Curtains’ up on Rose Theatre Kingston season celebrating a decade of success

Kingston’s Rose Theatre celebrates its first decade with a bawdy romp and top drama that includes Stephen Bill’s award-winning Curtains, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Friedrich Schiller’s seminal romantic tragedy Don Carlos.

The Rose Theatre first opened its doors in 2008 under the leadership of founding artistic director Sir Peter Hall.

Marking the 10th anniversary is the world première of Nick Dear’s double-bill Hogarth’s Progress: The Art of Success and The Taste of the Town, Much Ado About Nothing led by Mel Giedroyc and John Hopkins and a special exhibition – The Rose at 10: Celebrating 10 Years of World Class Theatre.

Hogarth’s Progress is a salacious exploration of the nature and commercialisation of art.

It includes the first major UK revival of Dear’s award-winning play The Art of Success, which follows William Hogarth through a bawdy night in 1730.

And with it is the world première of The Taste of the Town, which revisits the hugely successful artist 30 years later when he’s at the end of his career.

Directed by Anthony Banks the plays will run in rep from September. Each play can be seen as a single performance or enjoyed together, either over different days or as an all-day theatrical experience.

Chief Executive, Robert O’Dowd, said: “In just 10 years the Rose has gone from strength to strength and changed the theatrical landscape of South West London.

“We have worked with the most exciting performers and creatives the country has to offer, making world-class theatre in Kingston, the West End and touring throughout the country and abroad.

“But we’ve also established a strong partnership with Kingston University and the Royal Borough of Kingston to create a successful education and participation programme for the local community which is at the heart of what we do.

“I’m very proud of the accomplishments of the Rose which couldn’t be done without the unwavering loyalty of our stakeholders, supporters, donors and volunteers”.

Executive Producer Jerry Gunn added: “Ten years ago Sir Peter Hall took the helm of the Rose with one aim, to create excellent, interesting, thought provoking theatre that everyone can enjoy.

“It’s very special for me, having joined the Rose at the beginning, and experienced such theatrical landmarks as reuniting Peter Hall and Judi Dench for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Trevor Nunn completing his ambition in directing all 37 Shakespeare’s with King John.

“We have such a fantastic season to celebrate and I’m hugely excited for Hogarth’s Progress, another world première and double bill which promises to be great fun, a real bawdy romp –what can I say, we like to celebrate in style!”

The season kicks off this week with Curtains (until March 17), Stephen Bill’s award winning comedy about the unfunny issue of the right every individual should have to depart this world with dignity.

Lindsay Posner directs Leo Bill, Caroline Catz, Jonathan Coy, Tim Dutton, Wendy Nottingham, Saskia Reeves, Sandra Voe and Marjorie Yates.

Much Ado About Nothing, a co-production from Rose Theatre Kingston, Granville & Parham Productions and Antic Face (April 13-May 6) stars Mel Giedroyc as Beatrice and John Hopkins as Benedick.

They are joined by Peter Bray, Sam Dastor, Peter Guinness, Victoria Hamnett, Kate Lamb, Calam Lynch, Caolan McCarthy, Nicholas Prasad, David Rintoul, Katherine Toy, Stewart Wright and Silas Wyatt-Barke.

A powerful exploration of the struggle for love, identity and self-knowledge in a male-dominated world – Much Ado is as relevant today as ever.

The Rose’s production will use Shakespeare’s language in a sharp contemporary setting that not only offers glorious opportunities for physical comedy amid the furnishings of a spa hotel but also provides a social context that enhances the darker themes in this timeless comic gem.

Hogarth’s Progress: The Art of Success & The Taste of the Town (September 13 – October 21)

Set in an imagined version of eighteenth century London, Hogarth’s Progress is a riotous double bill of plays following one of Britain’s most celebrated artists on two spectacularly wild days and nights – one at the beginning of his career and one at the end.

The plays explore the extraordinary life of William Hogarth and the commercialisation of art in a time that saw British culture spring from the drawing rooms of the wealthy into ordinary houses across the country.

Filled with political satire, boisterous romps and sleazy characters, Hogarth’s Progress promises to be an extraordinary theatrical event not to be missed.

Don Carlos (November 6-17)

Tom Burke stars as Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa in a new major revival of Friedrich Schiller’s great romantic drama, Don Carlos, a co-production with Exeter Northcott and Nuffield Southampton Theatres, directed by Gadi Roll.

Written just two years before the French Revolution, Schiller’s Don Carlos engages with themes of justice, equality, freedom of expression and conscience, religious bigotry and state persecution and is as relevant today as ever.

For full programme click Rose Theatre

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