Unity Theatre launches its Spring 2018 season, with a programme of brand new and established work to challenge and entertain.
Unity’s 2016 runaway success Nina: A Story About Me and Nina Simone, returns following a triumphant run in London, Edinburgh and Stockholm. The jazz-soaked exploration of race relations past and present stunned audiences and critics in 2017, and returns on 17-24 March as part of a multi-date UK tour.
Musicality echoes through the season – from powerful coming-of-age drama From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads (19 Jan), with its blistering David Bowie soundtrack, to Horny Handed Tons of Soil (28 March 2018), with music inspired by the work of legendary Liverpool poet Adrian Henri. Another Liverpool legend lands in the limelight on 3-5 May in Bestbeat, a new play with a jumping soundtrack about Pete Best, the original Beatles drummer. Music, mythology and mermaids unite on 13 April in Siren, a dark musical comedy inspired by the mythology of the mermaid, and Sheep Soup Productions bring their innovative comedic brand of musical theatre on 1 May with The Leftovers.
Unity once again presents a selection of topical, provocative theatre that reflects the world in which we live. Foremost is the UK Premiere of Dead and Breathing (7-17 Feb), a pitch-black comedy on the ethics of euthanasia starring multi award-winning stage and screen actress Lizan Mitchell (Detroit, Law and Order) and trans woman actress and cabaret artist Kim Tatum. Black Men Walking (26-28 April) has been tipped as a 2018 theatre highlight in the national press. The play is developed from real conversations from a black men’s walking group and is presented as part of the largest ever delivery of black British stories. War and conflict are explored in A Brave Face (17 April) from award-winning masked theatre company Vamos Theatre, who wordlessly explore the heart-breaking truths of post-traumatic stress in the military. Instructions for Border Crossing (18 April) takes war as its subject, using storytelling and live audience interaction in an unpredictable evening of theatre and marks the return of Unity favourite Daniel Bye. On 31 Jan Jackie Walker joins us for The Lynching, which opened to standing ovations at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. Her one-woman show is an impassioned response to her removal as Vice-Chair of Momentum over anti-Semitic remarks, and the ensuing media storm.
Luca Rutherford’s Political Party (27 Feb) is just that – a loud and playful get-together with an emphasis on jargon-free political conversation – with music and dancing! On 11-12 May Unity tackles radical extremism head-on with the multi award-winning Bin Laden: The One Man Show.
Light-hearted themes take centre stage in Beyond My Control (30 Jan), a synergy of theatre and psychology that explores the human brain, and Best of BE Festival, a selection of contemporary physical theatre featuring jugging and puppetry (23 Feb). The hilarious and poignant The Vagina Monologues (24 Feb) remains as vital as ever, and Place and Chips (9-10 Mar) explores how we connect with our own bodies, and our relationship with food. The theatre once again opens its doors to local performance-makers for our Scratch Night on 6 Mar, and comedy fans can rejoice as Gary Delaney, one of Britain’s leading one-liner comics, comes to the theatre on 22 Sep with Gagster’s Paradise.
Classic storytelling makes a comeback, with Man on the Moon (1 Feb) exploring father-daughter relationships and Jim Cartwright’s award-winning 1989 play Two on 2-3 Feb. Those Two Weeks (28 Feb-3 Mar) is a working class comedy from award-winning playwright Ian Salmon, and Cornermen brings fast-paced, slick storytelling on 13 Mar. The King Lear (24 Apr) updates a classic, whilst Tragi-comic family drama A Leg of Lamb arrives at the theatre on 9 & 10 May, and 2016 season highlight The Damned United returns on 22-23 May with the true story of Brian Clough and Leeds United.
There are family shows aplenty, with The Jungle Book transferring to Whitby Hall in Ellesmere Port until 14 Jan. The “perfectly formed” (The Stage) Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf returns on 17 Jan with schools performances on the 18 Jan, musical puppetry show When Another Dragon Roars plays on 14 Feb and physical theatre delight The Chit Chat Chalk Show joins us on 3 Mar. Treasure Island on the 21 & 22 Apr. Pre-schoolers can get involved with Early Years Creative Play (see listings for dates) – regular interactive sessions combining music, storytelling and movement, and finally, Unity’s theatrical treat for Christmas 2018 will be Beauty and the Beast (dates TBA). Family-friendly shows are discounted under their Families & Friends Memberships, which also includes free attendance to our Saturday morning creative and performing arts clubs Splatterdays (see listings for discount details and dates).
For more information visit www.unitytheatre.co.uk