Arcola Theatre to reopen with new Barney Norris play

Last Updated on 26 January 2022 by Showcall Editorial Team

Barney Norris’ new play, We Started to Sing, will have its world premiere when London’s Arcola Theatre reopens

We Started to Sing
Artwork for Barney Norris’ We Started to Sing at Arcola Theatre

Arcola Theatre in north-east London is reopening in March with the world premiere of Barney Norris’ new play, We Started to Sing.

Running from 19 May to 18 June 2022, it tells the story of a family that has spread across the country. The “chord” they once made together starts to fray so how will the distance growing between them change the music of their lives?

Norris, who is also directing the production, has described his new play as “a love song to the people who raised him, and a hymn to the bravery of our brief lives”.

It will be the first show inside the Arcola since the theatre shut at the start of the global pandemic nearly two years ago. Last summer, it ran a season in its purpose-built outdoor space, Arcola Outside.

The new production, which has its opening night on 23 March, is the first in a new season that will be announced shortly. The Arcola is also planning more outside programming, including the return of Arcola Outside, as well as the return of opera festival Grimeborn in August in Studio 1.

We Started to Sing sees Norris continue his collaboration with the Arcola, where his previous plays, Visitors and Eventide, were staged. His other plays include Nightfall at London’s Bridge Theatre and While We’re Here at London’s Bush Theatre.

Norris said: “This is a play about family and home, and I am fortunate to be able to make it with the Arcola, who have made me feel part of the family ever since they let me stage my first play, Visitors, there.

“It was at the Arcola that I first started trying to write plays out of love, in order to connect audiences with what they love in their own lives. We Started to Sing is an attempt to come home to that idea, and welcome audiences back from the isolation of the last few years. I am happy to be home.”

Mehmet Ergen, artistic director of Arcola Theatre, said: “We are delighted to reopen our much-loved indoor space this spring with We Started to Sing. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to a place so many regard as home.

“Seven years after making his name at Arcola with Visitors and Eventide, Barney Norris’ autobiographical new play about family and memory, seems like the perfect way to bring our audiences back to celebrate our past and imagine our future together.”

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.