The next two months sees performers of every stripe from all over the UK storming the capital — making their voices heard in a festival that promises to show the strength of theatrical work outside London.
A Nation’s Theatre is an initiative spearheaded by the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) but involves over 17 London venues offering space to companies arriving from as far afield as Glasgow and Belfast and everywhere in between.
In all, there are about 350 artists putting on more than 60 less expected shows. Their leftfield, and often deliberately provocative, work is aimed at freshening up the scene here and triggering new debates.
The BAC has offered three floors of their building to the visiting artists, with special residencies and installation-like artist bedrooms. There will be takeovers by Leicester's Curve Theatre and the Transform festival from Leeds. Meanwhile, Sheffield’s Forge North and Glasgow’s Buzzcut festival will both be hijacking the Camden People’s Theatre.
Among the highlights, we're especially looking forward to:
Ringside at the Roundhouse, where you can experience a sweaty one-on-one with an aerial circus performer for 10 minutes at a time. The show is by Ellie Dubois from Glasgow and runs from now-16 April.
Beanfield at BAC is all about the police crackdown on peaceniks and hippy ravers at Stonehenge in 1985. This one is from Warwick-based Breach and runs from now-21 April.
Wail at BAC which promises to go inside the cetacean family to tell us how the planet's gentle giants tick. Southampton based scientist Professor Paul White teams up with Farnham's Little Bulb who gave us the ridiculously charming Orpheus last year. It runs from now-23 April.
Puppets at the Polka and Little Angel theatres: among several nice-sounding shows for kids are Flights of Fancy, about a glovebird who wants to fly, and The Emperor's New Clothes (both by Hand To Mouth Theatre, Hampshire); and a hand-spun version of Rumpelstitskin alongside A Real Mermaid's Tale (Ripstop Theatre, Norwich);
The Destroyed Room at BAC, looking at voyeurism and violation in response to a famous photo by Jeff Wall of ransacked possessions. From Glasgow's intense visual specialists, Vanishing Point. It runs from 27 April-14 May.
A Nation’s Theatre runs until the end of May at venues all across the capital.