Artistic Director Hamish Glen takes courage from Coventry’s history of resilience as the theatre launches its Autumn Season
Tickets for the Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn Season go on general release today with a whole range of exciting productions to look forward to when the lockdown is lifted. Highlights of the forthcoming season include the return of its sell-out staging of Noughts and Crosses, a chance to meet favourite kids’ TV characters in Milkshake! Live, and Groan Ups, the latest chaotic comedy from the producers of The Play That Goes Wrong.
Since announcing that its doors would remain shut to the public for the rest of the current Spring Season (up to and including Saturday 4 July), the Belgrade Theatre has been working hard to ensure that it remains connected with its communities during the lockdown, offering a wide range of online activity to keep audiences inspired and entertained via its Between Stages hub at belgrade.co.uk/between-stages.
Belgrade Theatre Artistic Director Hamish Glen said: “Theatres, just like football clubs and churches, provide a vital role in giving all of us somewhere to gather as a community; to share our stories and to experience events together as a group. To join together in this way to hear stories, to dance or listen to live music is a human instinct as old as time so it’s only natural that we feel that sense of loss just now.
“It’s important, I believe, to keep looking ahead to better days, and with that in mind, we’ve just put our new Autumn Season on sale so that we all have something positive we can look forward to later in the year. Of course, we also have an exciting City of Culture year ahead of us, which will no doubt feel even more celebratory in light of current events”
Full productions now available to watch online include the critically acclaimed Wise Children and Crongton Knights (both co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre), as well as shows from companies previously scheduled to tour to Coventry this season, such as Original Theatre Company’s The Croft and The Habit of Art, and a number of Shakespeare productions from regular visitors Oddsocks.
Other things to look out for in their online programme include Shoot Festival’s online scratch night, Shut Down But Scratching (now available in BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described versions), and Generations, a virtual photography exhibition run in partnership with Coventry University and The Roma Project. There are also a range of weekly activities to look forward to including:
- Monday Makes – Weekly craft activities curated in partnership with the Belgrade’s Craft On group
- Storytime – Children’s storytelling videos posted at 2.30pm every Tuesday
- Pub Quizzes – Theatre-themed quizzes every Tuesday night on Facebook
- Weducation – Educational activities and videos every Wednesday
- Locked In podcasts – updates from the Belgrade’s 2021 Co-Artistic Directors
- A virtual play reading and discussion group – details to be announced
Meanwhile, the forthcoming Autumn Season will feature as diverse a range of shows as ever, giving people plenty to look forward to once tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 28 April.
The season begins on Sat 5 Sep with James Rowland’s Songs of Friendship, a trilogy combining storytelling, comedy and music in a deeply personal journey through love, death, friendship and the muddles of everyday existence. Then from 10-12 Sep, Theatre Accord and Tara Arts in association with the Belgrade Theatre and The Production Exchange present Anthony Clark’s SHE, a sequence of seven short plays exploring the experiences of a range of female characters from childhood to old age.
Fans of new writing can also look forward to Ifeyinwa Frederick’s Sessions from 24-26 Sep, a raw, funny, bittersweet dive into the complexities of masculinity, therapy and accepting our own vulnerabilities, fully integrated with British Sign Language. Themes of mental health also emerge in Lola Chakrabarti’s Calmer. Showing 4-14 Nov, this story of three generations of women is co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre and directed by acclaimed actor Adrian Lester.
Dougie Blaxland’s Getting the Third Degree will unite sports and theatre fans to tell the story of Laurie Cunningham from 30 Sep-3 Oct, the first millionaire black footballer, the first player of colour signed to Real Madrid, and – along with Cyrille Regis and Brendan Batson – the first of the black footballing trio famously dubbed The Three Degrees.
Thrill-seekers should look out for Adam Z. Robinson’s Upon the Stair, a trio of macabre tales combining storytelling, live music and integrated BSL in a thrilling gothic show just in time for Halloween, as well as a new production of chilling black comedy The Cat and the Canary from The Classic Thriller Theatre Company. Meanwhile, those seeking something light-hearted to lift their spirits can look out for more of Mischief Theatre’s trademark madness and mayhem in Groan Ups from 28 Sept-3 Oct, as well as a hilarious parody of a much-loved Netflix series in The Crown – Live!, showing from 23-28 Sep.
Hot on the heels of the recent BBC One TV adaptation, Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses returns to the Belgrade from 7-10 Oct, this time on the Main Stage. For families, Birmingham Stage are back from 20-24 Oct with Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, and little ones will have the chance to meet favourite TV characters including Fireman Sam, Noddy and more in Milkshake! Live on Mon 26 Oct.
As ever, there’ll be a sparking Christmas celebration with this year’s panto, Beauty and the Beast showing from 28 Nov-9 Jan, but the festive fun doesn’t stop there! Following the return of Russian State Ballet with The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake from 12-14 Nov, Imagine Theatre present another preschool-friendly production, with Santa’s Christmas Rescue in December.
As well as theatre, there’ll be live music from Fascinating Aida on Sat 31 Oct and an eclectic mix of tribute artists throughout the season, plus a chance to sing along to your favourite movie musicals with Sing-a-Long-ascreenings of The Greatest Showman and The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Sat 23 Jan.
Hamish Glen added: “Thank you on behalf of the Belgrade and all its staff, for the many messages of support, the donations and the goodwill that you’ve shown us since we were forced to temporarily close our doors to the public. It’s been a welcome reminder of the special part the Belgrade plays in the lives of so many of you, and the important hub our building is in the heart of Coventry.
Coventry has a long history of resilience and its ability to adapt and overcome challenges remains at the heart of our identity. We lean on this resilience now and take courage from it as we pull together and continue to sow seeds for the future.”
Tickets to the Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn/Winter Season are on general release from Tuesday 28 April. For more information and to book, please visit www.belgrade.co.uk. Please note that bookings are currently online-only while our building is temporarily closed.
For further media information or images please contact Heather Kincaid on T: 024 7684 6703
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The Belgrade Theatre Trust is a registered charity (number 219163). This means that all the The BelgradeTheatre Trust is a registered charity (number 219163). This means that all the money given, raised or earned is not distributed as profit but kept and reinvested in the work that we do. We are reliant on the valued support of our donors and sponsors to ensure that we can continue to develop our artistic and educational work and remain central to the communities that we serve.
- The Belgrade Theatre is supported by Arts Council England who champion, develop and invest in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. Between 2018 and 2022, they plan to invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
- The Belgrade Theatre is part of a network of organisations promoting engagement with arts and culture in the lead-up to Coventry’s City of Culture year in 2021. In December 2017, supporters of the Coventry bid gathered at the Belgrade Theatre in the heart of the city to watch the announcement live from Hull, with press on hand to broadcast their reactions to the country. In 2021, three Co-Artistic Directors – Corey Campbell, Balisha Karra and Justine Themen – will take over the Theatre’s producing programme for the year, delivering a diverse mix of shows and events to reflect the drive and ambition of Coventry’s City of Culture bid.