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Latitude: Theatre and Cabaret Arenas 2008

Theatre Arena

Latitude Festival in partnership with London’s Arcola Theatre are extremely excited to announce the greening of this years Theatre Arena. This will be the world's first fuel cell powered festival stage. Arcola will be providing state of the art low energy LED lighting and a Hydrogen Fuel Cell to power the stage. The fuel cell operates almost silently and will produce nothing but electricity and clean water. Arcola Theatre is a converted factory in East London and one of the UK’s leading independent venues. This partnership with Latitude is part of Arcola Theatre’s extensive range of sustainability activities, collectively referred to as the Arcola Energy project which in partnership with the Greening London Theatre Initiative is driving the eco-cultural frontier.

The Theatre Arena at Latitude is a buzzing hotbed of creativity and inspiration, hosting a wealth of bespoke productions and performances exclusive to the festival. Bringing some of the biggest names in contemporary, physical, classical, performance and local theatre to the Suffolk coast; the Theatre Arena really has something for everyone, provoking thought, emotions, laughs and entertainment all weekend long.

The National Theatre

The National Theatre will be bringing a play chosen from their New Connections project to Latitude Festival - an ambitious new writing programme for young actors creating theatre. Established 15 years ago in response to a widespread demand for challenging new plays for young people to perform, the National Theatre New Connections commissions 10 new plays every year, penned by some of the hottest talent in world theatre. The plays are then brought to life through hundreds of productions, created by thousands of young actors, technicians, designers and directors, from across the UK, Ireland and further afield. This year’s writers are: Moira Buffini, Frantic Assembly & Bryony Lavery, Anna Furse & Little Angel, Abi Morgan, Mark Ravenhill, Peter Tabern, Jack Thorne, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Nigel Williams and Nicholas Wright.

The Royal Shakespeare Company

Probably the most famous classical theatre company in the world, the Royal Shakespeare Company, brings to Latitude a selection of specially commissioned mini epic plays. These new works take the form of a series of 5 minute works of concentrated energy, passion and vibrancy. Each penned by a different writer, the writers, directors and actors will fearlessly wade in to investigate the wildest topics and areas of thought, each of the plays taking on a handful of essential classical themes including love - war –competitive insults – music – kings – queens – paupers – harlots – religious types – ruptured families – heartbreak – mistaken identities – journeys – shipwrecks – cross dressing – ghosts – fools. This new commission is an enlightening introduction to anyone who thought the RSC was only about preserving Shakespeare. Be prepared to be very surprised!

School of Night for the 21st century

Walter Raleigh’s School Of Night was a clandestine and arcane underground sect of artists, thinkers, writers, scientists and spies, who some scholars believe wrote Shakespeare's plays. Now, maverick genius Ken Campbell and his team revive the School of Night for the 21st century, improvising plays and poems from any period, always in pursuit of their first secret commission. The School of Night has been known to explore Elizabethan humours by performing them in modern styles, and examine great acting via master classes on gastromancy. Audience members may have impromptu sonnets created for them or be taught "the secrets of crowd scenes". The show mixes Ken’s unique and infamous surreal monologues with a team of highly skilled improvisers capable of playing in any theatrical style and keen to rise to any challenge.

Paines Plough and Nabokov

The award-winning nationally and internationally renowned touring theatre company, Paines Plough and the new writing theatre company nabokov, present the brilliantly buzzy Crazy Love by Che Walker. A blast of fresh air, this 50 minute play is set at a wedding reception. The bride is Billie (Phoebe Whyte), a posh Notting Hill trustafarian about to marry one of her own. But with the help of her bridesmaids - Cordelia (Julia Sandiford) and Shiv (Suzie McGrath) - she recounts the period leading up to the wedding as a Bonnie-and-Clyde-style adventure with a man from the wrong side of the west London tracks. Paines Plough specialise exclusively in commissioning and developing contemporary playwrights and the production of their work on stage. nabokov is dedicated to commissioning, developing and producing backlash theatre - new work for the stage that offers an antagonistic response to contemporary agendas, trends and events.

The Operating Theatre Company

The Operating Theatre Company, a network dedicated to the development of new writing for theatre, brings ‘I’m a Minger!’, to Latitude. Written and performed by Alex Jones, Jones plays his own 15-year old daughter, complete with pram-face and wig. ‘I’m a Minger!’ is a funny journey through the mind of a 15-year old girl – full of fizz, jokes and bittersweet rites-of-passage.

Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat

The Royal Court Theatre and Paines Plough join forces to present plays from Mark Ravenhill’s epic cycle Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat. The plays began life at 2007’s Edinburgh Festival as ‘Ravenhill For Breakfast’ and form a collage of very different scenes, with each taking its title from another classic work. The series of 20 minute plays explore the personal and political effects of war on modern life, and whilst they are individual stand-along plays they have connected themes and ideas. In ‘Women Of Troy’ for example, an American from the Midwest is on TV asking: “Why bomb us? We're the good guys.” In ‘Crime and Punishment’, a soldier interrogates a native woman in an occupied zone; and in ‘The Mother’, Haley is visited by two soldiers who are going to break the news of her son’s death.
Playwright and contributor to the Guardian’s arts pages Ravenhill has been described as one of the most controversial and successful writers to emerge in the 1990’s and these plays are a welcomed addition to Latitude’s Theatre Arena.

The Bush Theatre

As with the last two years, a wealth of bespoke productions and performances will be in abundance once again. In addition to other shows yet to be announced, The Bush Theatre are presenting ‘50 Ways To Leave Your Lover’ – a show written especially for Latitude 08. Through the Latitude website people can anonymously submit their hilarious, devastating, embarrassing or heartbreaking stories. These stories will inspire five of the most exciting writers in the country to create a series of short plays – exclusively unveiled in the Theatre Arena at the festival. The Bush’s Literary Manager Abigail Gonda says: “Latitude is an incredible opportunity for emerging theatre talent to showcase their wares and entertain a heaving tent of excited festival goers with the most brilliant new plays. It is a completely unique forum for new plays to be performed and it's opened up our work to a whole new audience. Latitude is a veritable smorgasboard of wonderful artistic and creative expression to be experienced. Music, comedy, poetry, theatre and film collide in its beautiful surroundings.

Nabokov Theatre Company

nabokov theatre company returns to the Latitude Festival for the third year running with new work commissioned specifically for the festival from the UK's most exciting playwrighting talent.

nabokov is a new writing theatre company dedicated to commissioning, developing and producing backlash theatre - new work for the stage that offers an antagonistic response to contemporary agendas, trends and events. The company's current world premiere production of Artefacts by Mike Bartlett runs at The Bush Theatre, London, until 22 March prior to a National Tour and Off-Broadway run in New York, and has been described as "Dazzling" (Daily Telegraph), "Remarkable" (Financial Times) and "Outstanding" (The Stage). In the past two years nabokov has commissioned new plays for Latitude from writers including Mike Bartlett, Joel Horwood, Duncan Macmillan and Jack Thorne.

The Pleasance

The Pleasance team up with Latitude Festival again this summer, to bring sunny revellers the chance to see the pick of what’s hot from the cutting edge London venue, as well as a sneak preview of brand new material. Finishing touches are being put to this year’s offering, but so far confirmed are underground word-of-mouth hit theatre group Factory, who have lit up many a London venue with their irreverent take on Hamlet, where neither the casting, or the props are decided until the audience walk through the door; festival goers will be invited to introduce the weirdest and wildest props to the action, while the actors will incorporate them into the Shakespearean tragedy.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Out Of Your Knowledge was written specifically for the intimate woodland space it will be performed in. Certainly Menagerie, the prolific new-writing troupe, will provide atmosphere to this dramatic journey in search of the poet John Clare. Also starring in the line-up will be a fantastic comedy offering from the Pleasance 2008 programme so for those wanting a sample of excellent theatrical and comedy treats should look no further!

Fat Tongue

Sketch group Fat Tongue return triumphantly to Latitude Festival who’s performances last year had the Theatre Arena erupting with laughter. Sophie Black, Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns write and perform a unique brand of sketch comedy. They create a warped world in which Hollywood stars glass each other in Faliraki, public school backpackers travel round Middle Earth on their gap year and designer couples adopt babies with hues to compliment their wardrobes. They've been compared to Reeves and Mortimer, The League of Gentlemen and Leigh Francis and were described by the Sunday Times as "a real discovery”. A TV series clearly beckons.

Birds Of Britain

Birds Of Britain are delighted to present ‘We Are Joni Mitchell’, a comedy with music set at Latitude 2008, in which three strangers meet after the suddenly cancelled appearance of their heroine Joni. Through an increasingly competitive exploration of her songs and lyrics, each seeks to prove to the others that she is the ultimate Joni authority and fan: one physically, one musically, and one Yiddishly. (warning: contains interpretative dance). The Birds are actress and writer Sophie Dix who has numerous television and stage credits (frequent series regular on TV plus appearances at the National Theatre, Royal Court and many more.) She is also an accomplished screenwriter with many produced credits; musician and composer Rebecca Thorn who has just released her first independent jazz album, ‘This is Why’, is a regular radio contributor, and has also appeared as an actress at the National Theatre and Royal Court; comic actress and writer Philippa Fordham who has performed in a range of comedy shows on stage, radio, television and film, including the very popular “Fordham & Lipson” on BBC Radio 4 and writer-director Laline Paull who works in theatre, film, and television.


Battersea’s Theatre503 bring a collection of their plays to Latitude 2008. Theatre503 is the home of fearless, irreverent, brave and provocative new plays. Working with many of the foremost artists of their generation, they push at the boundaries of what theatre can be and pose the unanswerable questions of our time. Theatre503 presents four new emerging writers and their individual and expansive takes on the word and concept of 'Latitude' and its various definitions. Bad Penny/Theatre503 present 'Up The Gary', the story of a Gary Glitter impersonator who find's the inspiration in his life start to destroy it as the media perception of his hero changes. A moving and heart breaking piece of kareoke theatre.


Usually found at The George Tavern Theatre in London, the new writing collective DryWrite pitch up at the Theatre Arena at Latitude and bring you ‘Guilty’. 7 writers receive a newspaper headline of a real crime committed in our crazy world. 7 writers seek to justify that crime from the criminal's viewpoint. They are already condemned by the law but can they be forgiven by humanity? YOU DECIDE. In true DryWrite style, the audience will vote with their feet. DryWrite is a theatre company inspired by the power of anonymity. They support writers to step out of their comfort zones: to experiment, to innovate and to play with subject, form and space.

The Miniaturists

As well as making the whole Theatre Arena run carbon neutrally the Arcola Theatre Presents: The Miniaturists. A regular writer-led event at Arcola dedicated to bringing you short but perfectly formed plays. Packed with original pieces from an array of talented writers, new and established. Each piece is no longer than 15 minutes, and the dizzying mix makes every event as various and unpredictable as life itself. Arcola produces a regular programme of its own shows and has staged work by some of the best actors, writers and directors in the world.

Dirty Protest

With Latitude’s core ethos providing a wealth of inspiration for many of the artists and companies involved in the festival, it’s unsurprising that Latitude has left its mark on its visitors. Tim Price, who came to the very first Latitude felt so inspired by the event and the Theatre Arena especially that he set up his own theatre company ‘Dirty Protest’ in order to establish a healthy and burgeoning theatre scene in Wales. Latitude is honoured that Tim will be bringing Dirty Protest to this year’s event.

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Latitude: Theatre and Cabaret Arenas 2008

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