NEWS: Orange Tree presents UK premiere of US play about race, An Octoroon

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Paul Miller announces the remaining productions in his third season as Artistic Director of the Orange Tree, which will include the UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ OBIE Award-winning ‘pertinent new play about race’ An Octoroon, directed by Ned Bennett. Other highlights in the Orange Tree’s new programme include:

·         The first major revival of Clare McIntyre’s Low Level Panic is directed by JMK Award runner-up Chelsea Walker. It premiered at the Royal Court in 1988. Runs 16 February to 25 March 2017, press night 20 March.

·         Paul Miller directs Marivaux’s The Lottery of Love in a previously unseen version by John Fowles (The French Lieutenant’s Woman) setting it in Regency England. Runs 30 March to 13 May 2017, press night 3 April.

·         Previously announced, the UK premiere of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Winter Solstice, directed by Ramin Gray, a co-production with Actors Touring Company. Runs 12 January to 11 February 2017, press night 18 January.

·         For schools and young people: Twelfth Night is a Shakespeare Up Close production directed by Alex Thorpe, and Primary Shakespeare is King Lear, directed by Imogen Bond. There will be Relaxed Performances for both. Last year’s Shakespeare projects played to over 8,000 young people.

Paul Miller, Artistic Director, comments:

“At a time of increasing isolationism I am especially pleased that in 2017 we have new German and American plays and a fresh version of a major French classic, addressing the big issues of the day: feminism, race and the ever present danger of the far right. In 2016/17 we’ve collaborated with many new producing partners and played to record audiences across the country and this classic OT mix of plays promises to finish the season with a flourish.”

In addition:

·         The OT’s Take Part programme includes a performance of Zero for the Young Dudes! by Alistair McDowall (Pomona) as part of National Theatre Connections, and the Orange Tree Theatre Young Company present My Generation about race and identity.

·         Josie Long, Sharon D Clarke, Lemn Sissay, Jonny & the Baptists and Kieran Hodgson feature in OT Extras, our series of one night performances of the best comedy, music and theatre.

·         The Orange Tree’s MA in Theatre Directing with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, will have a Festival of contemporary plays directed by the students from the course in July 2017.

·         The OT Writers Collective, a group of eight exhilarating playwrights, selected by the OT to spend a year developing their crafts, are Sonali Bhattacharyya, Chris Bush, Daniel Foxsmith, Christian Graham, Sarah Grochala, Eve Leigh, John O’Donovan and Joe White. They will create a response to An Octoroon under the title Uprising: an evening of theatre, politics and melodrama on 18 June.

·         £12 tickets are available to under 30s for all productions Monday to Thursday evenings, with £15 previews for all. Performances will be captioned for the first time at the OT with Stagetext, in addition to already well established Audio Described Performance.

·         The Orange Tree has launched :DISCOVER to raise £100,000 over the next three years. :DISCOVER enables us to innovate, unearth new plays to excite our audience and provoke a reaction beyond our in-the-round space. Match funding is provided through the Arts Council England’s Catalyst: Evolve programme.

An Octoroon

Director Ned Bennett
Designer Georgia Lowe

18 MAY – 24 JUNE
An Orange Tree Theatre production

What you gonna do once you free? You just gonna walk up in somebody house and be like, ‘Hey. I’m a slave. Help me?’

Judge Peyton is dead, and his plantation Terrebonne is in financial ruins. Peyton’s handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent, and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful ‘octoroon’* (*an octoroon is a person of one-eighth black ancestry). But, the dastardly M’Closky has other plans — for both Terrebonne and Zoe.

The UK premiere of the OBIE Award-winning play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, which first premiered in New York in 2014 at Soho Rep and then transferred to Theatre for a New Audience. His 2015 play Gloria was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Other plays include War (2016, Lincoln Center Theater), Appropriate (2012, Signature Theatre) and Neighbors (2010, Public Theater). Jacobs-Jenkins is currently a Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre and master-artist-in-residence in the Playwriting MFA program of Hunter College, City University of New York. He was made a 2016 MacArthur Fellow.

Ned Bennett returns to the Orange Tree to direct following Pomona, which transferred to the National Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre. His other work includes Anna Jordan’s Yen (Royal Court/Royal Exchange Theatre); Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur (Trafalgar Studios/Old Red Lion); and Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts.

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Press Releases on Twitter
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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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