Published on Thu 18 Feb 2016

Rudi Dharmalingam, Darrell D’Silva, James Harkness, Jessica Raine and Ria Zmitrowicz start rehearsals on Monday 22 February for X which runs from 30 March 2016 – 7 May 2016 in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Press night is on Tuesday 5 April, 7pm.

Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone directs Alistair McDowall’s new play set in a space station on Pluto.

“It’s a tax write-off. This is where they send the new, the underqualified, the old. And most of all the British. Mars is full of blonde Americans. It’s like they’re building the master race out there.”

Billions of miles from home, the lone research base on Pluto has lost contact with Earth. Unable to leave or send for help, the skeleton crew sit waiting.

Waiting long enough for time to start eating away at them.
To lose all sense of it.
To start seeing things in the dark outside.

With design by Merle Hensel, lighting by Lee Curran, composition and sound by Nick Powell and video by Tal Rosner.

X will be accompanied by three Big Idea events; freelance science writer and researcher Dr Mike Goldsmith discusses the possibility of life at the edge of the solar system, playwrights Inua Ellams and Stacey Gregg create short sound plays, and Playwright Alistair McDowall will be in conversation with Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone.

Full listings and biography information below.

The Big Idea: Life on Pluto
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Wednesday 13 April, Post-show
Freelance science writer and researcher Dr Mike Goldsmith, author of New Horizons to Pluto, discusses the possibility, potential and experience of life at the edge of the solar system. Does it exist? Could it exist? What would it feel like?
Free with a ticket to the performance of X that day.

The Big Idea: Nod If You Can Hear Me
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Friday 15, 22 & 29 April and Friday 6 May, Post-show
Theatre writers Inua Ellams and Stacey Gregg create short sound plays imagined for an impossible space, witnessed in the dark, late at night in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.
£5 or free with a ticket to a performance of X that day.

The Big Idea: Alistair McDowall in conversation
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Tuesday 19 April, Post-show
Playwright Alistair McDowall will be in conversation with Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone.
£5 or free with a ticket to the performance of X that day.

For more information or images please contact Anoushka Hay on 0207 565 5063 / [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

Press Night:

Tuesday 5 April 7pm X by Alistair McDowall Jerwood Theatre Downstairs

The Big Idea is a strand of work launched during Open Court, offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage. The Big Idea seeks to foster debate and collaboration, bringing together leading thinkers and artists from all walks of life to engage with the big ideas of our times, through a series of debates and events.

Listings Information:
By Alistair McDowall
Directed by Vicky Featherstone
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Wednesday 30 March – Saturday 7 May 2016
Monday – Saturday 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees 2.30pm (from 7 April)
Captioned Performance 26 April 7.30pm
Audio Described 23 April 2.30pm (Touch Tour 1pm)
Press Night Tuesday 5 April 7pm
Age Guidance 14+
Tickets £12, £16, £25, £35 (Mondays all seats £10 available from 9am online on the day of performance)
Concessions* £5 off top two prices. 25s and under £12 (available in advance for previews and all matinees)
Access £12 (plus a companion at the same rate)
*ID required. All discounts subject to availability.

Alistair McDowall’s previous Royal Court credits include Talk Show (Open Court) and Brilliant Adventures (Young Writers Festival reading). Other credits include Pomona (Orange Tree/National), Brilliant Adventures (Royal Exchange/Live Theatre Newcastle and Edinburgh Fringe). Alistair won the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting for Brilliant Adventures at the Royal Exchange in 2013.

Vicky Featherstone is Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre. Her work for the Royal Court includes How to Hold Your Breath; God Bless the Child; Maidan: Voices from the Uprising; The Mistress Contract; The Ritual Slaughter of George Mastromas; Talk Show; Untitled Matriarch Play and The President Has Come to See You. Her other work includes Cyprus Avenue (Peacock Theatre), Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour; Enquirer; An Appointment with the Wicker Man; 27; The Wheel; Somersaults (National Theatre of Scotland); The Small Things; Pyrenees; On Blindness; Tiny Dynamite; Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco; Splendour; Crave (Paines Plough). Vicky was Artistic Director of Paines Plough 1997-2005 and Artistic Director of The National Theatre of Scotland 2005-2012. In 2016 Vicky will also direct Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland.

Rudi Dharmalingam’s Royal Court credits include Hope. Other theatre credits include Hamlet (Barbican), Oresteia (Almeida), Dara, You Can Still Make a Killing, England People Very Nice, Tiger at the Gates, Playing with Fire (National), Rafta, Rafta (National/UK Tour), Worst Wedding Ever (Salisbury Playhouse), The Events (Young Vic/UK Tour), The Seagull (Headlong/UK Tour), Much Ado About Nothing (RCS/Noel Coward), The English Game (Headlong), The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Naach), History Boys (National/Broadway/International Tour), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Unicorn), Learning Styles (Impact Theatre Co.), Anorak on Fire, The Tempest (Adelphi), E to the Power 3 and The Dispute (Robert Powell). His film credits include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hamlet at the Barbican and Britz. His television credits include Casualty, Doctor Who, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, New Tricks, The Bill and Cutting It.

