This November our Soho Rising festival hosts a bunch of the brightest new Soho Theatre Labs voices, over a fortnight.
“…and middle aged people are work in progress… but it seems like a good moment to quote a First Lady. This season’s common thread relates to the growing communication gap between generations. Both politically and spiritually. There are lots of young people looking at the world through their version of older eyes. There are older artists looking back at their youth and the world it created for them and the rest of us.” Steve Marmion, Artistic Director, Soho Theatre
As the world tries to adjust to its new order and the new reality of post-fake-truth-news politics, Soho Theatre’s spring and summer programme offers some hope for young hearts and old souls. The seasons include the premiere of the 2015 Verity Bargate Award winning Roller Diner – a savage-sweet rock’n’roll tragicomedy by first time playwright Stephen Jackson, and Touch – the fourth exciting new collaboration between Soho Theatre and DryWrite. Inspector Sands bring us a day in the life of an old people’s home through the eyes of three fantastic young performers in The Lounge. Mortality and lust for life collide joyfully in front of us as issues of social care and economic survival loom above the stage.
From over 900 submissions, one of our oldest* ever first time playwrights – Stephen Jackson’s Roller Diner (26 May – 24 June) was the winning play of the 2015 Verity Bargate Award, supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation and Stephen Garrett. Slashing open the heart of middle England, super duper waitress Marika Malinsky bursts into Eddie Costello’s fading 1950’s style Birmingham diner. Looking for a taste of a better life, her arrival sets hearts (and sausages) alight in a fiery recipe of jealousy, discontent, suspicion, love and murder in the search for a place to call home. (*‘I was in my 50’s when I entered – though you should never ask a lady his age! Especially as I want to be young and sexy like everyone else at Soho!’ Stephen Jackson, Roller Diner).
Following the success of last summer’s smash hit Fleabag, Soho Theatre and DryWrite (Vicky Jones and Phoebe Waller-Bridge) present their much anticipated new play Touch (6 July – 26 August). Written and directed by Vicky Jones, Touch explores the in-between years of Generation X. Dee’s sexual escapades are messy and temporary – just like her shoebox London flat. New to the city and in a stop-gap job, Dee has the chance to reinvent herself. But how can you grow old happily when you don’t know what you want? Welcome to the secret life of a 33 year old woman.
April sees the London premiere of Edinburgh 2016’s Fringe-First and Amnesty Award winner Expensive Shit (4 – 22 April) written and directed by Adura Onashile. A nightclub toilet attendant in Glasgow who once dreamt of becoming a dancer in the revolutionary band of Fela Kuti, is an unseen, underground heroine struggling to have power and control over her life, as generational values collide. Fringe First Award winner Katie Bonna returns to Soho Theatre with All The Things I Lied About (18 April – 6 May) to give her TED talk on the science of lying, unpicking her own deception and that of her father to understand humanity’s obsession with lying and how everyday lies can lead to a world of Trump and Brexit. Hosted by washed up architect/proto-god figure Archibald Tactful and accompanied by anti-virtuoso punk band The Great White Males, CUNCRETE (18 – 22 April) is a drag king punk gig with a gratuitously sleazy and joyfully noisy critique of alpha-masculinity, idealism and architecture.
Following the success of her award-winning Bitch Boxer, writer and performer Charlotte Josephine presents her third play BLUSH (16 May – 3 June), a ‘ruthless and faultlessly slick’ (A Younger Theatre) young woman’s exploration of revenge porn and online shaming. Inspector Sands and China Plate’s The Lounge (26 April –20 May) is a ‘mischievous and pleasing’ (The Stage) play about growing old. Set in a care home lounge somewhere in the South of England, 97-year old Marsha Hewitt begins the last day of her life. But she cannot go quietly. Returning to his roots as a performer, Patrick Sanford is looking back on a life shaped by a childhood with his powerful new play Groomed (13 June –1 July) – a ‘heart breaking but still somehow hopeful’ (Broadway Baby) show recounting his experience of abuse.
And breaking out from its West End echo chamber Soho Theatre is also off on tour as part of its commitment to take the best work from its stages to new audiences. Jack Rooke’s Good Grief, Panti Bliss’s High Heels in Low Places and Ursula Martinez’s Free Admission are heading to 17 venues across the UK; including Hull, Manchester, Oxford and Glasgow between March and June 2017.