PRESS RELEASE: Guardian and Royal Court announce Off the PagePublished on Mon 17 Nov 2014
The worlds of theatre and journalism collide in Off the Page, a unique new collaboration. Guardian journalists are partnering with Royal Court playwrights, theatre directors and a stellar company of actors to create a series of six ‘microplays’, each around five minutes long, to be showcased on guardian.com
Each microplay will respond to key areas of Guardian coverage. Royal Court theatre-makers have drawn upon the specialist expertise of the Guardian’s feature writers, columnists and editors for the plays. The first film – on the subject of food – is released today. BRITAIN ISN’T EATING explores food banks and our obsession with cookery shows. It stars Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, The Honourable Woman) and Evening Standard Award-winner Kyle Soller (who last performed at the Royal Court in The Faith Machine and is soon to star in the forthcoming BBC series Poldark). It is a collaboration between playwright Laura Wade (Posh), food blogger and regular Guardian contributor Jack Monroe, Guardian social affairs correspondent Amelia Gentleman and director Carrie Cracknell (Birdland at the Royal Court, A Doll’s House, Young Vic/ West End and Medea, National Theatre). The film can be viewed on guardian.com from 12pm on 17th November and audiences can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #microplays.
Subsequent microplays cover music, fashion, politics, sport and education. The casts feature some of today’s most exciting actors including Rafe Spall (who last performed at the Royal Court in Constellations), Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones) and Ruby Ashbourne Serkis (who stars in the BBC’s forthcoming Cider With Rosie). The other creatives involved are playwrights Rachel De-lahay, Robin French, Chloe Moss, Tim Price and Roy Williams and directors Clint Dyer, Christopher Haydon, Gbolahan Obisesan, Hamish Pirie and Bijan Sheibani.
The Guardian journalists taking part include Aditya Chakrabortty, Hadley Freeman, Barney Ronay, Michael Rosen and John Harris, whose article on England’s identity crisis was an early inspiration for the project.
Chris Wiegand, Stage editor of Guardian News & Media, said: ” Over the past few years there has been a huge transformation in Guardian journalism – we are responding to stories in more ways and in more depth than ever before. Our project with the Royal Court allows us to interpret current affairs in a new, informed and really creative fashion. The microplays are a true extension of our journalism. We’ve brought together some fantastically talented people and set them quite a challenge – with the names involved, I know these six pieces will be witty, smart and hard-hitting .”
Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court, said: ” This partnership between the Guardian and Royal Court feels truly ground-breaking and reflects the strengths and vision of each organisation. Playwrights and theatre-makers are continuously hungry for inspiration and challenge and that is frequently found in the pages of our great newspapers. The journalistic instinct to speak truth to power and uncover the previously uncovered feeds directly into the Royal Court’s drive to say what has been unsaid and bring us to a deeper understanding of the world we live in. The form of our microplays, where theatre meets film in an inescapably theatrical setting, feels like a new adventure .”
The five collaborations are as follows:
Food – playwright Laura Wade, Guardian food blogger Jack Monroe, Guardian social affairs correspondent Amelia Gentlemannd and director Carrie Cracknell
Music – playwright Robin French, Guardian journalist John Harris and director Bijan Sheibani
Sport – playwright Roy Williams, Guardian journalist Barney Ronay and director Clint Dyer
Fashion – playwright Chloe Moss, Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman and director Christopher Haydon
Politics – playwright Tim Price, Guardian journalist Aditya Chakrabortty and director Hamish Pirie
Education – playwright Rachel De-lahay, Guardian education editor Richard Adams, education correspondent Sally Weale, writer and Guardian contributor Michael Rosen and director Gbolahan Obisesan.
Guardian Live and the Royal Court present the Big Idea: Off The Page – a celebratory screening of all six films, with introductions from the artists and journalists involved, at the Royal Court on Friday 5 December at 6pm, tickets are £10. Further details and ticketing information is available at royalcourttheatre.com and Guardian Events
Biographies – Film One: Food
Carrie Cracknell is Associate Director at the Royal Court, an Associate Artist at the Young Vic and was co-Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, from 2007 to 2012. At the Royal Court, she has directed Simon Stephen’s Birdland and Suhayla El-Bushra’s Pigeons. Her most recent credits include Medea and Blurred Lines at the National Theatre, A Doll’s House at the Young Vic, which transferred to the West End and Broadway, Wozzek at English National Opera and Elektra at the Young Vic. At the Gate Theatre her credits included: Electra, Breathing Irregular and Hedda.
Laura Wade is a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme. Her first play for the Royal Court, Breathing Corpses played in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in 2005 and won her the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Pearson Playwrights Best Play Award, the George Devine Award and an Olivier Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Her play Posh premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2010 and was nominated Best New Play at the Evening Standard Awards before opening in the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Laura’s screenplay The Riot Club, an adaptation of her 2010 stage play Posh, premièred at Toronto International Film Festival 2014. Her other theatre credits include Alice (Sheffield Theatres) Catch (Royal Court) and Other Hands and Colder Than Here (Soho Theatre). Her play for voices KREUTZER VS KREUTZE0R was performed as part of a concert by the Australian Chamber Orchestra on a national tour of Australia.
Katherine Parkinson won the British Comedy Best TV Actress Award and a BAFTA TV award for her role as Jen in Channel 4’s The IT Crowd. Other television credits include The Honourable Woman, In the Club, Sherlock, Psychoville, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff and Doc Martin. Her stage credits include Cock and The Seagull (both Royal Court), Before the Party and The Lightning Play (both Almeida Theatre), Absent Friends (West End), 66 Books (The Bush Theatre), The School for Scandal (Barbican Theatre) and Season’s Greeting (National Theatre). Her films include The Boat That Rocked and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.
Kyle Soller won the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer Award for his performances in The Faith Machine (Royal Court), The Glass Menagerie and The Government Inspector (both Young Vic). Other theatre credits include Edward II (National Theatre), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (West End), The Talented Mr Ripley (Royal and Derngate Theatre) and Cyrano De Bergerac (Broadway). Television credits include Bad Education and forthcoming BBC series Poldark. His film credits include Anna Karenina and The Fifth Estate.