London's edgy new writing powerhouse
London's premiere new writing theatre, the Royal Court made its name in the 1950s when it was synonymous with kitchen sink dramas and the Angry Young Men, and has scarcely looked back (in anger) since.
The commercially successful reign of Dominic Cooke was famously marked by his stated mission to acknowledge the nature of the Sloane Square theatre's audience and 'explore what it means to be middle class'. The quote probably came back to haunt him, coming to define a reign that was marked by lots of new writing from BAME playwrights, plus such towering West End transfer successes as 'Enron' and the peerless 'Jerusalem'.
Current Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone has taken the theatre down a much more experimental route that frequently thrills but has perhaps endeared her more to artists than audiences. The Almeida and Young Vic having probably overtaken it in terms of influence, though certainly there's a willingness to try something that might not work that seemed to have disappeared somewhat in the Cooke era.
There are two venues, the tiny Upstairs and large Downstairs, plus a welcoming bar kitchen that's a fabulous place to visit for a gander at the cream of London's playwrights and creatives, who inexorably drift through throughout the day.
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Bluuuurdy hell. I mean. Where to even start with ‘X’. If I had to ascribe it a genre, I’d go for ‘space horror’, which is definitely one of the more underrespresented theatrical forms. Although not entirely surprising coming from playwright Alistair...Drama Until Saturday May 7 2016Read more
The last show I saw by Irish playwright David Ireland was ‘I Promise You Sex and Violence’, a wildly offensive bad taste comedy that opened to venomous reviews at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe and definitely stands in the top five worst things I’ve ever seen...Drama Until Saturday May 7 2016Read more
The great auteur director Katie Mitchell returns to the Royal Court with this exploration of Shakespeare's character Ophelia, shorn of the context of 'Hamlet'. It's clearly a subject of some fascination for Mitchell, who have previously deconstructed...Experimental Tuesday May 17 2016 - Saturday May 21 2016Read more
The local animal population – pigeons, mice, foxes – are literally beginning to take over the streets of London in te Royal Court debut for Scottish playwright Stef Smith.Drama Wednesday May 18 2016 - Saturday June 18 2016Read more
This urgent new play from Charlene James is an exploration of the disturbing practice of female genital mutilation. It follows two 15-year-old girls, both born in Somalia, as their budding friendship eventually reveals irreconcilable difference between...Drama Friday May 20 2016 - Saturday July 30 2016Read more
Lola Arias, a leading voice in Argentinean theatre, is a writer, director and actor who's known for her quirky, witty, political style. This new work is a look at the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas war, told through the first-hand experiences of both...Experimental Thursday June 2 2016 - Saturday June 11 2016Read more
On The Move
For a few days in June, the Royal Court's spaces will be teeming with artists and performers telling the stories of people forced to leave their homes. These include Chris Goode's durational piece 'The Milk of Human Kindness', which delves into the dark...Experimental Thursday June 9 2016 - Saturday June 11 2016Read more
Open For Everything
Award-winning German choreographer Constanza Macras has assembled 17 Roma dancers, musicians and performers from across Europe for this celebration of their traditions, music and beleaguered communities. A Louis Vuitton-clad car opens its doors to spill...Contemporary and experimental Thursday June 16 2016 - Saturday June 18 2016Read more
The brilliant surrealist theatre-maker Anthony Neilson returns to the Royal Court with a new play about a director on an obsessive quest to find the perfect light. More than that, we don't know, as the show will be devised in the rehearsal room with the...Experimental Friday July 1 2016 - Saturday August 6 2016Read more
A divided family's youngest daughter convenes a meeting do pick over what has gone so wrong in the second play from actor Nathaniel Martello-White, whose debut 'Blackta' played at the Young Vic a few years back.Drama Wednesday September 7 2016 - Saturday October 15 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
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A good tip - become a member and you get access to £10 tickets on Mondays. The programme here is generally very strong and it's worth taking a risk and booking ahead. And the bar is a great place to hang out before and after productions.
I went to the Royal Court when I first arrived in London decades ago - it knocked me out then and still does now - a proper theatre offering properly stuff - takes some risks but always delivers a satisfying night - great for local drinks and eating pre and post and right next to the tube.