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Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:41

LONDON: Richard Eyre to Direct World Premiere of Nick Dear's THE DARK EARTH AND THE LIGHT SKY for Almeida Festival 2012


T H E   D A R K   E A R T H   A N D   T H E   L I G H T   S K Y

A L M E I D A   F E S T I V A L   2 0 1 2

WITH Inua Ellams, Inspector Sands, Lost Dog, Custom/Practice
and return visits from The TEAM, GreySCALE
and Young Friends of the Almeida: LAB

Richard Eyre returns to the Almeida Theatre to direct the world premiere of Nick Dear’s The Dark Earth and the Light Sky.   Running from 8 November 2012 – 12 January 2013, press night is 15 November 2012.   Designs are by Bob Crowley with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard.  Casting will be announced shortly.

{module ad_london_hotels}Deep in the Hampshire countryside Edward Thomas scrapes a living; disaffected husband, exhausted father and tormented writer. Then in 1913 he meets American poet Robert Frost and everything changes. As their friendship blossoms Edward writes, emerging from his cocoon of self-doubt into one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century.   On the verge of success he makes the drastic decision to enlist, confounding his friends and family. The Dark Earth and the Light Sky delves into the life of this enigmatic and complex character in an era of change and destruction.

Playwright Nick Dear’s adaptation of Frankenstein premiered at the National Theatre last year, directed by Danny Boyle.  Previously the National has presented his adaptations of Gorky’s Summerfolk and Moliere’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme as well as his play Power.  For the Royal Shakespeare Company Dear’s credits include The Art of Success, Zenobia and Pure ScienceHis Opera libretti include The Palace in the Sky for Hackney Empire and Siren Song for the Almeida.  Dear’s screenplays include Jane Austen’s Persuasion, for which he received a BAFTA, The Gambler and Byron.

Richard Eyre was Director of the National Theatre from 1988 - 1997.  His more recent work as a Director for the stage includes the award-winning production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible on Broadway, the world premières of Nicholas Wright’s Vincent in Brixton and The Reporter both forthe National Theatre, Noel Coward’s Private Lives on Broadway and the musical Mary Poppins.  Previously for the Almeida Eyre directed David Hare’s The Judas Kiss - his first production after leaving The National Theatre - The Novice and Hedda Gabler.  For television his credits include Changing Stages - a BBC Series on the history of theatre in the 20th century which he co-wrote with Nicholas Wright and presented, and the BAFTA award-winning Tumbledown.  Eyre will direct Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 for the BBC’s 2012 Shakespeare Season.  His film credits include Iris, Stage Beauty, Notes on a Scandal and The Other Man.

A L M E I D A   F E S T I V A L   2 0 1 2

This summer the Almeida throws its doors open to its annual festival which celebrates the best of international theatre.  Over four weeks (2 –28 July) the Almeida will present productions by Inua Ellams, Inspector Sands, Lost Dog and Custom/Practice with return visits from the TEAM, Greyscale and Young Friends of the Almeida.  In addition there will be a programme of one off events, to be announced shortly.  The Festival will enable audiences to hear new and diverse theatre voices, bringing a fresh perspective to the Almeida’s work. 


Presented by Fuel, poet, writer, teacher and performer Inua Ellams starts the Almeida’s 2012 Festival with Knight Watch.  A 45 minutes site specific performance, accompanied by two musicians, Knight Watch will be performed on 2 and 3 July at 7.30pm in an off-site venue yet to be announced.

Michael keeps away from the warring tribes until a passerby helps him out of a tight situation. Instantly, he is pulled into the culture he has tried to escape. As the city spirals out of control around him and battle lines are drawn, will Michael succeed in ending the war?

Knight Watch is commissioned by the Albany and funded by Arts Council England.


Inspector Sands creates devised work with a particular focus on the way in which global events and trends manifest themselves in the detail of everyday life.  Performances of Mass-Observation, their third show, are 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 July at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on 14 July at 2.30pm.

In 1937 a young woman is discovering the world; in 2012 a young man gets lost in his grandfather’s care home. Mass-Observation, the latest show from the award-winning Inspector Sands is about 95 years that have gone by in a flash and an afternoon that lasts an eternity.

Inspector Sands was founded in 2005 and their two award-winning shows, Hysteria and If That’s All There Is have toured nationally and internationally, including presentations in China (with the British Council) and New York City.

Mass-Observationwas commissioned by the Almeida Theatre and The New Wolsey Theatre and is supported by The Corn Exchange Newbury.


One of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is magically retold by London based theatre company Custom/Practice.  Performances at the Almeida are on 16, 17, 20 (captioned performance) and 21 July at 7.30pm with a matinee at 3pm on 21 July.

This edited production of  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, moves from a bleak modern, inner city school detention room to the fantastical world of princes and lovers, forests and fairies. 

Founded in November 2009 Custom/Practice are committed to creating arresting productions of new and classical work, delivered alongside an integrated programme of professional development and high-level educational outreach that reflects the best practice and cultural diversity of 21st Century Britain.


Lost Dog will present their latest show, It Needs Horses/Home for Broken Turnson 23, 24, 26 and 28 July at 7.30pm as part of the 2012 Festival.

It Needs Horses tells the tale of two down at heel performers and their increasingly desperate attempts to entertain the crowd. Home for Broken Turns is the first showing of a new work from Lost Dog which expands the story of this faded ringmaster and his bedraggled assistant.

