with dates to be announced in due course.

November 24, 2016

The Tempest | On Cannibals

The Tempest | On Cannibals

From Michel de Montaigne, The Essays, Translated by John Florio

Shakespeare was a keen reader of Florio’s Montaigne. This extract from “On Cannibals” reappears in dramatic form in the musings of Gonzalo on an ideal society:

All our endeavours or wit cannot so much as reach to represent the nest of the least birdlet, its contexture, beauty, profit, and use, no, nor the web of a silly spider. ‘All things’, saith Plato, ‘are produced either by nature, by fortune, or by art. The greatest and fairest by one or other of the two first, the least and imperfect by the last.’

Those nations seem therefore so barbarous unto me because they have received very little fashion from human wit, and are yet near their original naturality. The laws of nature do yet command them, which are but little bastardized by ours. And that with such purity as I am sometimes grieved the knowledge of it came no sooner to light at what time there were men that better than we could have judge it. I am sorry Lycurgus and Plato had it not, for meseemeth that what in those nations we see by experience doth not only exceed all the pictures wherewith licentious poesy hath proudly embellished the golden age and all her quaint inventions to feign a happy condition of man, but also the conception and desire of philosophy. They could not imagine a society might be maintained with so little art and human combination. It is a nation, would I answer Plato, that hath no kind of traffic, no knowledge of letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate nor of politic superiority, no use of service, of riches or poverty, no contracts, no successions, no dividences, no occupation but idle, no respect of kindred but common, no apparel but natural, no manuring of lands, no use of wine, corn or metal. The very words that import lying, falsehood, treason, dissimulation, covetousness, envy, detraction, and pardon were never heard of amongst them. How dissonant would he find his imaginary commonwealth from this perfection?