Darrell D’Silva’s credits at the Royal Court include The Lying Kind. Other theatre credits include Wendy & Peter Pan, Little Eagles, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, Julius Caesar, The Drunks, The Winter’s Tale, Hecuba, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Month in the Country, Troilus and Cressida, Camino Real, Spanish Tragedy, Henry VIII, Dr Faustus (RSC), Dunsinane (RSC/ NT Scotland/ World Tour), Making Stalin Laugh (JW3), Public Enemy, 6 Characters in Search for An Author (Young Vic), Hedda Gabler (Old Vic), Children’s Children (Almeida), Closer (National), Paradise Lost (Northampton), Tales From Vienna Woods, The Rose Tattoo, Royal Hunt of the Sun (RNT), Absolutely! (Perhaps) (Wyndham’s), The White Devil (Menier Chocolate Factory), Fall (Traverse), Clouds (UK Tour), Tear From a Glass Eye (Gate), Romeo and Juliet, The Three Musketeers (Sheffield Crucible), Further Than the Furthest Thing (Tron Glasgow), Crossfire (Plaines Plough) and Chasing the Moment (One Tree). His film credits include The Throwaways, Alan Moore’s & Mitch Jenkins’ Show Pieces, Northmen; A Viking Saga, Montana, Closer to the Moon and Dirty Pretty Things. His television credits include Endeavour III, Asylum, Father Brown, Top Boy 2, The Minor Character, Trial and Retribution, Bonekickers, Criminal Justice, Unsinkable Titanic, A Very British Sex Scandal, Poppy Shakespeare, First New Heart, Saddam’s Tribe, To Be First, Krakatoa, Eleventh Hour, Spooks, Lawless, Messiah, Cambridge Spies, Dinotopia, Table Twelve: After Hours, Queen of Swords, The Bill, In Defence, Out of the Blue, Woken Well, Prime Suspect and Faith.

James Harkness will make his Royal Court debut with X. Other theatre credits include The Absence of War (Sheffield Crucible), Great Britain (National/Royal Haymarket), Nighthawkes (Citizen’s Glasgow) and Blackout (National Lyttleton). His film credits include Macbeth, The Program, Hector and Winter. His television credits include One of Us, Moving On, Silent Witness and River City.

Jessica Raine will make her Royal Court debut with X. Other theatre credits include Roots (Donmar), The Changeling (Young Vic), Rocket to the Moon, Earthquakes in London, Gethsemane, Harper Regan (National), Ghosts (West End) and Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith/Royal Exchange). Her film credits include The Woman in Black and Robin Hood. Her television credits include Inside No.9, Jericho, Partners in Crime, Wolf Hall, Fortitude, Call the Midwife, Line of Duty 2, An Adventure in Space and Time, Doctor Who and Garrow’s Law. Jessica was awarded Best Actress in a Supporting Role from the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for Punk Rock.

Ria Zmitrowicz will make her Royal Court debut with X. Other theatre credits include Four Minutes Twelve Seconds (Trafalgar Studios/Hampstead), The Crucible (Royal Exchange), Arcadia (English Touring Theatre), God’s Property (Soho), Chapel Street (Bush/Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season at Underbelly/Old Red Lion), Cortae (Talawa), Skanky (Arcola), The Grandfathers (Oval House/NT Connections), The Site, Routes (Hampstead Heat and Light), The Colour of Clouds and Tits/Teeth (Soho/National Youth Theatre). Her film credits include Kill Your Friends. Her television credits include Mr Selfridge, Youngers, Nightshift, The Midnight Beast, Casualty, Murder on the Home Front and Whitechapel.

The Big Idea

Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He has published three pamphlets of poetry: Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales and The Wire-Headed Heathen. His first play The 14th Tale (a one-man show which he performed) was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his third, Black T-Shirt Collection ran at the National Theatre. He lives and works from London, where he founded the Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion.

Dr Mike Goldsmith studied variable stars and cosmic dust at Keele University, receiving his PhD in 1987. Since then he has written more than fifty books and scientific papers on a variety of subjects, including astronomy, astrophysics and acoustics. For many years Mike was Head of Acoustics at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, and he is now a freelance science writer and researcher. Pluto has been a lifelong fascination for him, and his book New Horizons to Pluto was published in 2015, to coincide with the arrival of NASA’s New Horizons space probe at the dwarf planet.

Stacey Gregg is a playwright and performer from Belfast. Her previous work includes Shibboleth, Perve (BBC Radio Drama Award winner 2012) and Cows Go Boom (Abbey); Scorch with Primecut/Outburst (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Lagan (Ovalhouse London), Override (Palace Theatre Watford), Huzzies (Tinderbox, The Mac) and I’m Spilling My Heart Out Here (National Theatre Connections). As a performer Stacey’s work includes Everything Between Us (Rough Magic Theatre Company), Moth (The Bush/Hightide), Pussy Riot (The Bush/Southbank Centre) and Cheer Up Kessy (Outburst Festival). She co-created an interactive web installation for CRASSH; is currently under commission with the BBC, on attachment with Paines Plough/Origin/BBC Films, and resident at Clean Break, working with women in the criminal justice system.

To download the full press release click here