- A regional premiere by an acclaimed Romford playwright, a landmark revival of an epic British musical and the second major production of a new comedy
- A new two year programme of work, Essex On Stage
- A partnership with the National Theatre on the next Public Acts production, As You Like It
The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has today announced its exciting spring programme of produced work will feature a regional premiere by an acclaimed Romford playwright, a landmark revival of an epic British musical and the second major production of a new comedy.
The season opens with the sequin-studded Kiss Me Quickstep by Amanda Whittington, playing from 22 February – 9 March. The Queen’s Theatre is co-producing this warm hearted ballroom drama with the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich (13 – 23 March), following successful collaborations on Once, Rope, The Ladykillers, Worst Wedding Ever and Made in Dagenham. The production will also tour to Theatr Clwyd (26 – 30 March); the first time the Queen’s Theatre has worked with this major theatre.
Amanda Whittington says, ‘I’m delighted Kiss Me Quickstep will be dancing into the Queen’s Theatre next year. The show pulls back the glitter curtain on competitive dance, revealing what it takes to make a ballroom champion, on and off the floor. I can’t wait to see the new production hot-footing across the country, too.’
From 14 – 30 March, the Queen’s Theatre is producing the regional premiere of the sharply funny comedy In Basildon by Romford playwright David Eldridge. The theatre is excited to be bringing this explosively knotty drama home to its roots after its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012. The production will be directed by Douglas Rintoul, Artistic Director at the Queen’s Theatre.
The Queen’s Theatre is partnering with both Hull Truck Theatre and Oldham Coliseum Theatre for the first time to produce a landmark revival of the award-winning musical The Hired Man by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall. This heroic tale of love, betrayal and loyalty will run at the Hornchurch venue from 27 April – 18 May, in Hull from 23 May – 15 June and in Oldham from 20 June – 6 July.
Howard Goodall says, ‘I am absolutely thrilled about this revival: three brilliant regional theatres, a wonderful creative team and a chance for a new generation of theatre-goers to see this piece that Melvyn Bragg and I first put in front of an audience 45 years ago.’
Theatregoers can enjoy all three of these productions with a cost-effective Jump the Q season ticket from £45, that’s just £15 per show! (A £1.95 QNew Transformation Fee will apply to each season ticket). The season ticket goes on sale from Thursday 25 October and individual tickets can be purchased from Friday 2 November.
Essex on Stage is an ambitious new two year programme led by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, championing positive notions of Essex, celebrating theatre made by working class people and raising aspirations for emerging artists from Essex and Outer East London. It includes commissioning new plays, establishing a network of venues, touring drama about Essex across Essex for new audiences, organising local events to develop talent and making life changing projects with communities.
The programme will kick off with the regional premiere of David Eldridge’s In Basildon in March 2019, never before performed professionally in the part of the world it tells the story of. Alongside this will be rehearsed readings of new plays in development from three exciting Essex playwrights – Sadie Hasler, Kelly Jones and Dan Murphy – which you can hear in one day on Saturday 23 March.
About her play, Slaying the Essex Girl (working title), Sadie Hasler says, ‘what happens when a toffy London type decides to write a newspaper piece about Essex girls and gets it all wrong? Revolt, that’s what. Seriously. Things really kick off.’
Set in Dagenham, Kelly Jones’ TAMMY is a play about female sexuality, family secrets and the fractured relationship between mother and daughter. The play won the Wales Drama Award (BBC Writersroom and NTW) in 2014.
Dan Murphy’s Legacy follows a group of builders working on the 20th floor of a luxury apartment block in Stratford, overlooking the Olympic Stadium on ‘Super Saturday’ 2012. As the world is glued to Britain’s greatest sporting day, the builders watch on as the place they call home becomes unrecognisable.
Essex on Stage has been made possible by the generous support of The Clothworkers’ Foundation. Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is the recipient of the 2018 Clothworkers’ Theatre Award, a competitive annual prize given to a regional producing theatre, that has only ever been awarded 5 times.
David Eldridge says, ‘I am delighted that the first revival of In Basildon is being mounted in Essex at my local theatre and this spring is a fascinating and momentous time for Douglas Rintoul to revive my family comedy drama, as we Brexit. It will be nearly nine years on from Len’s passing and when Barry, Maureen, Ken and Doreen and the rest of the family were beginning to argue over cuts and immigration from Europe, West Ham United and the small matter of Len’s will as they gather in Basildon. The Queen’s Theatre occupies a special place in my heart. It is where I did my experience aged 18, and it’s where I was the late Bob Carlton’s Literary Associate for six years, running the theatre’s writers’ groups and advising on new work for the program. I can’t wait to be back with a play of my own.’
Following the success of Pericles in the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre this summer, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul will direct next year’s Public Acts production As You Like It in a musical adaptation first seen at the Delacorte Theater, New York, in 2017 as part of The Public Theater’s Public Works programme. Performances will take place at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 24 – 27 August.
This version of As You Like It is by Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery and Shaina Taub, featuring music and lyrics by Taub, and set and costume design by Hayley Grindle. The score is infectious, with sounds ranging from calypso to pop, Broadway musical to soul. Collaborating with Douglas on this production will be Pericles director Emily Lim who assumes the role of Public Acts Director for the National Theatre.
Other key highlights
The Queen’s Theatre is also producing DNA by Dennis Kelly (7 – 14 February), a dark modern day black comedy tailored specifically for young people. Under Douglas Rintoul’s direction, DNA will be performed by final year students from the BA (Hons) Acting CDT course from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
The theatre has also unveiled a selection of key visiting productions for this season. Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree, a new contemporary production for children aged 7+ by Tara Arts and Polka Theatre (25 – 26 January); Approaching Empty, a razor-sharp new drama produced by Tamasha, Kiln Theatre & Live Theatre (2 – 6 April) and the extraordinary new hip-hop family musical, In The Willows, produced by Metta Theatre and Exeter Northcott Theatre (22 – 26 May).
Members of the Queen’s Theatre’s Young Company will be participating for their sixth year in NT Connections 2019 with Chaos by Laura Lomas, directed by Will Hudson. The theatre’s Take Part Festival also returns for its second year (14 – 19 April) featuring fantastic work performed by its youth theatre and other local groups. The week will comprise of its annual dance showcase First Feat, a One Act Play Festival and six youth companies presenting brand new work as part of the national NT Connections Festival 2019.