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Spring 2020 at Southwark Playhouse

Season preview

SOUTHWARK Playhouse has announced its Spring 2020 programme and it includes:

Cops by Tony Tortora – January 15 to February 1 (The Little).

Chicago. 1957. Four cops, of different ages, classes and races, and filled with suspicion of each other, must grab a gangster turned state witness before ‘the Mob’ can get him.

Outside their office, the world is changing. The Civil Rights movement. Race riots. Mass consumerism. Rock ‘n’ Roll. Elvis has arrived. Sex is everywhere.

Cops was inspired by real-life events in the often brutal and corrupt world of 1950’s Chicago policing and mob violence. With wit, humour and razor-sharp, fast-moving dialogue, this emotionally powerful and poignant new play movingly reveals the men’s personal stories.

Cops is directed by Andy Jordan and has set and costume design by Anthony Lamble, lighting design by Chris Corner and composition and sound design by Simon Slater.

People Show 137 by People Show – February 5 to February 29 (The Little).

1966, a Soho basement. The People Show was born. Born site specific, immersive, screaming and always visual.

With the British Library archiving their first 50 years, they surge onwards.

From the troubadours of the Parisian boulevards of yesteryear to today’s global corporate domination, People Show 137: God Knows How Many, will take audiences precisely nowhere. But on the way they will laugh, possibly cry, and feel a sense of what it is we might be doing here.

Emil Wolk, George Khan, Mark Long – People Show stalwarts – and Bill Palmer of Avanti Display, come together for a new show. Years of tumbling, verbal and musical gymnastics are taken to the next dimension – a darker dimension where the momentary nature of life is confronted and challenged.

The Last Five Years presented by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment in association with Edward Prophet – February 28 to March 28 (The Large).

Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical is an emotionally powerful and intimate show about two New Yorkers who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The musical’s unconventional structure unfolds as Cathy tells her story in reverse, from the end of their turbulent relationship, whilst Jamie tells his story chronologically from the spark of their initial meeting. The two characters meet only once, at their wedding in the middle of the show.

Now, this iconic musical returns to London, in a bold new actor-musician production with the actors onstage at all times and playing the piano to add a new narrative dimension to the story, accompanied by a four piece band.

Producer Katy Lipson and Director Jonathan O’Boyle in a joint statement said: “We have both been huge fans of this brilliant show from its UK premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2006. But we didn’t want to just bring it back to the stage in its original form, we wanted to look at the piece in a fresh new way, for a new audience.

The Last Five Years has such a pianistic driven score, with wonderful songs and an incredible story, so we wanted to explore what would happen if the actors remained part of the whole story, and never left the stage; instead playing the piano to further interact with the music. We can’t wait to develop this more in the rehearsal room and bring this new version of the musical to the wonderful Southwark Playhouse next February.”

Casting will be announced in due course.

Anything Is Possible If You Think About It Hard Enough by Cordelia O’Neill – April 1 to April 25 (The Little).

Alex and Rupert aren’t a conventional match but a caffeinated meeting on the underground ignites a spark. Skip forward to them fighting over baby names, nursery colours and ways to save money. All the signs of a normal family in waiting.

Then Alex goes into labour, their baby is born still and their world implodes.

What follows is a window into how a couple find the strength to move forward, the will to stay together, and the determination to keep the memory of their child alive.

This is a new play that takes audiences to the depth of grief to find hope, to the edge of insanity to find reason and finds humour in the most unexpected places.

The production is directed by Kate Budgen and designed by Camilla Clarke, with lighting design by Sally Ferguson and sound design by Beth Duke. Casting is still to be announced.

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep – April 29 to May 23 (The Little).

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep follows the journeys of five individual characters over one night, each struggling in different ways with an inability to sleep. As the play moves from dusk to dawn, audiences observe their sometimes bizarre nocturnal activities and failed attempts at regaining their sleep.

Humour alternates with pathos as the five, all in their 60s and 70s, gradually reveal the reasons for their sleeplessness. The journey through the night delves into their inner lives, and the pursuit of not only a good night’s sleep but of answers to much bigger existential questions.

Devised by a company of older actors aged 60+ and led by the acclaimed veteran director and renowned master of ensemble, Mike Alfreds, this play was conceived in response to the current public health crisis of insomnia, now characterised by sleep scientists as ‘a silent epidemic’, with 30% of the UK population now suffering from some form of sleep disturbance.

Operation Mincemeat written and composed by SpitLip (David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoe Roberts) – May 14 to May 23 (The Large).

Following a sell-out run in The Little set for January 2020, SpitLip are back with the latest incarnation of their new musical Operation Mincemeat. The team are continuing the show for a limited run of nine performances.

The year is 1943 and we’re losing the war. Luckily, we’re about to gamble all our futures on a stolen corpse.

Operation Mincemeat is Singin’ in the Rain meets Strangers on a Train, Noel Fielding meets Noel Coward. Discover the fast-paced, hilarious and unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler?

Operation Mincemeat has been nominated for ‘Best Ensemble in a New Production of a Play or Musical’ at the Broadway World Awards 2019 and for five Off West End Awards including Best New Musical, Best Company Ensemble, Best Set Design, Best Musical Director and Best Sound Design. The team also recently took home the prestigious Stage Debut Award for “Best Composer/Lyricist.

Operation Mincemeat has choreography by Jenny Arnold, set and costume design by Sherry Coenen and sound design by Dan Balfour. The cast includes David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson, Jak Malone and Zoe Roberts.

For more information and to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7407 0234 or visit

An update on our new home from The Southwark Playhouse Team.

“The builders are now on site and we are in week 4 of 17 of the construction of our brand new, purpose-built theatre in the Elephant. Work is currently on schedule for us to move in in March 2020. We’ll keep you posted with a blog about how it’s all going soon and news of the first season of shows next year.

“We also have an update about our beloved current home on Newington Causeway. In great news, we’re confirmed to be staying on for at least the next couple of years, continuing to programme shows in The Large and The Little.”