London’s Royal Court Taps Is God Is, New Caryl Churchill Plays, and More

London News   London’s Royal Court Taps Is God Is, New Caryl Churchill Plays, and More
Aleshea Harris' acclaimed Is God Is will be seen alongside a slate of new works by writers from the U.K. and around the globe.
Alfie Fuller and Dame-Jasmine Hughes Julieta Cervantes

The Royal Court Theatre in London has unveiled its upcoming season of work. Under the umbrella of "A Year of Work," the 2019–2020 programming includes Aleshea Harris' Relentless Award-winning Is God Is (seen Off-Broadway at Soho Rep.), three new plays by Caryl Churchill, and a new piece from British Egyptian writer Sabrina Mahfouz that uses theatre, poetry, and music to explore the distribution of power in the Middle East.

Kicking off the season in September will be a new experimental theatre piece from Tim Crouch (The Author) titled Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation. The story of a writer who manipulates a group of people into thinking something isn't true, this new play is presented through stage action and illustrated text (by Rachana Jadhav). The audience and actors turn the pages of a book together, studying the images and sharing words out loud.

Caryl Churchill
Caryl Churchill Marc Brenner

Also in September, the Royal Court will welcome back celebrated playwright Churchill for a limited run of three new plays Glass. Kill. Bluebeard, directed by James Macdonald (The Children).

Rounding out the fall season will be Mahfouz's A History of Water in the Middle East, directed by Stef O’Driscoll; Eve Leigh's exploration of the online world—both onstage and off—Midnight Movie, directed by Rachel Bagshaw; and a new semi-autobiographical story by Hinterland creator Ed Thomas titled On Bear Bridge, co-directed by the playwright and Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone. The final show of the year will be A Kind of People, a new play by Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti.

In January 2002, The Royal Court will present Miriam Battye's Scenes With Girls, developed in the theatre's Writers' Group, and directed by Lucy Morrison; followed by the return of Debris Stevenson’s coming-of-age play, Poet in da Corner, inspired by Dizzee Rascal’s seminal album, Boy in da Corner. Ola Ince directs.

The spring and summer slate is equally jam-packed with new work. Kicking things off in March is E.V. Crowe's Shoe Lady, directed by Veatherstone; as well as Rare Earth Mettle by Al Smith (Harrogate at the Royal Court), directed by Hamish Price.

In April the London theatre will present two Palestinians go dogging by Sami Ibrahim, recent winner of the Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award 2019. Helmed by NASSIM director Omar Elerian, the new play uses the lens of humor to explore how the everyday becomes political and the political becomes everyday in a conflict zone.

In May Chilean writer Pablo Manzi makes his English language debut with A Fight Against, a darkly comic odyssey across the Americas translated by William Gregory, and directed by Sam Pritchard, followed by Alistair McDowall’s The Glow. Featherstone will direct the new play, commissioned by the Royal Court, about a woman locked in a windowless cell in 1863, with no memory as to who she is or how she arrived there.

Also in May, the Royal Court presents The Song Project's Is In Our Blood. Performed by Dutch singer-songwriter Wende, the musical show is created by Chloe Lamford, Wende, Isobel Waller-Bridge, and Imogen Knight, with words by Royal Court writers Crowe, Mahfouz, Somalia Seaton, Stef Smith, and Stevenson.

June will see Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks, written and performed by Sarah Hanly, and directed by Alice Fitzgerald; followed by Harris' critically acclaimed sister revenge drama—currently being adapted into a film—Is God Is, directed by Ola Ince. The final show of the season will be British Chinese writer-performer Jude Christian's Nanjing, a new work penned in response to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. A story of belonging anywhere and no where at once, Nanjing looks at how our lives are shaped by history.

"I am constantly overwhelmed by our hunger and capacity for story—the human need to make sense of the world in which we live and our openness to be surprised and enlightened by it," says Artistic Director Featherstone. "This year attempts to reflect that from the intensely private to the global stories of our times.”

Check out the full season, and more information on each production at

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