The Playground Theatre is delighted to announce it will be reopening its doors with a season that – true to its name and mission – has play and experimentation at its heart. From theatre and Shakespeare to music and comedy, audiences are invited to The Playground to share in the joy and exhilaration of artistic play. The venue has been at the forefront of pushing forward with socially distanced live theatre during the pandemic and has already welcomed audiences back twice between lockdowns as government regulations have allowed.
The programme will kickoff Monday 17th May with the third annual RebelFest, an eclectic celebration of individuality featuring singers Jaz Delorean and Susan Harriott, character comedians Siblings, a one-man War and Peace by Jack Klaff, and more.
Other programme highlights include:
Comedian Jenny Éclair will preview her latest work-in-progress, in which she confronts a new decade of decrepitude in an honest conversation about turning 60
Sharing Shakespeare Summer School — a week-long series of theatre courses led by top practitioners, including renowned director Lucy Bailey, inviting actors, directors, students, and Shakespeare enthusiasts to explore some of the Bard’s most iconic texts
Gareth Armstrong’s award-winning and internationally acclaimed Shylock, which explores the world of Shakespeare’s most controversial character from The Merchant of Venice and has toured in over 50 countries
A staged reading of Einstein and Me, featuring Michelle Collins (Cindy Beale in EastEnders and Stella Price in Coronation Street) in a story that inquires into the lives of Einstein and his protégé, Kurt Godel, and the formidable women who dominate their lives
The Playground Theatre has remained active behind the scenes during the past lockdowns and remained deeply engaged with their local community of W10. As well as re-opening for live performance whenever possible, the theatre transformed its Café & Bar into a food charity to provide thousands of meals for those impacted, and hosted their Well Read script reading programme weekly on Zoom to support the mental health of local residents and help alleviate stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation during lockdown. With this reopening, The Playground will continue to develop and expand its outreach programmes to strengthen the social, emotional, and mental resilience of the community through creative engagement.
Co-Artistic Director Anthony Biggs said, “We are thrilled to invite audiences back into The Playground to share in the collective joy and wonder of live performances once again. This diverse mini-season represents everything we are about — projects from all stages of the creative process, from initial concepts to fully-realised productions.
“After such a challenging year and at a time of such momentous upheaval for the arts, we remain deeply committed to serving as a haven for artists and our community to come together to re-engage, heal, and recover. Now is the time to lean into our shared sense of humanity in the spirit of creative cooperation and play.”
The Playground Theatre, Latimer Road, London W10 6RQ
Please note that the pricing below is per seat: for more information on the theatre’s Covid-19 policy and ticket buying policy, please see the notes below under the show listings.
RebelFest 17 May, 7.30pm | £10 per seat
RebelFest returns to The Playground for its third iteration with an eclectic night of music, theatre, and comedy from some of the finest acts in town, including new material and performances by Jaz Delorean (Tankus The Henge) Siblings (inc Soccer Dads) Susan Harriott and Darren Berry (The Trojans) Jack Klaff: War and Peace – A One-Man Show! Robin Katz (London Django Collective) Alma Luso (Gin & Tonic Tales) and Other Special Guests.
Shylock 21 – 22 May, 7.30pm | £18 per seat
Explore the tragic, funny, and often unbelievable life of fiction’s most famous Jew in this acclaimed theatre production that has toured over 50 countries. Written and performed by Gareth Armstrong and directed by Frank Barrie, this play explores the world of Shakespeare’s most controversial character, Shylock, from The Merchant of Venice. It examines religious and racial intolerance, the history of plays in performance and, above all, celebrates the richness of Shakespeare’s language.
Einstein and Me 24 – 25 May, 7.00pm | £10 per seat
In this staged reading, two of the greatest minds of the 20th century pace the streets of Princeton University. Albert Einstein is eating a large cone of his favourite ice-cream. His protégé Kurt Godel refuses to eat at all. The whole world looks on in wonder. What are the eccentric geniuses talking about? They know only that these brilliant men hold in their heads the greatest secret of all: the secret of time. The conflict between the two is mirrored by the formidable women who dominate their lives, Einstein’s secretary, Hannah Schreibel, and Godel’s wife Adele (Michelle Collins, EastEnders). The relationship between these four people reveals the power of love and the frailty of genius.
Jenny Éclair: Work in Progress 26th – 27th May, 7.30pm | £10 per seat
Jenny Éclair AKA “The Face of Vagisan” may have hit age 60, but she’s still a year younger than Madonna, right? Now that it takes 20 minutes of scrolling down to find her DOB when she’s filling in forms online, should she celebrate or crawl into a hole? What will her 60’s hold for this 1960’s babe and is it a legal requirement to buy Nordic walking poles? Join us and Jenny for an exclusive preview of her latest material, in which she confronts a new decade of decrepitude. As the first woman ever to win the Perrier, Jenny has an immense track record of unforgettable work in stand-up, television, radio and podcasts, and writing for both the stage and six critically acclaimed novels.
Sharing Shakespeare Summer School 14th – 19th June
In partnership with Shakespeare in Italy, The Playground Theatre is holding a stimulating and exciting programme of daytime and evening workshops featuring top directors, actors, and practitioners exploring Shakespeare’s texts, dramatic styles and putting scenes on their feet. This is a unique opportunity for participants, whether they be actors and directors themselves or students and Shakespeare enthusiasts, to work with some of the UK’s most accomplished artists including renowned director Lucy Bailey, RSC voice coach Michael Corbidge, actor and director Philip Cumbus and musician Sarah Sayeed. For more information on the full programme please visit the Playground Theatre website.
Information on COVID-19 Policy
In accordance with government guidelines for the “Roadmap out of lockdown” and in the interest of the health, safety, and comfort of our patrons and community, The Playground Theatre will be welcoming back live audiences to socially distanced shows, its Café & Bar, and local community programmes. We are maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness, including regular commercial-grade fogging and antibacterial surface cleaning. All tickets for shows will be available in seating clusters, and guests will be asked by the staff and visible markers to observe social distancing and one-way directional signage within the building. Guests over the age of 11 will be asked to bring and wear a mask when indoors, or purchase one from our box office. As part of Test and Trace, guests will be asked to “check-in” and receive a temperature test. We respectfully reserve the right to refuse admission to any guest who displays signs of being unwell, to protect the health and safety of other guests, our staff, our performers, and our community.
How To Buy Your Ticket
Each single ticket purchase corresponds to the number of seats you need. For example if there are two of you, buy ONE ticket of ‘Room For Two People’ – this will give you two seats in a cluster of socially distant seats.
Each individual ticket as named gives you:
Room For One = one seat
Room For Two People = two seats
Room For Three People = three seats
Room For Four People = four seats
We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause but the venue has to ensure the safety and well-being of all patrons visiting the theatre and the seating restrictions enable us to comply with these requirements and still stage live theatre for you to enjoy.