Dominic Cooke to direct Arnold Wesker's Chicken Soup with Barley
Monday 31 January 2011
• Dominic Cooke directs Samantha Spiro in new revival of Arnold Wesker’s landmark play Chicken Soup with Barley in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
• Major Sponsorship announced as Coutts & Co name Royal Court Theatre as Principal Sponsor
• Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award announced
The Royal Court Theatre draws on its rich heritage this summer, reviving Arnold Wesker’s seminal play Chicken Soup with Barley in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.
The Royal Court will also pay tribute to Harold Pinter, one of Britain’s most renowned playwrights with the launch of a new playwriting award in his honour. The theatre’s long-held relationship with Coutts & Co bank will also be reinforced this year as the Royal Court is named as their Principal Sponsor for 2011.
Artistic Director of the Royal Court, Dominic Cooke said:
“Bringing Arnold Wesker’s play back to the Royal Court after 50 years is an exciting prospect. Chicken Soup with Barley is an epic play that spans twenty years in the life of an East End Jewish family. It vividly captures a loss of political idealism, a feeling which chimes with our own confused times. I’m delighted that Samantha Spiro, who I’ve admired for many years, will be playing the pivotal role of the matriarch Sarah Kahn.
“Following their recent support of Get Santa!, it’s exciting to welcome Coutts as the Royal Court’s Principal Sponsor. This year-long partnership celebrates the excellence and vision of both our organisations. We are hugely grateful to Coutts for this support, especially at a time when it is sorely needed.
“The Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award, presented to us by Harold’s widow Antonia Fraser, is another generous contribution to the Royal Court that will allow us to commission a playwright each year. This long-term investment in new plays and playwrights is essential to our cultural landscape and we’re very proud to be able to continue Harold’s legacy at the Royal Court.”
Michael Morley, Chief Executive of Coutts said:
“We are delighted to be able to support this award winning theatre and the exciting line up of cutting-edge productions planned. The Royal Court has been described as ‘the UK’s new writing powerhouse’ and it is essential that the country’s creative talents and arts organisations such as this are supported in these difficult times. Coutts has a long history of supporting the theatre which goes back 200 years and we are very proud to be carrying on this tradition and playing our part in enabling the Royal Court to continue to flourish with its diverse range of ground-breaking performances.”
Chicken Soup with Barley
By Arnold Wesker
Directed by Dominic Cooke
3 June – 9 July 2011
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Press Night, Tuesday 7 June 2011, 7pm
Arnold Wesker’s landmark play Chicken Soup with Barley returns to the Royal Court Theatre from 3 June after more than 50 years in a new revival directed by Artistic Director Dominic Cooke.
Chicken Soup with Barley, the first in a trilogy that includes Roots and I’m Talking about Jerusalem was first performed at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 1958 and transferred to the Royal Court in the same year. The full trilogy was performed at the Royal Court in 1960.
The kettle boils in 1936 as the fascists are marching. Tea is brewed in 1946, with disillusion in the air at the end of the war. Twenty years on, in 1956, as rumours spread of Hungarian revolution, the cup is empty.
Sarah Kahn, an East End Jewish mother, is a feisty political fighter and a staunch communist. Battling against the State and her shirking husband she desperately tries to keep her family together.
A moving and important state-of-the-nation play capturing the collapse of an ideology alongside the disintegration of a family.
Samantha Spiro plays Sarah Kahn. She last appeared at the Royal Court in The Family Plays and most recently appeared in Hello Dolly! at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, for which she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. On television, she recently won a 2011Comedy Award in the Best Female Comedy Breakthrough category for her part in the TV sitcom Grandma’s House on BBC 1. Her other credits include Much Ado About Nothing at Regent’s Park, Twelfth Night at the Donmar Warehouse, and Funny Girl at Chichester Festival Theatre and played Barbara Windsor in Terry Johnson’s TV play Cor, Blimey!
