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Walking the Tightrope

Past Event

World premiere of explosive political short plays by writers including Mark Ravenhill, Neil LaBute and Caryl Churchill, followed by energetic post-show audience discussions with stellar panels exploring Freedom of Expression in the UK arts today. 

Offstage Theatre, in association with Theatre Uncut, have commissioned playwrights Caryl Churchill, Ryan Craig, April De Angelis, Tim Fountain, Hannah Khalil, Neil LaBute, Hattie Naylor, Gbolahan Obisesan, Julia Pascal, Evan Placey, Mark Ravenhill and Sarah Solemani to respond with five minute plays to issues of censorship and boycotts in the arts. Arising from events and decisions made by Underbelly, Exhibit B and Tricycle in 2014, this assortment of plays will explore contrasting views on Freedom of Expression in the UK arts today.

After each performance, which will include all twelve five minute plays, there will a be half hour post-show discussion with the audience and an exciting panel, including one of the commissioned writers. These discussions will vary each night from boycotts and protests, to social media and political responsibility. The invited panel will vary nightly from political pundits, journalists, leading artistic directors, world famous campaigners and academics.

Current panelists and chairs include: Mark Thomas, Louise Jeffreys (Director of Arts, Barbican), David Lan (Artistic Director, Young Vic), Jodie Ginsberg (CEO, Index on Censorship), Jo Glanville (Director, English PEN), Rose Fenton (Director, Free Word) and Julia Farrington. 

Start the New Year with world-class new performance and lively debate.

Walking The Tightrope: The tension between art and politics is produced by Offstage Theatre, in association with Theatre Uncut, and supported by Free Word and their free expression residents and associates: English PEN, 89up and Index.

BUY TICKETS HERE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1053791?date=1169935


Of the project Neil LaBute said:

“I'm hugely excited to be a part of Walking the Tightrope – a collection of short plays by a group of terrific writers about the freedom of expression. I feel really lucky to be included as this theme has always been an important one in my own work and the form that is being used – the five minute play – is a wonderful and difficult one to master. If you care about humanity, then you care about the arts. If you care about the arts, you need to support this kind of work. In my mind, there is nothing that can't be said or seen on the stage. I think Walking the Tightrope intends to prove that many times over, five minutes at a time.”



Offstage was founded by Cressida Brown in 2006 after they staged their first site specific production HOME in a soon to be demolished tower block on East London's Beaumont Estate; the piece was inspired from interviews with former residents of the tower block and received news features on Channel 4, ITV, BBC London TV news. 

Since then Offstage have continued to be inspired by unheard or unusual voices and strived to push the boundaries of what site-responsive work could be. 

Offstage's award winning Racine's Pheadre led disquieted audiences around the ruins of Craigmillar Castle ruins at sundown and was again adapted from the stories and history of the local Craigmillar community. Amphibians by Steve Waters was based on interviews Cressida conducted with former Olympic swimmers and staged in the derelict swimming pool which previously had been hidden under the Bridewell Theatre's stage, off Fleet Street.  

Other work includes cross-art form Drawing Play (Yard Theatre), Macbeth (Bard En Seine, Paris), Tempest (for RSC at OSU), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Novello theatre) and Theatre Uncut (Theatre Row, New York). 

Cressida is Associate Artist of Theatre Uncut and the Yard Theatre. She was the recipient of the National Theatre Studio's Bulldog Prinsep bursary


www.offstage.org.uk www.cressidabrown.com


Theatre Uncut was created to spark debate and encourage political engagement. Originally established in 2011 as a response to the cuts announced by the Coalition, Theatre Uncut has commissioned 35 leading and emerging writers to create short pieces to respond to current political and social events. All the plays are released, rights free and available to download, for a limited period. The plays are performed by groups across the world in theatres, community centres, schools, universities, front rooms and on the streets, creating a simultaneous mass theatrical event. Theatre Uncut plays have been read and performed by over 3,500 people in 26 countries across five continents, and contributing writers include Mark Ravenhill, Lucy Kirkwood, Dennis Kelly, Mark Thomas, Anders Lustgarten and Neil LaBute. Theatre Uncut has won two Fringe First awards, a Heralds Angel Award, the Spirit of the Fringe Award and has been shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Theatre Uncut was founded by Hannah Price and is lead by Co-Artistic Directors Hannah Price and Emma Callander, both of whom direct the annual flagship productions of the pieces in leading venues including The Young Vic, The Soho Theatre, The Traverse, Oran Mor, Bristol Old Vic, Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman, Brighton Dome and others. “Theatre Uncut isn't just a performance, it's an idea: that theatre can be immediately responsive to world events, engender discussion and effect change.” Lyn Gardner, the Guardian.


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