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 occasionally baffles but frequently thrills, while still managing to score the odd transfer smash via older associates of the theatre: Jez Butterworth’s ‘The Ferryman’ was a monster of a hit. She has also taken something of a leadership role in the London theatre community in the #MeToo era, being the driving force behind a new code of behavious designed to challenge abuse of power within the theatre community.
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.
|Venue name:||Royal Court Theatre|
|Opening hours:||Check website for tour times and show times|
|Transport:||Tube: Sloane Sq|
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Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation
Experimental theatremaker Tim Crouch follows up his baffling ‘Adler & Gibb’ and malevolent ‘The Author’ with a very Crouch-sounding work about a manipulative writer who claims his book predicts everything else that will ever happen. If we’re reading it...Experimental Tuesday September 3 2019 - Saturday September 21 2019
Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.
Britain’s greatest living playwright Caryl Churchill is back at her usual haunt the Royal Court with four short plays, which will be directed by James Macdonald and designed by Miriam Buether. (There were originally going to be just three – ‘Imp’ was...Experimental Wednesday September 18 2019 - Saturday October 19 2019
A History of Water in the Middle East
Sabrina Mahfouz made her name with UK garage-inspired shaggy dog story 'With a Little Bit of Luck'. Now, she's drawing on her British-Egyptian heritage to explore spying in the Middle East in a new show for Royal Court Upstairs. Sparked by her dream of...Drama Thursday October 10 2019 - Saturday November 16 2019
On Bear Ridge
Set in an obscure country store where the customers have stopped coming, telly and theatre writer Ed Thomas's new play is an exploration of memory and lost places. He's the co-creator of TV drama 'Hinterland', and made his name with 1988 hit play 'House...Drama Thursday October 24 2019 - Saturday November 23 2019
Eve Leigh's new play is about late night, multiple tab internet browsing and what it's like to be extremely online. 'Midnight Movie' is made in collaboration with director Rachel Bagshaw, and will incorporate BSL, captioning and audio description into...Drama Wednesday November 27 2019 - Saturday December 21 2019
A Kind of People
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's 2004 play 'Behzti' was cancelled midway through its run at Birmingham Rep theatre, after attracting furious protests for its depiction of violence in a Sikh place of worship. Since then, her work has got a warmer response, with...Drama Thursday December 5 2019 - Saturday January 18 2020
Scenes With Girls
Playwright Miriam Battye's new work follows two teenage girls who talk in their own language, and don't want to be like everyone else. 'Scenes With Girls' is her follow-up to plays including 'Electricity' for the National Youth Theatre, and 'Balance'...Drama Wednesday January 15 2020 - Saturday February 22 2020
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4.7 / 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.
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