A nine-week season of new work begins next week at North London fringe venue the Hampstead Theatre. Running from Thursday 22 Jan. to 21 Mar. 1998, the New Directions season will feature five world premieres by four writers.
The first, Terms of Abuse by Jessica Townsend, tells the story of Mandy, the only surviving victim of a serial murder, who is pursued by press and police. Townsend is currently the Theatre's Pearson Television Writer in Residence. Terms of Abuse is her first theatre production; it runs from 22 Jan. to 7 Feb..
Philip Ridley's Fairytaleheart, specially written for children aged nine and upwards, explores the power of stories and theatre to transform troubled lives. Ridley is the author of numerous children's books, film scripts and plays including Sparkleshark which is due to be staged later this year at the Royal National Theatre. Fairytaleheart runs in matinee from 27 Jan. to 6 Feb..
Featuring Loretta, by Canadian writer George F. Walker, is set in an anonymous hotel on the outskirts of a big city. The dark comedy, one in a series of six, finds pregnant Loretta, salesman Dave, porn filmmaker Michael and hotel owner's daughter Sophie united in their determination to get a better deal out of life. It runs 11-28 Feb..
English Journeys marks a debut for playwright and Cambridge-based teacher Steve Waters. It takes a poetic look at national and personal identity as well as England's changing landscape as married couple Cathy and Peter set off on separate journeys throughout the by-roads of the country. English Journeys runs 3-7 Mar. and 16-18 Mar. The final production in the season is Apocalyptica, another new work by Philip Ridley. Seven people trapped in a bombed-out building in a war zone tell their stories in an attempt to express the unspeakable and rediscover a sense of community. Apocalyptica runs 10-14 Mar. and 19-21 Mar.
The first two of the five plays were specially commissioned by the Hampstead Theatre for the New Directions season, for which the intimate auditorium has been specially reconfigured. The nine-week schedule also features an extensive education programme, discussion nights, sign language interpreted performances, reduced ticket prices and a range of other discounts. New Directions has been made possible by an Arts for Everyone Lottery Award with partnership funding from the London Borough of Camden. This will be the first of three Arts for Everyone seasons of new work at the Hampstead Theatre.