Ovalhouse, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW Wednesday 26 September – Sunday 30 December 2018
In a unique collaborative programme, Ovalhouse’s autumn season brings together an outstanding collection of six new shows plus seven FiRST BiTES that, for the first time, are all co- produced in-house by Ovalhouse. This season’s pertinent theme of care highlights both the theatre’s enduring passion for nurturing emerging artists - every production in this season started its life at Ovalhouse - as well as the way all of the plays deal with how we care for one another.
Ovalhouse are dedicated to supporting artists with important voices to create radical and innovative theatre. In a time when our government retreats from the provision of social care, it is telling that these artists all, in very different ways, explore the complex ideas of who provides care, who needs our care and the challenges faced when this care is stripped away. Exploring the world through the lens of poverty, child welfare and the trans experience, the season journeys through comedic highs and harrowing lows, whilst welcoming diverse audiences of every age.
Kicking off the season is Annie Siddons’ Dennis of Penge which explores poverty, addiction, friendship, ecstasy, love, and chicken shops. The restless new thriller POT from Ambreen Razia (The Diary of a Hounslow Girl) reveals the hidden lives of Britain’s invisible children, adrift in the care system at the mercy of gang culture. Meanwhile, Chris Goode (Monkey Bars, Men in the Cities) returns to Ovalhouse for a three-week run with his latest solo performance Mirabel, exploring what it means to be lost. The season will conclude with a joyful and irreverent new adaptation of the classic story Snow White by award-winning The Wrong Crowd, crafted from an intriguing formula of the finest puppetry, toe-tapping live music and dazzling humour.
In addition to their unique programme of FiRST BiTES that give artists the chance to stage their work in front of an audience for the first time, Ovalhouse also continue their Young Associates scheme. The six new fearless and daring young artists who will gain the invaluable opportunity for a full year’s mentorship and financial support to develop their work will be programmed as part 2019 summer season’s FiRST BiTES. With the theatre’s care and guidance, these FiRST BiTE productions can develop into full-length shows such as Spun Glass Theatre’s previously sold-out show Princess Charming and award-winning poet Nick Makoha’s The Dark that tells the vivid and moving story of the migration he made, at the age of four, with his mother.
Ovalhouse’s Executive Producer, Stella Kanu, comments, It is a lie that our societal and familial broken parts don’t harm us on deep, sometimes hard-to-repair, levels. Harmonising the souls of our children, our communities, our broken and even high-achieving adults, has got to matter. How else will we heal from the devastating effects of lopsided wealth creation, and the personal and familial trauma associated with poor housing, poverty and lack? When we reach our potentials, will it be in a bubble made by our own hands? Or something richer, much more collective in nature, but built on feeling personally and individually strong and empowered?
Kanu’s powerful words resonate throughout this season, seen pertinently in some of the FiRST BiTES; Wonder Girl tells the true story of child protection lawyer Eva Edo who explores the notion that children in care are in fact superheroes who escape into their own surreal worlds to survive. Additionally, Travis Alabanza explores the ways in which the collective care of public spaces is not afforded to transgender bodies. While many of these plays are set against a backdrop of neglect, abandonment and loss, a strong and hopeful light shines through these stories. All of these characters eventually find community, solidarity and self-empowerment. Even the most famous abandoned child in our season, Snow White, finds a troupe of seven moles who can help her to change her future.
The full programme is as follows:
Ovalhouse, Albany Deptford & Annie Siddons present Dennis of Penge
Wed 26 September – Sat 6 October, 7.30pm (press night: Monday 1 October)
Part gig, part poetry, part theatre performance, all transcendent. Loosely inspired by Euripides’ the Bacchae, Dennis of Penge is a show about poverty, addiction, friendship, ecstasy, chicken shops, love & SE20. Set in and around the chicken shops, church halls and job centres of South London, it is loosely inspired by Euripides’ The Bacchae and informed by Annie’s own experiences of newfound sobriety.
Ovalhouse and Rua Arts present POT
Tues 9 – Sat 20 October, 7.30pm
Louisa wakes up on lock down surrounded by debris from last night’s blow out. Josh has vanished but she is not alone and she’s beginning to feel the heat. Ambreen Razia's restless new thriller, POT, reveals the hidden lives of Britain’s invisible children, adrift in the care system at the mercy of gang culture.
Ovalhouse and Spun Glass Theatre present Princess Charming
Tues 23 – Sat 27 October, 2pm
Princess Charming is a contemporary topical exploration of gender identity and stereotypes for children aged seven – eleven. Spun Glass Theatre will transform theatres across the UK into family-friendly cabaret clubs that will energise and educate audiences, demonstrating how adults and children alike can be confident in their role in our modern-day society.
