RADA opens its doors for its sixth Festival, bringing together an eclectic range of artists, writers, directors and practitioners and creating work that celebrates the possibilities of theatre today.
The ten-day RADA Festival sees graduates return to the Academy in performances that range from world premieres to continuing tours, from interactive audience participation to rehearsed readings of brand new works in development.
Kathryn Hunter also directs the world premiere of Untouchable, drawing on the life and work of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, a leading voice in the struggle for justice for the ‘untouchables’ of Indian society, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India from British Rule.
Moving between the worlds of the gods and the Indian street, from myth to propaganda, from an ‘untouchable’ boy to the Round Table Conference in London, this play shows the intensity of India’s struggle to win for itself not just independence but justice for all its citizens.
Written by Peter Oswald, the diverse cast includes Nadia Nadarajah, a deaf actress who previously worked alongside Kathryn in Graeae Theatre Company’s production of The House of Bernarda Alba. The performance aims to highlight accessibility and diversity in theatre and in wider societies – both historical and contemporary.
RADA graduate Lily Bevan returns to the RADA Festival with Trump’s Women, a new darkly comic piece exploring the lives of women who voted for the 45th US President. While Bevan engages with political upheaval, other writers focus on personal evolution and revolution, in works that explore transformative journeys to self-understanding:
- The Poetry We Make by Jaswinder Blackwell Pal is a touching new play about love, loss, Dolly Parton and understanding yourself beyond an assumed gender;
- Eris at the Wedding takes a comic look at pervasive tensions between ‘transgressive’ queer identities and traditional nuclear family structures;
- In the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act – which decriminalised homosexuality between men over the age of 21 – Theo Ancient performs Michael Ross’s The Shy Manifesto examining the pressures of sexuality and coming out as a shy teenager in 2017.
Following the 2016 Festival’s forum on Sisterhood, grassroots collective Women@RADA present The Lizzie Play, a theatrical adaptation of the life of Lizzie Borden who was acquitted for the murder of her father and stepmother in 1892. Festival Producer Jo Wiltshire commented:
“We are proud that the RADA Festival is flourishing in its sixth year, and we’re once again thrilled that so many of our graduates are returning to present such diverse, challenging and vibrant work that engages with urgent social and political questions. Audiences will get the opportunity to see a different side of RADA as we explore what theatre can be, and how it can shape our thinking, in 2017.”
Director of RADA Edward Kemp added:
“It’s inspiring that once again the RADA Festival contains so much new writing and new theatre-making by our graduates of all courses. I’m proud that we can provide this platform for our graduates and their associates to develop and share the next steps along their professional journeys.”
The RADA Festival runs from 28 June – 8 July 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.