The Artistic Director of Next Stage Theatre Company, Ann Ellison BEM, has announced the varied and exciting programme of plays which the company is planning to stage throughout 2020.
First up is Collaborators by John Hodge, Tuesday 21st - Saturday 25th January, a black-comedy set in Stalin’s Russia. It is a "surreal fantasy" based on a relationship between two historical figures, Mikhali Bulgakov, the prominent Russian writer, and Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union. The play takes place from 1938-1940, when Stalin was implementing the Great Purge in which several million people were exiled, imprisoned, or executed. In the play Bulgakov inadvertently becomes involved in issuing the orders which bring about the Purge.
A large cast directed by Bob Constantine will make sure that this entertaining piece - a Bath premiere - is the perfect antidote for any post-Christmas blues.
The company will be staging The Memory Of Water by Shelagh Stephenson, Tuesday 24th - Saturday 28th March. The play won an Olivier Award for ‘Best Comedy’ and sees three sisters meeting on the eve of their mother’s funeral. With witty and funny dialogue, Stephenson explores sibling love and rivalry and the transitory and personal nature of ‘memory’. Director Ann Ellison will be staging this production in-the-round.
Tuesday 16th - Saturday 20th June Next Stage will be presenting Arrivals and Departures by Alan Ayckbourn. A large cast will stage this powerful piece in promenade layout which will draw audiences into the railway station setting of this unusual and compelling Ayckbourn drama. Arrivals and Departures will be directed by Ann Ellison who says: ‘In my opinion this is one of Ayckbourn’s best pieces, dealing with personalities and themes that linger in the audience’s mind long after the play has ended.’
Kicking off the Autumn season Tuesday 7th - Saturday 12th September is The Sweet Science of Bruising by Joy Wilkinson . This production brings on board a new director for the company. Caroline Groom is well known to regular Next Stage audiences for her on-stage presence and now we are delighted that she is using her considerable theatrical knowledge to bring this intriguing play to The Mission Theatre. Based on the true story of Victorian ladies who ventured into the male-dominated world of boxing, the play offers pertinent insights into feminism and empowerment. Staged in-the-round, this is a Bath premiere.
Rounding off a year of the kind of memorable 20th and 21st century drama productions, for which Next Stage is famous, is the company’s staging of The Hothouse by Harold Pinter, Tuesday 1st - Saturday 5th December. This Pinter classic - a black-comedy set on Christmas day in an ‘institution’ (the exact nature of which remains dubious) - brings Pinter’s sharp and observant dialogue, ambiguous story lines and chilling undercurrents of menace and tension, to the intimacy of The Mission Theatre under the sure-handed direction of Bob Constantine.
A great year ahead for all drama-lovers and a programme of plays which should delight all theatre-goers.