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by Amy Powell Yeates

A revival, a UK premiere and a new play in theatre around the UK, the last chance to catch two popular exhibitions of 2015, Joyce Gould’s journey through a changing labour party and new film releases ahead of the awards season.


The Plough and the Stars Abbey Theatre, Dublin 9 March-23 April Sean O’Casey’s provocative play famously caused riots at its Abbey opening in 1926. Now, Lyric Hammersmith artistic director and Olivier Award-winner Sean Holmes directs a timely revival at the same theatre, on the centenary of the events the play depicts. The residents of a tenement shelter from the violence sweeping through the streets amid Dublin’s 1916 Easter uprising. As a revolution that will shape the country’s future rages all around, they wonder what kind of Ireland awaits them.

Monster Raving Loony Theatre Royal Plymouth To 27 February Theatre Royal Plymouth has commissioned playwright James Graham who wrote the highly successful and politically concerned plays This House and The Vote, to write a new play about the life and political exploits of musician Screaming Lord Sutch. Sutch founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and stood in numerous parliamentary elections between 1983-1999. The production, directed

22 | theJournalist indepth Made in Scotland, travelling the nation

of Scottish history. The tour is currently booking until June. Also touring the country from

The National Theatre of Scotland, which in recent years has brought us such successes as Black Watch, the choreographed verbatim war drama directed by John Tiffany, and Glasgow Girls, the musical about an asylum seeker-schoolgirl being deported, will be taking political theatre all over the UK this year. First up is the company’s transfer

of its trilogy of plays by Rona Munro about King James I, II and III, the Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous 15th century. The history play productions, directed by artistic director Laurie Sansom, were praised by audiences and critics alike in Edinburgh and London in 2014 and are now touring the country. Each play can be seen as a standalone drama, while the trio can offer audiences a broad understanding of this period

February is the theatre’s music play I Am Thomas, which has been created in collaboration with poet Simon Armitage, inventive theatre company Told by an Idiot, the Lyceum, Edinburgh and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. Set in 1696 in Edinburgh, and switching also into the present day, it tells the story of Thomas Aikenhead, a likeable and outspoken university student who goes down in history as the last person in Britain to be hanged for blasphemy. Finally, The 306: Dawn, which will be performed in a transformed barn in the Perth countryside in May and June, explores the stories of three of the 306 British soldiers who were executed for desertion and mutiny during World War I. It is written by Oliver Emanuel with a new live score performed by Red Note Ensemble. www.nationaltheatre

by Simon Stokes, promises to be a hilarious theatrical feast for the heart and mind.

The Fifth Column Southwark Playhouse, London 24 March-16 April Hemingway’s experiences of Madrid during the Spanish civil war, with his lover Martha Gellhorn –one of the first female war correspondents – are believed to have inspired his play set in 1937, which has its UK premiere, directed by Tricia Thorns, at the Southwark Playhouse. In a hotel


during the bombardment by Franco’s artillery, two US war correspondents fall passionately in love, while the idealism of the young men who came to fight with the International Brigades is contrasted with the ruthlessness of civil war.

The Night Watch Manchester Royal Exchange 19 May-18 June Last year, Laura Wade’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ risqué novel Tipping the Velvet enjoyed a successful run at London’s Lyric Hammersmith. Now,

Waters’ The Night Watch gets a new reimagining

for the stage, this time by playwright

Hattie Naylor. Set in the late 1940s, the narrative weaves together the stories of five people recovering from the chaos of war and moves from

Some of the best things to

see and do with a bit of political bite

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