East London's new writing stronghold is a bit erratic but much appreciated
Situated slap bang in the middle of east London's vibrant Turkish community in Dalston, the Arcola Theatre was here before the hipsters and – despite one enforced venue change, to its present former paint factory site – remains a bastion of interesting work in theatre-light east London.
In recent years the programme has tended to be unpredictable if occasionally brilliant: show have often been announced late in the day and it’s tricky to really put your finger on what the artistic policy is actually supposed to be. Still, expect revivals of 'serious dramas', new plays from fresh voices, and plenty of work with a political, international outlook. Its biggest constant is Grimeborn, an irreverent and influential festival of new opera writing that takes place in the summer. And there's also a real focus on community work, with occasional stagings of Turkish language plays sitting alongside dramas by the Arcola's Queer Collective.
Tickets are cheap as chips and comparable to the fringe. The ramshackle bar is a cosy place to sink a pint before or after the show; it serves tea and coffee during the day, and generally fills up with artsy types on a Friday or Saturday night. The Arcola also has an admirable commitment to becoming the greenest theatre in the UK, with a goal of becoming completely carbon neutral that's demonstrated in its rather advanced-looking toilets.
|Venue name:||Arcola Theatre|
24 Ashwin St
|Transport:||Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction Overground|
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Each summer, Dalston's much-loved Arcola Theatre transforms into a hotbed of bold new operas and intimate revivals of rare classics. Take any opera-related stereotypes you might have and bin them: Grimeborn is all about finding new ways that music and...Classical and opera Until Wednesday September 4 2019
Until the Flood
Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith – who wrote 'Yellowman', seen in London at the Young Vic – is performing her own play about the shooting in Ferguson of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Based on real...Fringe Wednesday September 4 2019 - Saturday September 28 2019
Anna Bella Eema
The UK premiere of a spooky, intriguing slice of American Gothic from Lisa D’Amour, who was a Pulitzer finalist with her play ‘Detroit’ (seen here at the National Theatre in 2012). The precocious Annabella lives in a deserted trailer park with her eccentric...Fringe Wednesday September 11 2019 - Saturday October 12 2019
Maxine Peake proved her writing chops with this play about champion cyclist Beryl Burton, which gets a speedy revival at the Arcola. And no wonder: it’s a cheering tale for our times, about a woman, who in the face of sneering opposition, went on to not...Fringe Wednesday October 16 2019 - Saturday November 16 2019
The Arcola teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company for this co-production about the cost of reporting the truth in the age of fake news, first seen in Stratford-upon-Avon last summer. The show is based on the book by newspaper editor Can Dündar,...Fringe Wednesday November 13 2019 - Saturday December 7 2019
Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun’s novel was published in Norway in 1890 and based on his own experiences of living in poverty. But it sounds like it’ll still resonate plenty today: 'Hunger' is a story of a young man who moves to the big city with dreams...Fringe Wednesday November 20 2019 - Saturday December 21 2019
After ‘Leave Taking’ at the Bush, Winsome Pinnock’s return to the limelight continues with her own reimagining of her 2005 play ‘One Under’. Looking at the impact of guilt and the need for atonement, it tells the story of Cyrus, a tube driver who hits...Fringe Tuesday December 10 2019 - Saturday December 21 2019
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