Ovalhouse and Chris Goode & Company present Mirabel
Wed 31 October – Sat 18 November, 7.30pm (press night: Thursday 1 November) Eight-year-old Mirabel wakes up after the end of the world to find herself alone, except for her old faithful Bear. Everyone else appears to be gone. And so, Mirabel and Bear set out on a journey across the new desert to find an adult to take care of everything. On the way, they’ll acquire a ragged gang of fellow travellers, including a visionary red-eyed dog, and an injured pilot who insists he’s not the grown-up they’re looking for. A sad, strange fairytale, Mirabel is a story of what happens when you refuse to accept that you’re lost.
Ovalhouse and Fuel present The Dark
Wed 21 November – Sat 1 December, 7.30pm
Written by the award-winning poet Nick Makoha, The Dark tells the vivid and moving story of the migration he made with his mother at the age of four. A night in November 1978; young Nick and his mother flee their home of Kampala and travel by matatu. Buying safe passage and silence with all they have, the conductor asks no questions. Their companions are the missing, lost and displaced, those who have suffered eight years under the violent rule of Idi Amin.
Ovalhouse and The Wrong Crowd present Snow White
Wed 12 – Sun 30 December (Tues– Fri, 1pm & 7pm, Sat – Sun, 11.30am & 4.30pm) Crafted from a unique formula of the finest puppetry, toe-tapping live music and dazzling humour, the award-winning Wrong Crowd’s new twist on an old story will blow away the Christmas blues!
The seven new FiRST BiTES are:
Ovalhouse and Koko Brown present GREY (Thurs 27 – Sat 29 September, 7.45pm)
Koko is a strong, independent, black woman. She has a roof over her head. She has food in her fridge. She lives a good life. She’s also a little bit sad, a lot of the time. She doesn’t understand why. Blending spoken word and vocal looping, GREY is fully British Sign Language integrated and contains sensitive content.
Ovalhouse and Jade Lewis present Astro Babies (Fri 5 – Sat 6 October, 11am & 2pm)
Astro Babies is an interactive theatrical experience for babies and their families. Immerse yourself in a world where babies travel through the cosmos in search of discovery, play and relationships. Let’s explore a new world that is very much a part of our history and future. Come and play!
Ovalhouse & Rua Arts present Wonder Girl (Thurs 11 – Sat 13 October, 7.45pm)
Wonderful, a seemingly silent 17-year-old, seeks revenge on adults who let young people down. She uses the devices at her disposal – a few pizzas, Pentecostal rhetoric and one lost soul. This hard-hitting play pulls audiences into Wonderful’s world, highlighting the challenges she faces caught between two realities.
Hackney Showroom presents Burgerz (Friday 19 – Saturday 20 October, 7.45pm)
Hurled Words. Thrown Objects. Dodged Burgers. What does the trans body do in order to survive? How can one become a protector, rather than a bystander? Carving out a place for themselves as one of the UK’s prominent trans voices, Travis Alabanza presents a piece that is timely, unsettling and powerful, exploring the way a body can dodge objects and how trans people are dissected in public.
Ovalhouse and CASA present Amazonian Sweat Lodge (Thurs 1 – Sat 3 November, 7.45pm) After a transcendent spiritual awakening Jo & Koko have returned to London from The Amazon where they had a cosmic transformation and now are legitimately enlightened beings. Koko & Jo have created their own church and you are the congregation. Journey through the cosmos of faux spirituality, songs, ceremony, and Amazon purchases.
Ovalhouse and CASA present 100 Years (Thurs 8 – Sat 10 November, 7.45pm)
Set in the grassy plains of the Llanos in Central Venezuela, 100 Years follows five generations of first born daughters in one Venezuelan bloodline. With every daughter born, each named Isabela, a brand-new life unfolds across a century of turbulent political change.
Ovalhouse and CASA present EverFlea
Thursday 15 – Saturday 17 November, 7.45pm
An undersized, imaginary creature has finally fulfilled its lifelong dream: it broke the crystal screen of its own fiction and made it to the dazzling human world. Its admiration turns into ambition as it resolves to become one of them. Everflea is a fantastically distorted account – to the sound of live music – of what it’s like to feel like an outsider in every aspect of life, a state of bewilderment that is enhanced by a world that over-stimulates our senses, but never seems to give us what it promises.
The nearest rail station is Vauxhall.
Tickets are available priced £15 | £10 concessions
£9 Under 26's (Main house shows)
Preview tickets are £9
FiRST BiTES tickets are £5 in advance (£8 on the door) Available from Ovalhouse Box Office and www.ovalhouse.com, 020 7582 7680.