So Little Red has packed her basket, and her five – no four, apricots – to head off to Elsmere Port for her final week of performances with our partners at Action Transport. Back here in Liverpool the Unity staff team are scurrying around to empty our Hope Place home in preparation for handing over the keys to our contractor VivArk to deliver our capital project, Build Unity Better.
But the creativity doesn’t stop as we temporarily leave our Hope Street home.
Far from it.
In fact two Unity connected shows started rehearsals this week. Unity Commission Five Minutes More by Travelled Companions went into the rehearsal room ahead of its first performance at our partner venue The Atkinson, Southport. Look closely at the picture and you might recognise a familiar face from last years Christmas show Princess and the Pea….
Back at our temporary offices in Stanley Buildings, Hanover Street (thank you Liverpool One) we were delighted to welcome Box of Tricks to our play space to start three weeks of rehearsals for Narvick by Lizzie Nunnery which goes on national tour in February. Lizzie is the Liverpool writer of the moment – alongside Narvik (which you can see at Bluecoat Arts (27 Feb – 3 Mar) , The Sum opens at the Everyman and then she is back at the Unity with one of our re-opening commissions Horny Handed Tons of Soil inspired by Adrian Henri as part of the Hope Street celebration of the Mersey Poets.
It’s not just Lizzie and Box of Tricks who are going to be making use of the ‘play space’ in our Stanley Buildings home. In total 12 different companies, and over 100 artists will be spending 60 odd days in the play space researching, developing, testing and experimenting. It’s going to be a pleasure and privilege to be working alongside such creativity for the next twelve weeks!
And its not just about rehearsing, developing and researching. As we hand over the building to the builders we’re going off site with our Out of Space season, a season that reaches out of the theatre and into the community, with a selection of bold and reactive shows.
Whilst our Play Space is drawing on Unity Theatre’s aims to collaborate and encourage new and burgeoning talent, our Out of Space programme is out to tackle current issues and say the important things that would otherwise go unsaid.
CATHY (11 Feb) by Cardboard Citizens at Liverpool Cathedral exploring homelessness is already sold out (if you can say that for a free event), but watch this space for additional performances. If you can get in please, please go!
Talking of ‘free’ our legendary creative arts Splatts programme (for 5-13 years olds) is going off on tour to libraries across Merseyside. Catch sessions at Toxteth, Spellow Lane, The Atkinson (Southport) and Norris Green Libraries. More details and sign up info here.
We’re so excited to be working with our inspirational colleagues at Merseyside Dance Initiative to create a pop-up dance house for LEAP 2017. From 1st – 12th March, LEAP 2017 will be taking over the city centre’s latest venue, Make Liverpool, to offer a bloody brilliant programme of extraordinary dance. Of course I’m looking forward to Hetain Patel (who spent time at Unity earlier in 2016 developing this show), but look out too for Project O (if you saw SWAGGA here at Unity as part of DaDa you’ll know why you have to be there) and the hot tip of the town has to be Gary Clarke’s COAL.
Then we’ll be loitering in the Make Liverpool space to host an extraordinary physical theatre piece Gaudete (17-18 March), an adaptation of Ted Hughes poetic novel about an Anglican vicar who who is abducted by spirits, duplicated and returned to the world a changed man.
And our Out of Space season kicks off this month at the Capstone Theatre with Mandela Theatre’s Night Light a drama which explores the plight of two children seeking asylum in the UK.
Please do join us as we go Out of Space for the next four months…..and then join us – back in our revitalised, refreshed, reenergised Unity home in Hope Place in May!!
For more information, as always, visit unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk