King’s Head Theatre launches The Takeover season

The King’s Head Theatre in Islington has announced a new season called The Takeover, featuring four mini-seasons curated by four artistic directors.

Running from March to August 2023, the four guest Artistic Directors,  all of whom are mid-career LGBTQ+ identifying artists from various disciplines and theatre backgrounds, will have full creative control over curating their programme, supported by the staff at the King’s Head Theatre.

The guest Artistic Directors will be Isabel Adomakoh YoungTom RatcliffeTania Azevedo and David Cumming.

This Takeover season will be one of the last at the King’s Head’s current building – which is London’s oldest pub theatre. They will then move into their brand new venue, behind the old theatre in Islington Square. More details on the new theatre, and when it will finally open, have been promised in due course.

Their planned seasons will range from arts and activism, to new musical theatre, and the best in drag and cabaret. The seasons are also open for public proposals, and artists are encouraged to contact the King’s Head.

The artistic directors will also be matched with an industry mentor and receive training on practical aspects of programming, different approaches to artistic direction and curation and developing artists. 

Isabel Adomakoh Young is a co-creator of PECS Drag Kings, AIM “Best Independent Festival” Brainchild, and the bestselling Lionboy book trilogy which was adapted and toured by Complicité. Isabel also starred as Juliet in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s recent production of Romeo and Juliet where she won a BBTA award for her performance. Isabel performed at Kings Head Theatre in 2022 as part of the 50th birthday celebrations.

Tom Ratcliffe is a writer and the co-Executive Director of WildCard Theatre Company and is currently on attachment to Harlow Playhouse. His plays include Wreckage, which is currently playing at the Turbine Theatre in LondonFame Whore (Kings Head Theatre), Evelyn (Mercury Theatre/Southwark Playhouse), VELVET (Pleasance Courtyard & UK/Ireland Tour) and Circa (Theatre de Meervaart, Amsterdam & Old Red Lion). Tom was awarded the JB Priestley Award for Writers of Promise in 2020. As well as his recent playFame Whore, Tom also performed in Kings Head Theatre’s production 5 Guys Chillin’.

Tania Azevedo is currently resident director on & Juliet and directed the world premier of But I’m a Cheerleader (Turbine Theatre) based on the cult LGBTQ+ film, for which she has been nominated as Best Director for an Offie Award and Broadway World Award. She also directed It’s Only Life (Union Theatre), Toyboy Diaries (Hope Mill Theatre),Tenderly (New Wimbledon Theatre), Paper Hearts (Upstairs at the Gatehouse and international tour),Piece of Silk and Hello Again (Hope Theatre) and was assistant director on Heathers (West End and UK Tour). Tania’s new musical A Mother’s Song, co-created with Finn Anderson, is set for a production at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Scotland in Feb 2023. Tania trained at Kings Head Theatre as a trainee resident director.

David Cumming is a writer, performer, director, composer and co-Artistic Director of SpitLip and Kill the Beast. One of The Stage’s 25 Theatre-makers of the Future, David is fast making a name for himself including as a co-writer and performer on the hit new musical Operation Mincemeat – which is set to transfer to the West End this March after runs at the New Diorama Theatre, Southwark Playhouse and Riverside Studios. David’s other writing and performing credits include Dog Show (Pleasance Theatre), Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster (Battersea Arts Centre and BBC 4) and as his drag alter-ego Cheryl Dole.

Senior Producer at the King’s Head, Sofi Berenger, said in a press statement, “King’s Head Theatre is delighted to have been supported by Arts Council England to be able to offer an alternative approach to the curation of our programme. It’s an opportunity to counteract the exclusive nature of theatre by removing the gatekeeper of programming, opening it up to other creatives who may not have had the opportunity. I’m so excited to be working alongside four incredibly talented artists and I can’t wait to see what they will do with their respective seasons. Providing space to new queer voices is something that the KHT strives towards. Expect boundary pushing, binary breaking, explosive new work from some of the country’s most exciting new artists.”

The King’s Head’s Artistic Director Mark Ravenhill, who is currently on extended sick leave, said, “I wish all the guest artistic directors and King’s Head Theatre all the best with their seasons, and am looking forward to seeing what comes next for them.”

Currently playing at the King’s Head is Edinburgh Fringe First winner And Then The Rodeo Burned Down until 11 February 2023.


📷 Main photo: King's Head Theatre - The Takeover

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