Christopher Haydon reveals his first season as artistic director at the Rose Theatre in south London including new plays by Alys Metcalf and Colin Teevan and Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Rose Theatre in Kingston upon Thames has revealed its new season with five original productions including two world premieres and a new version of one of Brecht’s masterpieces.
Due begin at the start of September, it is the first season under the south London theatre’s artistic director, Christopher Haydon who was appointed in January 2020. It also features touring shows including Six the Musical.
The five “Rose Originals” are a mix of new plays tackling significant contemporary issues and well-known titles reinvented for today. They include Leopards by Alys Metcalf, The Seven Pomegranate Seeds by Colin Teevan, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and a new version of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Haydon said: “I have been hugely proud to work with the amazing Rose team to devise my first season in spite of the extraordinary challenges presented by the past year. These shows combine uplifting stories which bring some much needed joy, with plays that ask provocative, searching questions about the society we live in.”
Under Haydon, the Rose will support and mentor emerging and established artists, with a focus on writers. It is developing projects with Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Lulu Raczka, Onjali Q Raúf, Nina Segal and Roy Williams.
He has also appointed new partners and advisers including actor Lucian Msamati as an associate artist, Poltergeist as an associate company and theatre maker Layla Madanat who was this year’s recipient of the Peter Hall Emerging Artists Fellowship.
Haydon added: “Alongside the productions, we are expanding the creative family that surrounds the Rose with our new group of associates. I am delighted to be working with both experienced artists who will help guide the vision of the theatre and emerging talent whom we will mentor and support in every way we can. I’m also really excited to have some of the UK’s best playwrights under commission.”
The season will open with the world premiere of Alys Metcalf’s thriller, Leopards, running from 2 to 25 September 2021, with press night on 7 September. With Haydon as director, the creative team features designer Lily Arnold, lighting designer Mark Howland and sound designer Gareth Fry.
When Niala arranges to meet celebrated charity leader Ben in the bar of a London hotel for career advice, their evening unfolds into something far less professional. As the weather closes in and secrets start to surface, the consequences of their choices leave them nowhere to hide.
Leopards is a play about the image we construct of ourselves and what it truly means to be good. It is a co-production with Francesca Moody Productions, the Olivier Award-winning producer of Fleabag and Baby Reindeer.
The world premiere of Colin Teevan’s The Seven Pomegranate Seeds runs from 4 to 20 November, with press night on 20 November. Directed and designed by Melly Still, it features music and sound design by Jon Nicholls and lighting design by Malcolm Rippeth.
The women of Euripides’ plays – Persephone, Hypsipyle, Medea, Alcestis, Phaedra, Creusa and Demeter – are reimagined as people of today in a fusion of celebrity, inappropriate desires, historical police investigations and missing children. A severed maternal bond threads each story together, charting a journey through rage and redemption, towards a compelling conclusion.
A new version of Beauty and the Beast, written by Ciaran McConville will run from 3 December to 3 January 2022, with press night on 10 December. Directed by Lucy Morrell, it features music and lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer, set design by Frankie Bradshaw and costume design by Peter Todd. A cast of Rose Youth Theatre members and professional actors will be announced
Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, is reinvented for the 21st century, with an explosive foam party and a soundtrack of Frank Ocean, Dua Lipa and Cardi B, in Jeff James and James Yeatman’s bold adaptation. First seen at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in 2017, it runs at the Rose Theatre from 26 February to 19 March 2022, with press night on 3 March.
It is a co-production with Alexandra Palace, where the show runs from 7 to 30 April 2022, and Oxford Playhouse. The creative team includes designer Alex Lowde and lighting designer Lucy Carter, with music and sound design by Ben and Max Ringham and movement by Morgann Runacre-Temple.
Steve Waters’ new version of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, directed by Haydon, runs from 23 April to 14 May 2022, with press night on 28 April. Brecht’s epic tale about justice and humanity is propelled into the present day with original songs by Michael Henry. The creative team also includes designer Frankie Bradshaw, with casting by Stuart Burt. It has been developed in association with MGC (Michael Grandage Company).
Other shows coming to the Rose Theatre include The Smeds and the Smoos, based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, which will have its world premiere from 27 to 31 October, with the press performance on 28 October. Aimed at ages three and upwards, it has been created by Tall Stories, the company behind The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.
The acclaimed Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic production of A Monster Calls, based on Patrick Ness’ novel and directed by Sally Cookson, will run at the Rose Theatre from 24 March to 9 April 2022.
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s hit musical Six, with its new take on the tales of Henry VIII’s six wives, returns to the Rose Theatre from 17 to 29 May 2022