Stoppard, Nunn and Churchill Help Celebrate Royal Court's 50th Anniversary

News   Stoppard, Nunn and Churchill Help Celebrate Royal Court's 50th Anniversary
New plays by Tom Stoppard and Terry Johnson, a series of 50 rehearsed readings and a revival of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine comprise part of the Royal Court’s fiftieth anniversary season.
Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard Photo by Aubrey Reuben

In addition the company has revealed the winners of its public poll to name the most popular Royal Court works. The top three — The Rocky Horror Show (first place), Look Back in Anger (second) and Death and the Maiden (third) — will be commemorated in special events.

The 50th anniversary year, 2006, will start with Stella Feehily’s O Go My Man, about a war correspondent returning from Sudan. A co-production with Out of Joint, the play will tour the U.K. It opens at the Royal Court Jan. 17, 2006, directed by Max Stafford-Clark.

Ian Rickson’s revival of Cloud Nine will play in February and March. Churchill is the company’s most frequently performed playwright, and this play was one of her most successful, new in 1979.

April will see Simon Stephens’ Motortown, depicting a day in the life of a British soldier back from Iraq. That will be succeeded by Stoppard’s latest, Rock ‘n’ Roll in June and July. Trevor Nunn directs this meditation on Czech history between the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution — as seen by a rock band in Prague, and a Communist philosopher at Cambridge. Showing that it’s never too late to be one of the Court’s "angry young men," this is Stoppard’s first new play for the company.

In July 2006 students from the LAMDA drama school will perform two past Royal Court hits: Churchill’s Top Girls and David Storey’s The Changing Room. The National Youth Theatre will present Christopher Hampton’s Savages that same month. In July and August Tanika Gupta’s Sugar Mummies will focus on sex tourism in Jamaica. Indhu Rubasingham directs. And, Terry Johnson’s Piano/Forte sees the playwright return to the venue for the first time since his hit play Hitchcock Blonde.

The Jerwood Theatre Upstairs will feature a blockbuster season, Look Back: 50 Readings, 50 Writers, 50 Years. Between January and March 2006, there will be 50 rehearsed readings of plays written in the second half of the twentieth century. The first show will be John Osborne’s The Entertainer directed by David Hare; the last will be Roy Williams’ Fallout. Where possible, original cast members will be invited back.

The company’s international activities will be recognized in various mini seasons. These include “New Plays From Mexico” (Jan. 10–14, 2006), featuring works by five Mexican playwrights, a series of short plays from leading international playwrights and an international residency, which will present works in progress from writers from five continents.

As well as other special events and discussions, there will be Royal Court exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery and the London Theatre Museum. BBC Radio 3 has commissioned such Royal Court writers as Christopher Hampton, Joe Penhall and Wole Sovinka to write new short plays for radio, to be broadcast from the theatre. And, Radio 4 will broadcast six new productions of classic Royal Court plays during April and May.

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