Arnold Wesker’s plays at the Royal Court have included The Wesker Trilogy (Chicken Soup with Barley, Roots and I’m Talking About Jerusalem), The Kitchen, Chips with Everything, Their Very Own and Golden City and The Old Ones. More recently his plays have included Longitude at Greenwich Theatre, Denial at Bristol Old Vic and Break My Heart at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. His recent books include Wesker on Theatre, Wesker’s Monologues, Wesker’s Love Plays, Wesker’s Political Plays, Wesker’s Social Plays (all published by Oberon books).
Artistic Director of the Royal Court Dominic Cooke directs. He is currently directing the award-winning production of Clybourne Park, which opened at the Royal Court in September 2010 to critical acclaim and which opened in the West End at Wyndhams Theatre on 28 January.
Other credits at the Royal Court include Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Fever, Seven Jewish Children, Wig Out!, Now or Later, Rhinoceros and two plays in Mark Ravenhill’s epic play cycle Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat. His credits elsewhere include Arabian Nights and Noughts and Crosses, both for the RSC, as adapter and director. He won the Olivier award for Best Director and Best Revival for The Crucible.
The production will be designed by Ultz, whose previous designs at the Royal Court have included Off the Endz, Jerusalem and Wig Out! Lighting is by Charles Balfour, sound by Gareth Fry and composition by Gary Yershon.
Chicken Soup with Barley will be the first production in the year-long sponsorship of the Royal Court by Coutts & Co, which begins in May 2011.
This is the first time that the Coutts & Co has been the Principal Sponsor of the Royal Court, although the relationship has been ongoing since 2004, with the private bank sponsoring the Royal Court’s 50th anniversary year and most recently its first ever family Christmas show Get Santa!
The Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award, a new bursary for playwrights, has been launched today. The annual award, granted by his widow, Antonia Fraser, will wholly fund a new commission at the Royal Court Theatre and can be given to any playwright, from a first-time writer to one already established and published. The inaugural award will be announced later this year.
Chicken Soup with Barley opens in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 3 June. Tickets are currently on sale to Friends and members and will go on general sale from Friday 4 February. Tickets are available online at www.royalcourttheatre.com or from the Box Office on 020 7565 5000.
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Chicken Soup with Barley
By Arnold Wesker
Directed by Dominic Cooke
Friday 3 June – Saturday 9 July 2011
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Monday – Saturday 7.30pm
Thursday matinees 2.30pm (from 16 Jun), Saturday matinees 2.30pm (from 11 Jun) *Press night*Tuesday 7 June, 7pm
Post-show Talk Tuesday 14 June
Captioned Performance Tuesday 21 June 7.30pm
Audio described performance Saturday 2 July 2.30pm
Tickets £28, £20, £12
Mondays all seats £10 (available in advance to Friends and Supporters, and on the day of perf from 9am online, 10am in-person)
Concessions £5 off top two prices* (avail. in advance for all perfs until 11 June incl. and all matinees. For all other perfs, available on a standby basis on the day)
25s and under £8*
School and HE Groups of 8+ 50% off top two prices (avail. Tuesday–Friday)
Groups of 6+ £5 off top price (avail. Tuesday–Friday)
Access £12 (plus a companion at the same rate)
- ID required, not bookable online. All discounts are subject to availability.
Notes to Editors
Coutts & Co is the UK private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is one of the world’s largest banking groups.
The first Coutts & Co regional office to be opened was Eton in 1961. Today, Coutts & Co has regional offices in Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Eton, Exeter, Guildford, Hampshire, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield and Tunbridge Wells.
Coutts & Co offers clients a range of products and services covering sophisticated investment products together with expertise in trust and fiduciary services and UK tax and banking services. Coutts commercial banking arm also provides full banking service to UK businesses.
Coutts & Co is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Coutts & Co Registered in England No 36695 Registered Office 440 Strand London WC2R 0QS.
Calls may be recorded.
For further information please contact Anna Evans in the Royal Court Press Office on 020 7565 5063 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.