London gets a new Playground

Sandra Giorgetti

On 1 November London gets a new theatre.

The brainchild of actor and producer Peter Tate, The Playground Theatre is housed in a converted bus depot ten-minutes' walk from Latimer Road Underground Station in West London.

The venue has a flexible stage, a full lighting rig and sound system, two dressing rooms and a café bar and box office in the front of house space.

Tate acts as co-artistic director with Anthony Biggs, previously artistic director of Jermyn Street Theatre. Work will involve new and established artists and a programme of community engagement whilst also continuing to support work in development as originally envisioned when Tate founded Playground Theatre in 2001 as a forum for play and experimentation.

The 200-seat Playground Theatre opens its doors with the world première of Picasso written by Terry D’Alfonso whose writing credits include the television adaptation of A Dangerous Game by Friedrich Dürrenmatt for the BBC.

D’Alfonso has worked extensively as a director in both theatre and television in Switzerland and Italy receiving the Pirandello Prize for Best Director.

Biggs said, “we are tremendously excited to launch The Playground Theatre with this visceral and challenging work. It is very much a statement of intent. There's a real buzz about this theatre, a sense of creativity and possibility, and it is exciting to be welcoming in an audience to experience our work for the first time.

"The Playground has always been a place for artists to develop ideas and push boundaries, so it's fitting that our inaugural production should be about Picasso, one of history's most influential artists.”

Michael Hunt directs a cast led by Peter Tate in the title role; playing his three lovers are Adele Oni, Claire Bowman and Alejandra Costa. Filmed inserts feature Sandra Collodel, Margot Sikabonyi and Milena Vukotic.

The designer is Klara Zieglerova and the lighting designer is David Cunningham.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry translated by Ros and Chloe Schwartz follows Picasso, opening on 15 December.

Picasso runs at The Playground Theatre from 1 to 25 November.