The transformed Perth Theatre will be a space for everyone, engaging audiences of all ages when it reopens with family panto Aladdin this December.
Artistic director Lu Kemp has created a launch programme featuring the best work from local, national and international artists that builds on the rich heritage of the theatre in new and exciting ways.
As well as a homecoming for Perth panto, other season highlights in the restored Edwardian auditorium include the first performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III in Perth Theatre for nearly 100 years and the most internationally performed modern Scottish play next to JM Barrie’s Peter Pan – David Harrower’s Knives in Hens. Visiting productions include Edinburgh International Festival hit, Wind Resistance performed by leading Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart. The new Studio will host specially selected shows for kids and families as well as a series of short shows every Friday and Saturday across March covering dance theatre, music theatre, comedy and compelling storytelling. The Monday Night Thing in the Studio will showcase fantastic live music across the jazz, blues, soul and trad spectrum every Monday at 8pm.
The doors to the restored and redeveloped Perth Theatre will open on Monday 13 November when the public will be able to access Box Office and the Theatre Café and Bar.
Funding for the £16.6m project has been pledged from project partners Perth & Kinross Council, Creative Scotland, The Gannochy Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, other trusts and foundations, individual donations and other supporters and funding bodies.
Perth panto comes home in Aladdin, the first show in the restored Perth Theatre auditorium from Saturday 9 December to Saturday 6 January. Audiences will join Perth’s favourite dame Barrie Hunter and heroes Aladdin and Jasmine as they save the world from baddy Abanazer. Lu Kemp directs the foot-stamping, toe-tapping fabulous family panto as it takes its rightful place back in the gloriously restored auditorium.
David Harrower’s dark rural drama, Knives in Hens from Thursday 1 to Saturday 17 February is the next home-produced show on the main stage. Directed by Lu Kemp, a dream-play, a thriller and a love triangle, Knives in Hens tells the story of a young woman breaking free from the constraints of the god-fearing village she grows up in.
Richard III hasn’t been performed in Perth Theatre for nearly a hundred years, so it is a long overdue return for the Shakespearian thriller in the Perth Theatre production from Saturday 17 to Saturday 31 March. Lu Kemp directs Shakespeare’s darkly funny, twisted political drama about grabbing power, no matter what the cost.
Scotland’s leading singer-songwriter Karine Polwart stars in Wind Resistance from Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 April. The runaway hit of the Edinburgh International Festival 2016, this compelling fable for our modern world is directed by Wils Wilson (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart).
Shows in the Studio for kids and families include Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s international hit show White, a highly visual and playful first-time theatre experience for very young children on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 February (to date it has played over 1000 shows world-wide with many audiences returning time and again). Older young audiences (7 plus) will go on a mission with a very special Ape in Space Ape by Andy Cannon and Red Bridge Arts on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 April. And also for 7 plus, Baba Yaga on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 May is a new take on an old Russian folk tale.The Studio Season of shows on Fridays and Saturdays throughout March features MJ McCarthy’s Turntable, Plan B for Utopia, Anita Vettesse’s Ringroad with Aberfeldy Drama Club, Lung Ha and Sibelius Academy’s Three Sisters, plus The Duke, and Me and Robin Hood.
In addition, Perth Theatre will tour a production written by award-winning playwright Kieran Hurley. Created through interviews with farmers and locals, the play will travel to venues across Perthshire in April/May. Artists residencies and Associate Artists will give audiences unprecedented access to artistic processes and the development of new work.
And, in an exciting season sign-off, Scottish theatre brings its annual party to Perth Theatre on Sunday 10 June as Perth hosts the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2018 (CATS). CATS celebrates the actors, directors, playwrights and other theatre artists who have made the most thrilling contributions of the year. Open to all, CATS 2018 is a chance for Perth audiences to mingle with the winners and show off their newly transformed venue to the wider theatre community.
Artistic director for Perth Theatre, Lu Kemp said:
“We are thrilled to be bringing Perth Theatre back home. We are looking forward to opening a building in which artists and audiences can meet and share ideas. We want Perth Theatre to be local and international: for our stages to celebrate this beautiful, vibrant part of the world, and for the theatre to be a place that artists from all over want to come and make work, because they know their work will be given the strongest support and welcome. Perth Theatre will be a space for everyone, to spend time in with a book or with family and friends and to enjoy a healthy serving of drama, music, comedy - and great food!”
Councillor Ian Campbell, Leader of Perth & Kinross Council, said:
“It’s not long now until the doors to the theatre reopen and members of the public will be able to see for themselves that it has been worth the wait. The programme for the season launch of the new Perth Theatre is an exciting one, with a diverse and engaging range of shows and performances being offered. I look forward to hearing from everyone who visits the theatre over the coming months what they think and the building and the range of productions being offered.”
Bookers of three season productions Knives in Hens, Richard III and Wind Resistance have priority until Tuesday 7 November. Seating preference subject to availability. Individual shows can be booked from Tuesday 7 November. Visit www.horsecross.co.uk
For tickets and info contact Horsecross Arts Box Office on 01738 621031 visit www.horsecross.co.uk