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Arcola Theatre announces Autumn 2019 season

Season preview

ARCOLA Theatre has announced its Autumn 2019 season: seven shows that explore the power of truth and imagination in troubled times. There are two London premieres, one UK premiere, one European premiere and one world premiere.

Every play in the season has been written or adapted by a female writer, and over half are directed by women. Arcola co-produces with trailblazing companies, from some of the youngest to one of the most established in the world.



The European premiere of Until The Flood – written and performed by Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman, Young Vic) and directed by Neel Keller, it runs from September 4 to September 28.

Missouri, 2014. Michael Brown, a black teenager, is shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

A tidal wave of unrest sweeps across the nation, powered by a new activist movement called Black Lives Matter. Its ripples are felt all over the world.

In this gripping and revelatory drama, based on real-life interviews from the aftermath of the shooting, Dael Orlandersmith journeys into the heart and soul of modern-day America.

Confronting the powerful forces of history, race and politics, she embodies the many faces of a community rallying for justice, and a country still yearning for change.

The London premiere of Meet Me At Dawn – written by Zinnie Harris and directed by Murat Daltaban, it runs from October 9 to November 9.

I was near to death but I got this incredible surge, this superhuman surge, and I swam. I swam.

When a boat trip goes horribly wrong, Helen and her girlfriend Robyn find themselves stranded on an island in the middle of the sea. As the night draws in, it becomes clear that the island is not as it first appears. And neither are Helen and Robyn.

Meet Me At Dawn comes to London for the first time in a new production by Murat Daltaban, whose staging of Zinnie Harris’ Rhinoceros (after Ionesco) at the Edinburgh Lyceum won widespread acclaim in 2017.

Zinnie Harris’ plays include How To Hold Your Breath (Royal Court), Further than the Furthest Thing (National Theatre/Tron Theatre) and This Restless House (National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival/Citizens Theatre).

The London premiere of #WeAreArrested – written by Can Dündar, adapted by Pippa Hill and Sophie Ivatts and directed by Sophie Ivatts, it runs from November 13 to December 7.

Arcola’s first co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company is a vital story about the cost of reporting the truth in the age of fake news.

When a journalist is sent a flash-drive containing critical evidence of illegal government activity, he is duty-bound to publish the story. But with the nation destabilised and divided, a sinister power is eroding the rule of law. What price will he pay for speaking out?

#WeAreArrested is a gripping play about fighting for truth in a network of lies.

Adapted from the book by Can Dündar, who was arrested for publishing footage of Turkish State Intelligence sending weapons into Syria, this deeply personal and universal story finds urgent new life as authoritarian politics spread across the globe.

One Under – a Graeae and Theatre Royal Plymouth production, commissioned by Ramps on the Moon and presented in association with Curve, it runs from December 10 to December 21.

Winsome Pinnock (Leave Taking, Bush Theatre) reimagines her 2005 play about the power of guilt and the quest for atonement.

Cyrus drives a Tube train. Sonny jumps in front of it. Desperate to arrive at the truth of what happened, Cyrus is brought to a troubling possibility: that all routes lead back to him.

Award-winning playwright Winsome Pinnock and acclaimed director Amit Sharma (The Solid Life of Sugar Water, National Theatre) join forces for this deeply powerful drama about searching for meaning in a complex world.

Graeae are world-renowned for placing D/deaf and disabled artists centre-stage. This brand new staging of One Under sparks a vital discussion about mental health and invisible disabilities, and features creative captioning and audio description at all performances.

One Under deals with issues and topics which some audience members may find challenging, including depression, paranoia and suicide. It is suitable for ages 16+.


The UK premiere of Anna Bella Eema – written by Lisa D’Amour and directed by Jessica Lazar, it runs from September 11 to October 12.

Something is coming. It’s either the interstate or the end of the world.

Precocious child Annabella lives in a deserted trailer park. Schooled by her eccentric mother Irene, she learns to co-exist with the vampires, werewolves and monsters which lurk in the world outside.

Desperate to ward off the new highway which threatens the demolition of their home, Annabella steps outside to build a girl out of mud. The girl comes to life. The girl is Anna Bella Eema.

Part ghost story, part fairytale, part coming-of-age fantasy, Anna Bella Eema is a dazzling burst of storytelling from the dark heart of American Gothic.

Lisa D’Amour’s wildly inventive, spoken-and-sung odyssey makes its UK premiere in a new and updated version, with original score by Chris Sidorfsky.

Beryl – written by Maxine Peake and directed by Marieke Audsley, it runs from October 16 to November 16.

Meet Beryl Burton, the greatest woman on two wheels, in this trailblazing tale from actor and writer Maxine Peake.

Beryl Burton MBE, OBE – twice World Road-race Champion, five times World Pursuit Champion – was never meant to cycle.

Aged 11, a serious illness left her with a weakened heart. Doctors warned against strenuous exercise for the rest of her life.

Aged 30, branded ‘the Yorkshire housewife’ and with no financial sponsorship, she became the first sportswoman in history to break a men’s competitive record.

Featuring a host of unforgettable characters and a great big dollop of Northern wit, Maxine Peake’s freewheeling play is the extraordinary true story of a woman who pushed at the limits, took on the status quo – and won.

Casting announced

The world premiere of Hunger – a bold new adaptation of the radical novel by Norwegian author Knut Hamsun by Amanda Lomas, directed by Fay Lomas, it runs from November 20 to December 21.

A young man moves to the big city with dreams of becoming a writer. But in this unforgiving metropolis, friends are scarce and jobs are even scarcer. Once hunger rocks the core of his reality, how can his youthful spirit – and his sanity – survive?

Hunger is Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun’s groundbreaking tale about a mind on the margins, and our universal yearning for connection.

Based on his own early experiences of poverty prior to becoming Norway’s most celebrated novelist, Hamsun’s story revolutionised the psychological novel and influenced writers from Franz Kafka to Ernest Hemingway.

This fast-paced new adaptation bursts onto the stage in a timely, world premiere production, directed by the winner of the Peter Hall Emerging Artist Fellowship at the Rose Theatre, Fay Lomas.

For more information or to book tickets, visit