RSC PILOT Night 12 July 2012

5 July 2012

Thursday 12 July at 7.30pm
Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB
Box Office: 0844 800 1110 or book online

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is presenting an evening of new theatre ideas in July as part of this year's World Shakespeare Festival (WSF). Excerpts from these new pieces, still in the development stage, will be performed during the RSC PILOT Night, which takes place from 7.30pm on Thursday 12 July at The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The RSC is pleased to present these performances in partnership with PILOT Nights, a group of independent theatre makers in Birmingham who host a regular programme of 'scratch' nights that give artists the opportunity to experiment with their craft and develop their ideas in front of a live audience.

The special evening of experimental work at the Courtyard Theatre has a Shakespearean twist and will showcase artists from the West Midlands trying out new material in public for the very first time.

Earlier in the year the RSC and the people behind PILOT Nights invited theatre makers to submit proposals for brand new theatrical pieces inspired by the characters, language, themes and plots from Shakespeare's writings. Having received over forty applications, five artists were selected by a panel of directors and producers from the RSC and the independent theatre sector.

With behind the scenes support from the RSC's creative teams, the selected artists have developed their pieces over the past few months and are now ready to give these 'works in progress' their first public airing at the Courtyard Theatre. The event will provide a great opportunity for audience members to see how brand new theatre ideas are formed and staged.

The RSC PILOT Night will have an informal feel and audiences will be encouraged to stay after the show and talk with the theatre companies, ask questions about the performances and feedback their thoughts. With each piece lasting approximately twenty minutes, the evening will present a glorious mix of the comic and touching, the spectacular and peculiar.

Geraldine Collinge, Director of Events and Exhibitions at the RSC said:

'The RSC is particularly pleased to be working with PILOT Nights on a project that has been created especially by and for West Midlands based artists. The World Shakespeare Festival has provided creative freedom to begin exciting new partnerships like this one, enriching the ongoing work from within the Events and Exhibitions team at the RSC and championing work with artists from the independent theatre sector. It promises to be an exceptional evening, offering new perspectives on Shakespeare's work and asking pertinent questions about how and why we make new theatre.'

Paul Warwick of PILOT Nights said:

'PILOT Nights began 10 years ago with one objective: to provide a platform for theatre makers from the West Midlands and beyond to try out new ideas in front of a lively and supportive crowd. The landscape has shifted a lot in the last decade but the values surrounding this core idea have not. We now work with a range of venue partners to help us link artists and audiences in this way and are delighted that the RSC has joined us to produce this unique event - supporting contemporary artists to respond to the work of our region's most famous son.'

The following performances will be taking place as part of the RSC PILOT Night:

A Little Thing
By Caroline Horton and Teasel Theatre Company

Welcome to Bar Illyria, a jazz club on the coast. Unbeknown to the patrons, a cruise liner has been lost at sea with only one survivor, Charlie. Thinking that the place needs reviving Charlie volunteers to perform. His tale unfolds through jazz standards and an unlikely story between singer and pianist begins. A Little Thing is a vibrant new show with song inspired by Shakespeare's comedies and contemporary cabaret.

The Dark Lady
By Graeme Rose
A duet for bassoon and actor, drawing from Sonnets 128 and 129, A Dark Lady fixes its gaze on the puzzling relationship at the heart of Shakespeare's late sonnet sequence and attempts to provide a voice to the elusive and mysterious subject of these verses.

We're Only Here Today
By Talking Birds
We're Only Here Today is the story of a woman who we never see. Inspired by Lear's daughter, the banished Cordelia, our unseen heroine's tale is told only through the suppositions and intuitions made about her by two doorstep salesmen. What they're selling seems to slip, but their various strategies and tactics unlock a life full of richness, tragedy, and hope.

Come Heavy Sleep
By Kindle Theatre
Inspired by Robert Johnson's Lute composition of the same name, Come Heavy Sleep is a murder story told in reverse. The idea is inspired by the way we often remember the most striking moments within stories, out of chronological order. Using this idea as a structure, Kindle tells a Shakespearean tale of love and murder in a highly stylised form.

When I Was Old, When I Get Young
By Lucy Ellinson
When I Was Old, When I Get Young captures what we've come to understand to be human and is created in response to Shakespeare's 'SevenAges of Man' speech. Lucy has worked with local performers with little or no stage experience, aged across a 'life span' from a baby to an octogenarian, capturing their observations and reflections on their past and future lives. In doing so she hopes to provide insight into how we understand our own human experience and sense of progression, our physical being and ultimately our mortality.

The RSC PILOT Night takes place at the Courtyard Theatre at 7.30pm on Thursday 12 July 2012. All tickets £5.To book call the RSC Box Office on 0844 800 1110 or book online.

For further press information, please contact Mark Farnan in the RSC press office, E: or T: 01789 272438.

Caroline Horton
is currently developing new show Mess, which has been commissioned by Triggered@Warwick, BAC and Parabola Arts Centre and will premiere at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2012. Her previous show You're not Like the Other Girls Chrissy won best Solo Performer in the 2010 Stage awards. Caroline recently became an associate artist at The Bush Theatre.

Teasel is currently touring Grisly Tales from Tumblewater, a one-man family show. Artistic Director Edward Jaspers co-wrote Hamlet! The Musical (Pleasance, Edinburgh/Northampton Royal & Derngate/Richmond Theatre Royal).

Graeme Rose is a co-founder of Stan's Cafe and The Resurrectionists and Associate Artist with Bodies In Flight and Various People. He has worked with Companies including Talking Birds, Foursight, Red Shift and Imitating the Dog.

Talking Birds is a Coventry based theatre company. It works in a range of art forms and scales in venues across the UK and internationally, from the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank, to a cavernous underground car park in Scarborough, to a decommissioned hospital in Coventry. Their most recent theatre production was the football show We Love You City (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry).

Kindle Theatre creates performances that seek to playfully reinvent the theatrical experience; exploring intimate and communal exchanges within the live event. Projects range from a large-scale theatrical banquet to an epic rock gig.

Lucy Ellinson is an actor and director and an associate artist with Third Angel and Forest Fringe. Upcoming performances include OH THE HUMANITY (and other good intentions) and A Thousand Shards of Glass by Jane Packman Company at Northern Stage (St Stephens) as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2012. Lucy also works with communities to document their oral histories and is a selector for the National Student Drama Festival.

Since 2002 PILOT Nights have been providing a platform for theatre makers from the West Midlands to try out new ideas in front of a supportive crowd. PILOT works with a range of venues across the region, presenting 'scratch nights' and linking venue partners, artists and audiences together.


The World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe. It runs until November 2012 and forms part of the London 2012 Festival which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012.
The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.


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