Formed in 2004, Lost Dog has created three full length works, Hungry Ghosts, which toured nationally and internationally in 2007/8, The Rain Parade which was commissioned by Dance Digital and toured in 2009 and Salvage, created at the Corn Exchange in Newbury and performed at British Dance Edition and the Brighton Festival 2010.  It Needs Horses won the Place Prize in 2011.

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The Festival continues with a run of performances by the Young Friends of the Almeida.  This Company of young people have responded to the creative work of the Almeida’s 2011/12 season.  Written by Rebecca Prichard, whose most recent play was the critically acclaimed Dream Pill for Clean Break Theatre Company, Parallax will be directed by Natalie Abrahami, former Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre.  Performances of Parallax are 25 and 27 July at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on 28 July at 3pm. 

On 21 July at 12.30pm, developed during the festival through workshops with Custom/Practice, The Mini Dream, a shortened version of Shakespeare’s classic will also be performed by the Almeida’s Young Friends.

The first Young Friends of the Almeida’s production in 2009, Or Nearest Offer, was written by Tanya Ronder and directed by Vik Sivalingam. Red Helicopter, written by Robin French and directed by Tessa Walker followed in 2010. Lu Kemp directed John Donelly’s play, Encourage The Others in 2011.


Greyscale return to the Almeida with the latest production Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone, written and directed by Selma Dimitrijevic. Performances are on 18 (to include audio description, captioning and integrated British Sign Language) and 19 July at 7.30pm.

What happens when we discover that our parents are flawed human beings, and that at some point, sooner than we think, they are suddenly going to disappear from our lives? Intimate and funny, this play presents a lifetime of conversations, condensed into four versions of the same moment.

Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone recently enjoyed a hugely successful run in Moscow where it was part of the repertoire of Teatar Doc for over a year.  In 2011 the production won two major awards at the Tekstura Festival in Perm. 

Since their inception in 2009 Greyscale have produced work in partnership with Northern Stage, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Theatre Royal Bath, Arts Council England, Warwick University, Oran Mor and the Theatre Royal Stratford East.   They took part in the 2011 Almeida Festival presenting The Theatre Brothel.


Returning to the Almeida, New York ensemble the TEAM will present RoosevElvison 9, 10, 11 and 12 July at 7.30pm.

An enormous man strides through western landscapes in a place called “the Badlands.” His dead wife visits him at night in fever dreams. And somewhere else, warmer and decades into the future, in a place called “Graceland,” another man lies face down on a toilet. They speak American. They happen to be played by women.

The TEAM - the Theatre of the Emerging American Moment – is a New York City-based theatre company dedicated to dissecting and celebrating the experience of living in America today.  Led by Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin, the TEAM took part in the Almeida’s 2009 Festival with their production of The Capitalism Project.  Three times winners of the Edinburgh Fringe First Awards, the Company are also the recipients of the 2007 Dublin Fringe Best Production and the 2008 Total Theatre Award.  They were last in London at the Barbican with Architecting in 2009. 

RoosevElvis is produced in association with the Almeida Theatre, the Gate Theatre and Brooklyn’s Bushwick Starr.


By becoming a member of the Almeida Theatre prior to May 1, Patrons can take advantage of Priority Booking to secure best seats for the season ahead of the public. Membership starts from just £50 a year and includes the opportunity to attend Supporters’ Evenings with pre-show talks from members of the creative team, and regular Almeida news updates.


The Almeida Theatre is grateful to its Principal Partner Aspen whose three year commitment started last summer, building on the long term relationship between the two companies. Aspen’s commitment to the Almeida Theatre ensures continued bold programming, artistic endeavour and risk taking. Aspen, established in 2002, is a leading specialty insurance and reinsurance company with over 670 employees in eight countries.

The Almeida Theatre is supported by Arts Council England.


Access           The Dark Earth and the Light Sky

Captioned performance 11 December 2012 at 7.30pm

Audio Described performance by VocalEyes 15 December 2012 at 2.30pm with Touch Tour at 1pm

Talk Back post show discussion with speech to text transcription 11 December 2012

Address       Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1TA        

Cafe-Bar        The Almeida Cafe-Bar is open from 11.30am -11.00pm, Monday to Saturday

Box Office     Phone 020 7359 4404 (10am – 7.30pm)

On line

In person 10.00am – 7.30pm, Monday - Saturday
preview prices £8 - £26, concessions available
after press night price £8 - £32, concessions available
day seats (2 per person) will go on sale at 11am on day of performance, in person from Box Office for all performances post press night

Islington First (if you live or work in Islington) £20, check box office for dates

Under 30s £16 for Monday performances

Priority Booking for Almeida Theatre members from 17 April 2012 at 10am
Public Booking from 1 May 2012 at 10am

Regular performances are Monday - Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinees at 2.30pm, Press Nights at 7pm
Extra matinee Wednesday matinee performances at 2.30pm for– 28 November 2012 and 9 January 2013
There are no performances of The Dark Earth and the Light Sky on 24, 25, 26 and 31 December



15 March – 12 May 2012


Eduardo de Filippo

Director Michael Attenborough

Press Night 22 March

17 May – 30 June 2012

World premiere


Matthew Dunster

Director Jeremy Herrin

Press Night 24 May

2 – 28 July 2012


31 August – 3 November 2012


William Shakespeare

Director Michael Attenborough

Press night 11 September

8 November 2012 – 12 January 2013


Nick Dear

Director Richard Eyre

Press Night 15 November