The Carriageworks has launched its spring season, featuring some of the countries’ best new touring productions.
Big-name shows include A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson (30 Mar), starring Ian Redford, best known for his role as Keith Appleyard in Coronation Street and appearances at the National Theatre, the Old Vic and Shakespeare’s Globe.
The new play is produced by Out of Joint and directed by Max Stafford-Clark, who has directed productions at the National Theatre, RSC and the Royal Court. A charming two-hander, the evening brings to life one of the most colourful figures of the Eighteenth Century.
Other touring shows include multi-award winning company The Kosh with The Storeroom (Wed 9 Feb), a dark, daring and dazzling cabaret in which murder mystery and a femme fatale mingle in a potent cocktail of theatre and physical adventure. Michael Pinchbeck’s The Post-Show Party Show (Fri 1 Apr) sees the performance artist take his parents on tour to re-create the party where they met after an amateur dramatic production of The Sound of Music.
Indigo Entertainment’s My Darling Clemmie (Wed 13 Apr) is the moving story of the woman who married Sir Winston Churchill, written by Hugh Whitehouse, winner of an Emmy and a broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Television Drama. The Stage’s Best Actor-nominated George Dillon also presents a virtuoso re-telling of The Gospel of Matthew (Fri 15 Apr).
Leeds-based multi-award winning The Paper Birds return with Others (Wed 2 & Thur 3 March), following their 2010 sell-out success of In A Thousand Pieces. Their new performance is based on a six-month exchange of letters with prisoners, a celebrity and an Iranian artist. The National Theatre will co-produce their next show.
University of Leeds graduates The Plasticine Men’s new show Keepers (Tues 8 Mar) won a Three Weeks Editor’s Award and was nominated for a Total Theatre Award and Stage Award for Best Ensemble. Based on a true story, the show is stripped-down physical storytelling, conjuring up the confines of the infamous Smalls Lighthouse and the stormy companionship of its two keepers.
Bradford-based Mind the Gap will be taking Mike Kenny’s highly acclaimed adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men on the road (Tues 29 Mar), winner of the Barclays/TMA Stage Award for Outstanding Achievement in Regional Theatre. And Fuzzy Logic is a new Leeds company co-founded by Total Theatre Award-winner Matt Rogers (Chotto Ookii Theatre Company) to create bizarre yet touchingly human stories with a darkly comic edge – like their new show, Optimism (Tues 12 Apr).
Future talent is also being pushed to the fore in the new run. The development of The Dreams of Philomina (Sat 29 Jan) by Naomi Rothwell with Beth Caudle has been supported by The Emerge Festival and The Carriageworks Theatre, with this talented young artist being given a grant towards production costs, rehearsal space and mentoring by industry professionals. Combining storytelling, puppetry and live music, this heart-warming new show asks what you would say if you could speak to the person you loved one last time.
For family audiences, Ready Steady Science will be presenting Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show (Wed 2 & Thur 3 Feb) in a new scientifically and historically accurate pantomime performed by Simon Watt, presenter of the hugely successful Channel 4 series Inside Nature’s Giants, and directed by Daniel Rollings of Slung Low.
Blunderbus Theatre’s version of hit kids’ book Elmer the Elephant (Thur 24 Feb) is joined by a return visit from Lyngo Theatre with Room in the Sky (Mon 21 & Tues 22 Feb) and Horse & Bamboo Theatre Co. with Storm in a Teacup (Tues 22 Feb), which is followed by a free puppet workshop.
The season is rounded off by one of The Carriageworks’ strongest-ever comedy line-ups, with top name stars including Miles Jupp (Thur 3 Feb), Russell Kane/b> (Sat 26 Feb), Tim Key (Tues 1 Mar) and Jenny Éclair (Sat 5 Mar).
Martin McInulty, general manager at The Carriageworks, said: "I’m incredibly excited about the diverse season we’ve managed to put together this spring. It’s particularly great to see so much Yorkshire-based talent coming to the fore, whether it’s more established companies like Paper Birds and Mind the Gap or relative newcomers like Naomi Rothwell and the Plasticine Men. Leeds is growing as a destination for great theatre and we’re proud to be at the heart of the action.”
For further information about The Carriageworks visit www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk