Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Politics and the Theatre: What's Left? Tuesday, February 27th 6.30 for 7.00pm

You are invited to


A discussion with playwright Richard Bean, Associate Director of the Royal Court Ramin Gray, Sunday Times columnist Minette Marrin and playwright Shelley Silas

Tuesday, 27th February, 6.30 for 7pm

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 28 Russell Square, London WC1 (nearest tube Russell Square)

Last year, the National Theatre’s director Nicholas Hytner said that one thing he would really like to see there in the future would be a ‘good, mischievous, right-wing play.’

The implication in Hytner’s statement - that such a production would be an unusual occurrence, a naughty aberration, a guilty pleasure - would certainly have confirmed many in their conviction that when it comes to politics, the theatre stands firmly behind left-liberal lines. Recent productions in both the subsidised sector and the West End would seem to bare this out. My Name is Rachel Corrie, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, Guantanamo, Stuff Happens, Playing with Fire…the political approach in these plays remains unvarying. And when there is criticism of the prevailing orthodoxy, it comes firmly from the Left.

But if this is all true, why are there no alternative voices? Is there, or should there be, such a thing as a right-of-centre play? Are there untouchable subjects in the theatre? Would different political approaches bring in new audiences? And why are voices on the Left apparently silent about important issues thrown up by radical Islam and the growing debate about multiculturalism?

Shelley Silas’s theatre plays include Calcutta Kosher and Falling. She has also written extensively for Radio Four - her plays include a co-adaptation of Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet (with John Harvey.) She compiled and edited an anthology of short stories, 12 Days. Her new play, Made in Glasgow, will be produced by Tamasha Theatre in 2008.

Richard Bean has had four plays produced at The Royal Court as well as plays at the National, Bush, Newcastle Live! and at Hull Truck. He was awarded the Critics' Circle Award for Best Play for "Harvest" last year. His political sex farce which looks at the accession of Turkey into the European Union will be produced by Hampstead Theatre in July this year.

Ramin Gray is Associate director of the Royal Court. He is director of Alastair Beaton’s King of Hearts, which opens this week at the Hampstead Theatre

Please RSVP at events@newcultureforum.org.uk
We would kindly ask for a £5 donation on the evening towards drinks.

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