Royal Court will explore ‘echo-chamber of liberalism’ in new season with 10 world premieres

Jessie Thompson
Julian Brooks

The Royal Court will present 10 world premieres over the next year, including new works by debbie tucker green, Anthony Neilson and Mark Ravenhill.

Artistic director Vicky Featherstone said the new season would explore “power and control, identity and gender, and the major failure of the echo-chamber of liberalism”.

The latest work from tucker green, ear for eye, will open in October and explore “the brutal effects of institutional and systemic racism”. She will also direct the work.

Ravenhill, who made his name at the Royal Court in 1996 with Shopping and F***ing, returns to the Sloane Square theatre for the first time in almost a decade with The Cane. Featherstone will direct the play, which is “about the consequences of control and how we will no longer remain silenced after years of normalised power games.”

Neilson writes and directs The Prudes, a play about the sex life of a couple in a long-term relationship. It follows the success of Unreachable in 2016, which starred Matt Smith.

Cordelia Lynn’s One for Sorrow will be directed by James Macdonald, who is currently directing John by Annie Baker at the National. Her “expose of liberal fear” follows her 2015 Royal Court debut, Lela & Co.

Helen Goalen and Abbi Greenland of feminist theatre company RashDash will direct Hole, the debut play by Game of Thrones actress Ellie Kendrick, and director Ola Ince will programme a season of work in experimental space The Site.

The theatre will also partner with LIFT Festival for a work by Belgian theatremaker Lies Pauwels entitled Happiness Always, created with a cast of gender non-conforming young people and a professional dancer, and an as-yet-unannounced project with a major US artist.

Other premieres include Thomas Eccleshare’s Instructions for Correct Assembly, Robert Alan Evans’ The Woods, Rory Mullarkey’s Pity, and work of movement and spoken word by Debris Stevenson to mark 100 years since the Representation of the People Act 1918.

It was also announced that the Royal Court will collaborate with BBC4 for a season of work by female playwrights to mark 100 years since (some) women were granted the vote. It follows on from Queers, a series of eight monologues commissioned by Mark Gatiss to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality last year.

In March, the recently closed Samuel French Bookshop, a much-loved institution for theatre publishing, will reopen in the Royal Court’s Balcony Bar. It will also be used as a space for hosting author events.

The new season announcement follows the news that The Ferryman, which opened at the Royal Court last year to five-star reviews, will transfer to Broadway later this year.