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Almeida Theatre announces 3 world premieres for socially distant season

The season will include socially distant productions as well as virtual events. 

Almeida Theatre

UPDATE: Due to the new imminent lockdown, performances at the Almeida Theatre will begin from as early as 3 December.

Artistic director Rupert Goold announced a new season of programming at the Almeida Theatre, which will begin over Christmas 2020 and run into 2021. The socially distant season will feature three world premieres, as well as digital screenings, the second year of the theatre's playwriting program, and digital offerings for schools. 

“Having gratefully received a grant from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, we are very pleased to be offering a season of work playing through Christmas and into 2021," Goold said in a statement. "The theatre has been reconfigured for social distancing, with a reduced capacity of 120 – about a third of our usual size. Acknowledging the context and timing of our re-opening, we decided that it was imperative to produce new work this winter: to provide employment to staff and freelancers, to welcome our audiences, supporters and local community back into the building, and to reunite our young artist groups."

The season will begin in December with the world premiere of Nine Lessons and Carols: stories for winter, created by playwright Chris Bush, Almeida Associate Director Rebecca Frecknall, and a company of actors and musicians. With the disclaimer that this play is "not a Corona play," the story explores what connection in isolation looks like. Performances will be 2 December - 9 Jan. 2021, and the cast will feature Naana Agyei-Ampadu (Caroline or Change – West End; Measure for Measure – Shakespeare’s Globe); Katie Brayben (Beautiful: the Carole King Musical – West End, winner of Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical; King Charles III – Almeida); Toheeb Jimoh (Anthony – BBC One; A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Sheffield Crucible); Elliot Levey (Three Sisters and Mary Stuart – Almeida); Maimuna Memon (Jesus Christ Superstar – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; Ghost Quartet – Boulevard Theatre), and Luke Thallon (Albion – Almeida; Leopoldstadt – West End).

Next up is the world premiere of Carmen Nasr's The Maladies, directed by Diyan Zora. The play, which follows what happens when a group of women in London fall silent, was devised with the Almeida Young Company. Performances will be 18 - 22 Jan. 2021.

The third and final world premiere of the season will be Hymn by Lolita Chakrabarti, directed by Blanche McIntyre. The play with music follows the lives of two men who meet at a funeral and form a deep bond as they explore their own fragile identities. The production will star Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani. 

The Genesis Almeida New Playwrights, Big Plays Programme will enter its second year with seven writers. The program is supported by the Genesis Foundation and supports emerging and mid-career writers to develp new plays for larger spaces. The writers for 2020-21 are Zia Ahmed, Emma Dennis-Edwards, Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Yasmin Joseph, Carmen Nasr, Molly Taylor, and Temi Wilkey.

Finally, the Almeida's productions of Mike Bartlett's Albion and John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi were captured digitally and will be available exclusively for schools. 

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