New plays to premiere at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre in new season

New plays by Michael Southan, Karla Marie Sweet and Tom Wright are among premieres announced as part of the autumn/winter season at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry

Belgrade Theatre
Artwork for Kerbs, SeaView, This Little Relic and The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

New plays are set to have their world premieres as part of the autumn/winter season at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre.

It has announced that it will stage Michael Southan’s debut play, Kerbs, in association with Graeae Theatre Company, which places Deaf and disabled actors centre stage, from 26 February 2022 to 5 March as part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

It tells the story of Lucy and David whose much-needed holiday is plagued by problems including broken toilets, patronising staff and Lucy’s constantly interfering mum. Exploring taboos around sex, romance and disability, it will be directed by Nickie Miles-Wildin.

This Little Relic, written by Karla Marie Sweet, will have its world premiere on 24 September 2021 as part of the BBC’s Contains Strong Language Festival which runs from 28 August to 26 September. The new play will then run in the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium from 29 September to 2 October 2021.

It is described as a “metaplay” about love, friendship and regeneration, based around a modern performance of The Black Doctor – a play that African-American actor Ira Aldridge adapted and brought to the London stage in 1847.

In a community centre in Coventry, a rebellion is rising. Mr Sims is determined to produce the perfect version of The Black Doctor but music-loving teenagers Alex and Ajay are preparing for an opening-night upset.

Dogged by violent dreams, Mr Sims knows the community centre is at risk of being torn down and, under mounting pressure, decides everything is riding on this performance going well. If it does, it just may prove the community centre is worth saving.

Meanwhile, Ajay’s mother Prabhleen discovers a familiar face is behind the demolition plans, leading her to confront an old secret that will undoubtedly have huge consequences – particularly for her blossoming romance with Mr Sims.

It is directed by Justine Themen, one of the Belgrade’s three co-artistic directors for 2021. The first performance will be recorded and later broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

From 9 to 12 February 2022, queer playwright Tom Wright brings the premiere of his hard-hitting and hilarious new play, I Ain’t Dumb, to his hometown of Coventry. It sees a tough inner-city school, proud of its inclusivity, suddenly explode in a rapidly escalating culture war.

Also announced today is the world premiere of SeaView, a digital TV series in partnership with Strictly Arts Theatre Company, based on an original idea by Corey Campbell, another of the Belgrade’s co-artistic directors for 2021.

The ground-breaking family drama with a supernatural element follows two sides of one family as they struggle to escape the often brutal reality of their lives. It will be launched with a screening in the main house on 10 November 2021, with the first three episodes of the six-part series screened at the Belgrade every day from 11 to 13 November.

The Belgrade’s autumn/winter season also features a variety of previously announced shows including the touring productions of musical Dirty Dancing and Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong as well as Simon Callow’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring David Bradley.

Other previously announced highlights include a new musical The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency, co-produced with Cardboard Citizens, for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, running from 9 to 16 October 2021.

Mandala Theatre Company and Oxford Playhouse present Avaes Mohammad’s new play, Though This Be Madness, at the Belgrade from 20 to 22 October 2021. Directed by Yasmin Sidhwa, it unravels what is happening to young people in relation to education, exclusion, gang grooming and too often, a pipeline to prison.

The Why? Event takes place on 8 October 2021, an exploration of why people stay in domestic abuse relationships, delivered in a creative and unique way using dramatisations, spoken word and dance.

Other tours coming to the Belgrade include Agatha Christie’s classic crime story And Then There Were None, from 7 to 12 February 2022, and the stage adaptation of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code from 22 to 26 February 2022.

The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe arrives in Coventry on 3 November 2021. Written and directed by Elton Townend Jones and performed by Lizzie Wort, it reveals the story of the Hollywood star’s life.

Actor and theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall, with Dibby Theatre, presents his touring play, First Time, on 6 November 2021. The hit autobiographical show explores what it’s like growing up HIV positive in a negative world.

belgrade.co.uk

About Mark Ludmon 237 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on 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 has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.