Fresh Clarion call at Arcola for winter season

Claire Higgins & Greg Hicks in Clarion
Claire Higgins & Greg Hicks in Clarion

Sound the trumpets. Greg Hicks and Clare Higgins return to London’s Arcola Theatre with the five-star hit Clarion to kick off the venue’s winter season.

Mark Jagasia’s smash returns next month with the original cast. The Arcola also sees the London premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new play, Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern, directed by Ria Parry and a new comedy by Patrick Marmion called Divided Laing.

Robyn Winfield-Smith, whose production of Barker’s Lot and His God was nominated for multiple Off West End Awards, directs an exhilarating Howard Barker Double Bill.

Zodwa Nyoni’s refugee drama Nine Lives comes to London following a UK tour and Paul Anthony Morris’ Sarai, which was developed at Arcola, receives its world premiere.

arcola winter 2015-6

Artistic director Mehmet Ergen said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming back Clare Higgins, Greg Hicks and the whole cast of Clarion as part of an exciting new season at Arcola Theatre.

“Earlier in the year we were having to turn people away from sold-out houses. I hope now that many more people will get to see Mark Jagasia’s extraordinary first play, and to that end we’re making 500 seats available at just £10.”

Clarion (October 20-November 14)

The Daily Clarion is Britain’s worst newspaper. Power-crazed editor Morris Honeyspoon (Greg Hicks) spends his weekends dressed as Julius Caesar, and life at his beloved paper is a masterclass in incompetence and deceit.

But as political storm clouds gather over an uneasy country, it seems the Clarion‘s worst crimes are about to be exposed (read Stage Review’s ★★★★★ verdict (bit.ly/1zQrrfx).

Clarion, written by former journalist Mark Jagasia, is a hilarious dark comedy about free speech, nationalism and the state of the British media.

Sarai (October 21-November 7)

Sarai is a breathtaking new work from Fringe First and Adopt a Playwright award-winner Paul Anthony Morris.

Deconstructing an epic narrative for the modern age, this compelling psychological drama lifts the lid on the power of our secret desires, with dynamic movement and an original score.

Divided Laing (November 18-December 12)

London, 1970. Experimental psychiatrist R.D. Laing is facing eviction from his pioneering asylum in the East End’s Kingsley Hall. Local residents are up in arms – and to make matters worse, Ronnie’s revolutionary colleague David Cooper is flipping out on the roof…

With his personal life going down the pan and his mental state heading the same way, Ronnie takes an acid trip to the future.

Alan Cox plays Ronnie Laing in this provocative, freewheeling comedy by the acclaimed playwright and journalist Patrick Marmion.

Howard Barker Double Bill (November 25-December 19)

Howard Barker Double Bill:The Twelfth Battle of Isonzo & Judith: A Parting From The Body.

Love, truth, sex and war collide in this exhilarating double bill by “England’s greatest living dramatist” (The Times).

The London premiere of Barker’s dark comedy The Twelfth Battle of Isonzo is a fearlessly imaginative one-act drama.

Isonzo is blind, witty and 100 years old; Tenna is blind, beautiful and just 17. On the day of their wedding a battle of wits commences in which bride and groom discover the other is far more of a match than they had bargained for.

And a revival of his war masterpiece, Judith: A Parting From The Body. Barker’s radical reimagining of this apocryphal story lays bare the complex sacrifices of human beings at war.

Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern (January 5-30)

Inspired by events in a Hertfordshire village, Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s beautiful new play is alive with the mysteries of nature, sex and the supernatural, and blasts society’s hunger to find – and create – witches.

Nine Lives (January 6-30)

Following an acclaimed debut at West Yorkshire Playhouse and a national tour, Nine Lives receives its London premiere at Arcola.

This gripping new play from Zodwa Nyoni (Channel 4 Writer in Residence 2014) threads together humour and humanity to tell the real personal story behind asylum headlines.

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