As the UK heads to the polls – the Unity (together with producers China Plate) are bringing to Liverpool some of the very best, independent political theatre out there today. It promises to be one hell of a week! Here’s the season’s trailer…
Here’s what Lyn Gardner of the Guardian wrote about the season:
As the election looms, the Unity Theatre brings together a terrific programme interrogating the democratic process, asking who gets their voice heard, who is marginalised and what can we do about inequality. Each night includes a specially commissioned Ballad Box Ballot written by a local writer, which will play alongside that night’s main show. The latter are a very fine collection, kicking off with Touretteshero’s Backstage in Biscuit Land (Tues), with subsequent nights featuring Chris Thorpe’s Confirmation (Wed); Coney’s Early Days of a Better Nation (Fri); and Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donhahoe’s heart wrenching Every Brilliant Thing (Sat)
The programme open on Tuesday 5th May
From 5.45 along Hope Street – Collective Encounters present What If (free, street performance concluding at the Unity at 18.15)
At 19.00 as part of Sherif – Ballad Box Ballot – written and performed by former Unity Theatre members Aimee Marnell, Chloe Nezianya and Jahnay Dalrymple.
Our Main Story Tonight – fresh, responsive and immediate theatre inspired by the major news stories of the week. From Sherriff, run by Nick Walker. Tickets and further info here.
Then at 8.30pm after sell out performances at DaDa Festival Touretteshero return with the must see Backstage in Biscuit Land. Tickets and more info here.
Then on Wednesday 6 May, election eve the programme heads a little deeper and darker…
At 19.00, our second Ballot Box Ballad, Chris Fittock’s Supernatural Violence. Quiet poverty haunts our streets, the spectre of austerity, a ghost of slow decay is creeping doorsills and devouring kitchens while we sleep.
Supernatural Violence is followed by Chris Thorpe’s Fringe First winning Confirmation – an attempt to have an honourable dialogue with political extremism. You can read much more about the show and why Chris made it in this Guardian post here.
Tickets and more info here
At 9.30pm Doom Metal takes over with the arrival of #torycore ‘a twisted avant garde band that plays like a verbatim record of a government ripping society’s guts out’.
Tickets and more info here
Thursday 7 May
Throughout the week artist and performer Daniel Bye will be working with a group of young people from across Liverpool, who, simply because they are not yet 18, don’t have a voice in this election. The evening features
- extracts from political work being made by youth theatres from across the city.
- The Evening News, award winning rolling-rapid-response theatre!
- Animals – our third Ballot Box Ballad, by 20 Stories High, directed by Keith Saha
Friday 8 May
As the mandarins and politicians battle over the potential look, feel and colour of our new government U Decide welcomes Coney ( ‘the future of British Theatre’ (the guardian)) with their new show Early Days (of a Better Nation). It’s a piece of interactive theatre where performer and audience explore the possibilities of nationhood and democracy.
Just before Coney is our fourth and final Ballad Box Ballot Five Giants by Joe Ward Munroe. As the job centre clock ticks by, Jim fights back the memories from his time in Afghanistan and begins to wonder just who he was fighting for.
Friday rounds off (at 10pm) when Jonny and the Baptists bring their unique blend of songs, satire and silliness to the big election issues. Who knows they might even be writing a new Coalition Blues song just for the night!
Saturday 9th May
Pretty much direct from New York and almost universal acclaim (and I’m afraid you’ll have to fight for returns) its great to welcome to Unity the Pentabus/ Paines Plough show Every Brilliant Thing.
That’s followed at 8.30pm by our final show of the series – a welcome return for Nick Walker and Sherrif combined with a chance to see all four Ballot Box Ballads back to back. A closing election based show which will undoubtedly combine the intensity of the newsroom, cutting edge satire and who knows – a little bit of hope for the future.
There has been quite a lot of talk about political theatre and its potential impact – here are a few of the recent (and not so recent) articles:-
Can pre election theatre offer a fresh view of politics (from the BBC)
Theatre the nations debating chamber (from the Guardian)
Election fever (from the evening standard)
Why British Theatre has gone election mad (from the Guardian, with a Judi Dench nod!)
Whats next for political theatre (asks the financial times)
Asking Questions – theatre and politics (my blog)
Does political theatre make any difference at all? A #UDecide debate
Part One with PPC for Wavertree, LEP Youth Theatre Member Niamh McCarthy
Part Three with Matthew Elliot (of Collective Encounters), Josette Bushell-Mingo and Laurence Clark
And where to after #UDecide
Unity are co-producing (with Hightide and Soho Theatre) Anders Lustgarten powerful **** Lampedusa. The show comes to Liverpool from September 24th to October 3rd and tickets are available here (two performances are already sold out).