London's New Park Theatre Will Offer Maureen Lipman in World Premiere Plus David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face; Season Announced

By Mark Shenton
20 Mar 2013

The inaugural season at London's Park Theatre, a new two-theatre complex next to Finsbury Park underground station recently completed at a cost of £2.5 million, will include the UK premiere of David Henry Hwang's Yellowface, plus the world premiere of Oliver Cotton's Daytona with a cast that includes Maureen Lipman.



The building comprises two theatre spaces: Park200 is a thrust auditorium seating 200 people on stalls and circle levels; and Park 90, a completely flexible auditorium seating between 80 and 100 in a range of configurations. There is also a late licensed cafe and bar set over two floors, joined by a large glass atrium. Designed by David Hughes Architects, the £2.5 million building costs have been met by philanthropy form Trusts, Foundations and private individuals, as well as the sale of three residential properties on the upper floors of the building. The theatre is a registered charity.

The opening season includes two in-house productions, one of them a world premiere, by the Park Theatre, plus six productions from visiting companies with a program that includes four UK premieres, classic revivals and popular contemporary plays.

In Park200, the season will open with Park Theatre's own UK premiere for Melanie Marnich's These Shining Lives, beginning performances May 8 prior to an official opening May 15, for a run through June 9. Loveday Ingram directs a play that tells the story of the female Radium Dial workers of the 1930s who became unlikely pioneers of their time, breaking with protocol to stand up for their rights.

It is followed in Park200 by Red Handed Theatre Company's production of Sheridan's The School for Scandal, beginning performances June 12 prior to an official opening June 13, for a run through July 7. Jessica Swale, who this summer will make her playwrighting debut at Shakespeare's Globe with Blue Stockings, will direct a cast that includes Belinda Lang.

Then the Park Theatre will produce the world premiere of actor-turned-playwright Oliver Cotton's Daytona, beginning performances July 10 prior to an official opening July 17, for a run through Aug. 18. David Grindley (whose credits include Journey's End in the West End and on Broadway) will direct a cast led by Maureen Lipman, in a play about Joe and Elli, who plan to win the next big ballroom dancing competition. But the unexpected arrival of a figure from their past threatens to throw everything off balance.

Finally in Park200, Snapdragon Productions will present Ben Travers' farce Thark, in a new adaptation by writer and actor Clive Francis, beginning performances Aug. 21 prior to an official opening Aug. 23, for a run through Sept. 22. It is directed by Eleanor Rhode.

In Park90, the season will begin with Red Ladder Theatre Company's production of Ben Tagoe's The Thing About Psychopaths, beginning performances May 14 (also the press night) for a run through May 19.

It is followed by the UK premiere of David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face, beginning performances May 21 prior to an official opening May 23, for a run through June 16. Presented by Special Relationship Productions, it is directed by Alex Sims. The play is a response to the controversy that surrounded the casting of Jonathan Pryce in the lead Eurasian role in the Broadway transfer of Miss Saigon.

Next, the world premiere of Ross Ericson's Casualties will begin performances June 18, prior to an official opening June 20, for a run through July 14. Presented by Grist to the Mill, Harry Burton directs a play inspired by a soldier's real-life account of dealing with post-traumatic stress.

Finally, the season in Park90 concludes with Gary Henderson' Skin Tight, beginning performances July 16 prior to an official opening July 18 for a run through Aug. 11. Presented by Epsilon Productions, it is directed by Jemma Gross, and follows an ordinary couple with an extraordinary love story.

To book tickets for the season, contact the box office on 020 7870 6876, or visit www.parktheatre.co.uk. It is located at Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP.