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What we've seen - theatre

  • Date: 8 February 2013
  • Area: London
Felix Scott and Mariah Gale performing in the production  of Gruesome Playground Injuries

Felix Scott and Mariah Gale in Gruesome Playground Injuries. Credit: Ludovic de Cognets

Each month we see as much as possible of the work produced by the hundreds of artists, organisations and projects we fund across the capital – as well as take part ourselves too. This month our staff have picked their theatre highlights. Click on the links below to find out more.

Julius Caesar, Donmar Warehouse Projects Ltd

The production is an all-female version of the Shakespeare text, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Set in a women's prison the audience is complicit in the play within a play concept. The verse is some of the best I have ever seen on stage in London: performances offer restraint and intimacy alongside brutality and violence. There is no way anyone can doubt this as a game changing ground-breaking piece of work. Comedy and pathos never tasted so good. Two things will stay with me for a long time: Harriet Walter as Brutus (this will never be bettered) and doughnuts as weapons of mass destruction.

Deborah Williams, Relationship Manager, Theatre

Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Gate Theatre

Directed by Justin Audibert (recipient of the Leverhulme Bursary for Emerging Directors) – and starring Mariah Gale (Three Sisters, Young Vic) and Felix Scott (The Chair, Lyric Hammersmith) – this is the English premiere of US playwright Rajiv Joseph's Pulitzer-nominated work about an idiosyncratic relationship spanning 30 years. Clinically and effectively staged and beautifully acted.

Alex Rogerson, Relationship Manager, Theatre

Improbable: Devoted and Disgruntled

This month saw two Devoted and Disgruntled (D&D) events taking place in London. Run by Improbable, D&D uses the idea of Open Space to initiate self-organised debate, conversation, imagining and plotting.

D&D: 'Let's really talk about Access' at the Unicorn Theatre brought together a range of about 80 people with an interest in deaf and disabled people's access to the performing arts, as both makers and consumers. The eighth annual D&D 'What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?' took place in Bethnal Green and was attended by about 250 theatre makers.

Across these two events a host of topics were discussed: from digital interaction to physical access within venues: from the lack of casting opportunities for deaf and disabled performers to the business model for producing on the fringe and the perils of scratch performances.

Once again, the desire of theatre-makers to share practice, to influence and be influenced was evident. I was particularly inspired by the discussion around access and equality and hope that those conversations continue to provoke both thought and action. Session reports are available on the D&D website.

Claire Saddleton, Relationship Manager, Theatre