This summer, Camden People’s Theatre will reopen their doors to welcome back audiences and performers alike to a fresh new space.
Executive director Kaya Stanley-Money said: “After a rollercoaster year, it feels quite momentous that we’re finally able, not only to re-open our theatre for public performances, but to reopen a theatre that has been totally transformed both inside and out. We’ll be unveiling the finishing touches in the autumn but with the vast majority of the work completed we didn’t want to delay getting the people who make CPT what it is, back in our building. Our capital development project has been fundamental to CPT’s survival during this crisis and now provides the space for us to support ours and our community’s recovery. We’ve been reliant on digital tools and our brilliant local partners to deliver extensive artist support and community projects over the last few months, and now we cannot wait to wait to return to our home and welcome everyone into our beautiful theatre.”
Artistic director Brian Logan said, “We’ve not been dormant for the last year: with digital theatre, engagement projects, outdoor performance and ‘Outside the Box’ thinking, it’s been one of the most active and creative periods in CPT’s history. But something very special has been missing – and we’re delighted that, from mid-June, it’s coming back, with a (Covid-secure!) bang. This two-month season of in-person theatre takes us back to our first love: everyone in a room together (distanced or otherwise…), sharing the experience of adventurous, hot-button performance. We can’t wait to welcome audiences from Camden, London and beyond back to CPT. We promise them a warm welcome and all the thrills that come when a season’s worth of stellar artists, reined in for fifteen months, are finally unleashed.”
The newly reimagined venue will offer improved facilities for performers and audiences alike, as well as a more comfortable bar and foyer space. Celebrating the return of in-person performances, a cutting-edge programme of work will launch the space whilst an exciting digital programme will continue online. Firmly rooted in its local community, Camden People’s Theatre has included local residents throughout the co-design process, improving access, sustainability and paving the way for many more years as one of Camden’s best-loved venues.
Reopening Camden People’s Theatre on Tuesday 15th June is Will Dickie’s White Sun (15th – 17th June), which unpicks white privilege, colonialism and legacies of trauma in the search to understand identity. Meanwhile In Bed With My Brother’s Retrained (17th-19th June) is a satirical take on the government’s unpopular approach to artists during the pandemic. Adam Lenson, director of smash-hit live-stream Public Domain at Southwark Playhouse, will perform But What If You Die? (25th – 26th June), a solo musical about a cancer diagnosis, mortality and the lives un-lived. Highlights also include Hannah Greenstreet’s reimagining of the classic Andromeda (27th – 31st July), interweaving ancient fragments of a lost tale with a contemporary queer love story.
This June also marks the return of the much-loved feminist theatre festival Calm Down Dear, now in its eighth year. Performances include Georgie Jones’ acclaimed solo Ish, celebrating the grotesque and glorious experience of growing up female, alongside new performances by artists from south-east Asia, Bulgaria and beyond. Online, Sprint Digital will showcase a host of new work ranging from Australian theatre company Pony Cam’s award winning experimental PowerPoint experience, A Red Square to Sophie Warren’s interactive exploration of chronic and invisible illness in younger people, Sugar Rush.
All performances are being put on-sale to socially distanced capacity. More tickets will be released in early June if social distancing is – as per the government’s current roadmap – on course to end.
The building has been co-designed with CPT artists, staff, audiences and community members to create a more accessible, more sustainable space, made to better serve the people using it. The vastly improved on-street presence will celebrate the original pub architecture and provide a vibrant gateway for Drummond Street.
Alongside the newly refurbished foyer/bar space, Camden People’s Theatre will begin to realise a long-term ambition to open its doors to the public in the daytime, paving the way for CPT to operate as a community hub. The space will provide regular and one-off free cultural activities that bring together both the local community and the community of artists in the foyer and cafe space throughout the week.
In tandem with the public programme of works, this year will see CPT take significant steps towards democratising their decision-making process, working towards the creation of a community steering group and the introduction of an artist-in-residence within the community. First trialled as part of the commissioning process for Outside the Box, the steering group will be made up of local residents and community leaders who will work with the artist-in-residence and directors on the development of CPT’s creative programme.
Founded 27 years ago, Camden People’s Theatre is one of Britain’s most influential studio theatres. Its mission is to champion different ways of thinking about the world by supporting emerging artists making adventurous theatre – particularly about issues that matter to people now. Its work is rooted in the communities of Camden and London. Through it, they celebrate the bold, the spirited and the unconventional.
The redevelopment has been made possible by generous funding and donations from Arts Council England Small Capital Grants. Foyle Foundation, Theatre Trust, Euston Town BID, Section 106 Funds (Camden Council), Viridor Credits, cockayne Foundation, Backstage Trust, Culture Recovery Fund Capital Kickstart and individual donations.
For information on social-distancing measures in place, please visit Camden People Theatre’s website. www.cptheatre.co.uk