Habit Of Art, Sexy Lamp, Vessel, Outrageous Fortune, Amsterdam

The Habit Of Art – tour starts 18 March

Matthew Kelly and David Yelland star in York Theatre Royal’s production of The Habit Of Art when it returns to tour again in March.

Olivier Award-winning Kelly, who plays Fitz (W H Auden), has theatre credits including BIG The Musical, Waiting For Godot and Of Mice and Men.

Yelland, who plays Henry (Benjamin Britten), has theatre credits including Witness for the Prosecution, A Winter’s Tale and Deathtrap.

Alan Bennett’s play uses a fictional meeting between Auden and Britten to look at friendship, rivalry and heartache and the emotional cost of creativity.

It is structured as a play-within-a-play where a fictitious meeting occurs between Auden and Britten in the embedded play. But as Fitz, Henry and the rest of the cast are rehearsing under the watch of Kay, the Stage Manager and Neil, the Author, Britten arrives unexpectedly, meeting Auden for the first time in 25 years after a falling out.

Veronica Roberts plays Kay, the Stage Manager, and Robert Mountford plays the Author, Neil. They are joined by John Wark, Jessica Dennis and Benjamin Chandler. Philip Franks directs.

The Habit Of Art is presented by The Original Theatre Company and The Anthology Group in association with Peter Stickney and York Theatre Royal.

The tour opens at Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne and then visits Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, King’s Theatre Edinburgh, Curve Leicester, Royal & Derngate Northampton, Theatre Royal Bath, Ashcroft Playhouse Fairfield Halls Croydon, Theatr Clwyd and Exeter Northcott Theatre.

Sexy Lamp – tour starts 20 March

Following Bicycles and Fish, Sexy Lamp is the second part of multi-award-winning writer and performer Katie Arnstein’s trilogy It’s A Girl!.

This is a semi-autobiographical story of power, opportunity, sexism and prejudice in the acting industry told with original songs.

It is inspired by Kelly-Sue DeConnick’s ‘Sexy Lamp’ test which measures the relevance of female characters to a work, assessing if the character can be replaced with a sexy lamp without affecting the plot.

Sexy Lamp won Show of the Week and Pleasance Pick of the VAULT Festival in 2019. It is directed by Ellen Havard. The creative producer is Beccy D’Souza.

Arnstein will run workshops looking at how participants' work deals with everyday sexism and empowering young artists.

Sexy Lamp visits Bollington Arts Centre, The Other Room at Porter’s Cardiff, Wardrobe Theatre Bristol, Arena Theatre Wolverhampton, Nottingham Playhouse, Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough, The Place Bedford, The Lowry Salford and Lichfield Festival. Sexy Lamp will be presented with Bicycles and Fish at The Place in Bedford. Bicycles and Fish can also be seen at G Live Guildford.

Vessel – tour starts 20 March

Vessel is set in Ireland either side of the 2018 referendum on decriminalising abortion.

Whilst it is hard-hitting, Vessel uses wit and humour to explore the divisive subject of women’s bodies and women’s rights through the story of Irish right-to-choose activist Maia, who uses her own pregnancy to bring a legal challenge against the government, finding herself having to work through criticism from both sides of the debate.

It is written by Irish writer and performer Laura Wyatt O’Keeffe who, since enjoying success at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe has reworked Vessel from a solo show to being a work for three actors.

The piece was originally created with director Christopher Gatt with Wyatt O’Keeffe mentored by Bryony Kimmings and with input from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Abortion Network Support, a GP, solicitor and activist Diane Munday.

Vessel visits Playhouse Theatre and Arts Centre Derry, The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre Armagh, The Place Bedford and Stratford Circus Arts Centre London with a further tour in September.

Outrageous Fortune – tour starts 25 March

Outrageous Fortune is a new work by storyteller and Shakespeare’s Globe consultant Debs Newbold which looks at the Shakespearean character of Gertrude from Hamlet.

Newbold rejects what we know about this woman and tells her story looking at femininity, power and sexuality in this piece created in collaboration with director and clowning expert John Wright, who also directs.

The narrative is accompanied by music producer, DJ and experimental kit drummer Luke Harney on jazz drums providing a Birdman-inspired underscore.

Outrageous Fortune is presented by Square Chapel Arts Centre and Debs Newbold. It visits Square Chapel Arts Centre Halifax, Cornerstone Didcot, CAST Doncaster, Harrogate Theatre, The Lion & Unicorn Theatre London, Salisbury Playhouse, Capstone Theatre Liverpool, EnableUs Sheffield, Waterside Arts Sale and The Dukes Lancaster.

Amsterdam – tour starts 26 March

In Maya Arad Yasur's Amsterdam, a violinist, nine months pregnant, is living in her trendy canal-side flat when out of the blue an unpaid gas bill from 1944 arrives.

This unexpected delivery awakens unsettling feelings of collective identity, foreignness and alienation. The past is needed to make sense of the present.

Amsterdam, which was seen last autumn at Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre, won Maya Arad Yasur the 2018 Berliner TheaterTreffen Styükemarkt prize.

Amsterdam is an Actors Touring Company co-production with the Orange Tree Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth, directed by Matthew Xia as his inaugural production as artistic director of ATC.

It is translated by Eran Edry, movement is by Jennifer Jackson and sound and composition is by Max Pappenheim.

Amsterdam is currently playing Theatre Royal Plymouth then visits Salisbury Playhouse, Tron Theatre Glasgow, Home Manchester, North Wall Oxford, Warwick Arts Centre, Leeds Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, Northern Stage Newcastle and Bath Theatre Royal with further dates to be announced.

Check web sites for information regarding post-show Q&As, captioned, signed, relaxed and parent and baby performances, the use of smoke / haze and flashing lights and age suitability. At the time of going to press, some dates may not yet be on sale.