The Royal Court Theatre announces its next International Playwrights Season, opening on 11 February, which includes new plays from Colombia and Latvia and a series of readings and events from Latin America and Eastern Europe.

The season, which marks 15 years of the Royal Court’s commitment to finding and developing international work includes full productions of Colombian playwright Pedro Miguel Rozo’s new play Our Private Life and Latvian Aleksey Scherbak’s play Remembrance Day and is the first time that plays from these countries have been presented at the Royal Court.

A series of rehearsed readings accompanies the season, including work from Mexican playwright Zaría Abreu with Cinema Red and Chilean writer Guillermo Calderón with new plays Villa and Speech. From Eastern Europe, there will be readings of The Harvest by Pavel Pryazhko from Belarus and Pagans by Anna Yablonskaya from Ukraine.

In addition to this, there will be a programme of brunch seminars – panel discussions exploring the political situation in both regions and the effects of the Royal Court’s international work on the British theatre artists who have taken part. There will also be live music in the café bar on two late night events in the Royal Court café bar from Arriba la Cumbia, the Hackney globetrotter DJ Russ Jones’ legendary Latin American music night featuring Colombian beats and live bands.
Since 1996 the Royal Court Theatre has travelled the world, running long-term play development projects and building relationships between playwrights, directors, actors and translators. Working with playwrights and theatre artists in 70 countries and in 30 languages, the work is supported by the Genesis Foundation and the British Council.

Our Private Life
By Pedro Miguel Rozo
Translated by Simon Scardifield
Directed by Lyndsey Turner
11 February –12 March 2011
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Press Night, Friday 18 February 2011 7pm

Our Private Life opens in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 18 February (previews from 11 February) looks at truth, rumour and slander in this new black comedy of twisted morality set in modern Colombia.

The cast includes Ishia Bennison, Clare Cathcart, Eugene O’Hare, Adrian Schiller, Colin Morgan, Anthony O’Donnell and Joshua Williams.

“This isn’t a village. We’ve got the largest shopping centre in the area. Now there’s somewhere people can go to watch movies, have something to eat, spend money to make sense of their lives.”
When a rumour spreads like wildfire through a Colombian village, a respectable family start to wither in the heat. As long- buried secrets begin to surface, their efforts to discern truth from slander become fused with a desire for justice.

Ishia Bennison plays Mother. Her theatre credits include A Couple of Poor Polish Speaking Romanians at Soho Theatre, The Gunpowder Season at the RSC and Dominic Cooke’s Arabian Nights at the Young Vic. On television, she appeared in At Home with the Braithewaites.

Clare Cathart plays Tania. She last appeared at the Royal Court in Loyal Women. On television she has appeared in Cast Offs on Channel 4, CBBC’s Tracy Beaker and The Little House on ITV.

Eugene O’Hare plays Sergio. His credits include Talent at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme at Hampstead Theatre and A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Old Vic.

Adrian Schiller plays the Psychiatrist. His credits include Every Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre and on television his most recent credits include Silk on the BBC and a guest appearance in Dr Who.

Colin Morgan plays Carlos. His credits include Merlin on BBC and in theatre A Prayer for My Daughter and Vernon God Little at the Young Vic and All About My Mother at the Old Vic.

Anthony O’Donnell plays the Father. His credits include As You Like It and The Tempest as part of the Bridge Project, Much Ado About Nothing at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and The Homecoming at the Almeida.

Joshua Williams plays Joaquin making his professional theatre debut.

Pedro Miguel Rozo is a playwright, director and telenovela writer from Bogotá, Colombia. He first worked with the Royal Court in Bogotá in 2004 and developed this play during the 2009 Royal Court International Residency in London.
Lyndsey Turner’s work at the Royal Court includes Laura Wade’s Posh, Mike Bartlett’s Contractions, Molly Davies’ A Miracle and Chronic and Ignition. She has also worked at the Royal Court as Trainee Associate Director and International Associate. Her other credits include My Romantic History at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Alice at Sheffield Theatres, Nocturnal at the Gate Theatre and The Lesson at the Arcola.

As part of her research for this play, Lyndsey Turner traveled to Bogotá and Pedro Miguel Rozo’s home town of Armenia in order to place the play in the political and cultural context of provincial Colombia, where the play is set.
The production is designed by Lizzie Clachan, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Carolyn Downing.

Remembrance Day
By Aleksey Scherbak
Translated by Rory Mullarkey
Directed by Michael Longhurst
18 March – 16 April 2011
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Press Night, Wednesday 23 March 2011 7pm

Aleksey Scherbak’s Remembrance Day opens in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 23 March (previews from 18 March) and looks at the politically charged tensions in modern day Latvia.

“You can’t tell which ones are still fascists and which ones aren’t, since they’re all dressed up in the same uniform.”

Can you be a hero if you fought for Nazi Germany?

The Latvians who fought for the Third Reich and halted the Red Army parade as heroes every year through the streets of Riga. As a growing number of young Russians campaign to halt the ‘fascist’ march, their Latvian counterparts join the veterans in commemoration.

When teenager Anya becomes a political activist, her father’s attempts to calm the situation stir up a storm of extremist patriotism.

Remembrance Day takes an unflinching look at the fight for the political soul of Latvia.

The cast confirmed so far include Ewan Hooper and Sam Kelly. Ewan Hooper plays Valdis. He last appeared at the Royal Court in Richard Bean’s Toast. His other credits include The Bacchae at the National Theatre of Scotland and on television Trial and Retribution. Sam Kelly plays Paulis. He last appeared at the Royal Court in Under the Whaleback. His other theatre credits include When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre and Wicked in the West End. He has worked extensively in television and is perhaps best known for his parts in series Barbara, ‘Allo ‘Allo, On the Up and Porridge.

Aleksey Scherbak lives in Latvia and is the author of 11 plays which have been performed in Belarus, Latvia, Russia and Sweden. He developed this play as part of Royal Court’s Moscow workshops in 2008 – 2009.

Director Michael Longhurst’s previous productions include Stovepipe for HighTide with the National Theatre and the Bush Theatre, On The Beach, as part of The Contingency Plan at the Bush Theatre, dirty butterfly at the Young Vic, 1 in 5 as part of Daring Pairings at Hampstead Theatre. He was also assistant director on The Family Plays in the 2007 International Season at the Royal Court.

The production will be designed by Tom Scutt, with lighting by David Holmes and music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham.

Release issued by: Royal Court Theatre press office

LINKS

Royal Court Theatre website

Also see: Clybourne Park at the Wyndham’s Theatre