The Simple Things’ resident theatre-goer (and former actress) is art editor Cathy McKinnon. Here are her favourite theatres outside London. Matthew Austin, director of Bristol’s Mayfest contemporary theatre festival, chooses the theatre he thinks we should look out for. There’s more on local theatre in the January issue.
Founded in 2011 by a group of young theatre-makers with a passion for live performance, The Wardrobe Theatre is now an established artist-led organisation and arts venue that has been providing Bristol with fantastic theatre, comedy and regular local nights for over four years. It pulses with energy and invention.
From their home in a converted Watermill in rural West Berkshire, which seats just 220 people, they have produced award-winning work that has been recognised throughout the UK and abroad.
Each year over 90 different companies visit this 100-seat intimate space, bringing with them a wide variety of theatre, music and comedy performances. It also runs a youth theatre, a scriptwriters group, theatre workshops and afternoon tea concerts.
At the end of an alley in the middle of the city of Exeter, the Bike Shed Theatre has a 60-seat subterranean auditorium and vintage cocktail tavern. Always a great evening out!
Slung Low’s aim is to transport audiences to new places and to make them see familiar places from new perspectives. Its original adventures each have a powerful, moving story at their heart. It’s home is Holbeck Underground Ballroom (The HUB), five railway arches in south Leeds.
Formerly Kelvinside Parish Church, Òran Mór is Gaelic for ‘great melody of life’ or ‘big song’, is a thriving arts venue that hosts ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ lunchtime theatre.
A studio in Bradford situated on the University of Bradford Campus. The theatre supports innovate artists to create new work.
With over 250 performances each year ARC is a multi platform venue in the heart of Stockton on Tees. It has a programme packed theatre, music, comedy and spoken word as well as regular film nights.
Theatre companies to watch
Dan Canham is making some seriously interesting work through his company Still House, including Of Riders and Running Horses that premiered at Bristol’s Mayfest theatre festival in 2015. It’s since toured the UK and will tour internationally next year. Inspiring outdoor dance work by six female dancers.
This company makes large-scale theatre for an audience of one. Each audience member is taken through a rapid fire series of rooms, including a rock concert, a press conference, a court room etc etc. Everyone’s hyping them at the moment…
Brilliant young black theatre maker, who has just toured a work called Dark and Lovely, and is currently making a new show called salt that explores the history of slavery and afro-carribean heritage.
Amazing performance artist who makes theatre work and hosts a cabaret called CAMP, that is a blast.
Duo that makes brilliant sound-theatre work, and are currently making a new sci-fi horror for the stage called Dark Land Light House.