The Playground Theatre reopens with mini season

A new play about Einstein starring Michelle Collins features as part of the re-opening season of London’s Playground Theatre

Playground Theatre London

The Playground Theatre in west London is to reopen next week with a mini season that includes a new play about Einstein starring Michelle Collins and a show telling Shylock’s story.

The venue in North Kensington has announced a programme of theatre, comedy and music from 17 May onwards which puts “play and experimentation at its heart”. Social distancing measures will be in place.

It opens on 17 May with the third annual RebelFest, an eclectic celebration of individuality featuring a one-man War and Peace by Jack Klaff, singers Jaz Delorean and Susan Harriott, character comedians Siblings, guitarist and composer Robin Katz, and other guests.

On 24 and 25 May, it will present a staged reading of James McManus’s new play, Einstein and Me, which imagines a meeting of the greatest minds of the 20th century, Albert Einstein (played by Jack Klaff) and his protégé Kurt Gödel. Their conflict is mirrored by the formidable women in their lives, Einstein’s secretary, played by Amanda Waggott, and Gödel’s wife Adele, played by Michelle Collins, best known for EastEnders and Coronation Street. It is directed by Jolley Gosnold.

Before that on 21 and 22 May, Shakespeare’s most controversial character from The Merchant of Venice will be brought to life in the award-winning and internationally acclaimed one-man show, Shylock, written and performed by Gareth Armstrong. Directed by Frank Barrie, it has toured in over 50 countries.

Comedian Jenny Éclair will preview her latest work-in-progress on 26 and 27 May, confronting a new decade of decrepitude in an honest conversation about turning 60.

The Playground will also host the Sharing Shakespeare Summer School, a week-long series of theatre courses from 14 to 19 June, inviting actors, directors, students and Shakespeare enthusiasts to explore some of his works. It will be led by top practitioners including renowned director Lucy Bailey, Royal Shakespeare Company voice coach Michael Corbidge, actor and director Philip Cumbus and musician Sarah Sayeed.

Co-artistic director Anthony Biggs said: “We are thrilled to invite audiences back into The Playground to share in the collective joy and wonder of live performances once again. This diverse mini-season represents everything we are about: projects from all stages of the creative process, from initial concepts to fully-realised productions.

“After such a challenging year and at a time of such momentous upheaval for the arts, we remain deeply committed to serving as a haven for artists and our community to come together to re-engage, heal, and recover. Now is the time to lean into our shared sense of humanity in the spirit of creative cooperation and play.”

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About Mark Ludmon 248 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.