Autumn highlights at Battersea Arts Centre (September to December)
This autumn, Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall reopens after it was destroyed by fire in 2015. Shows inside the Hall include Gecko’s Missing, which returns to finish the run that was interrupted by the blaze; the London premiere of The National Theatre of Scotland’s Adam, a remarkable, true story of a young Egyptian trans man and his journey to reconciliation; award-winning artist Bryony Kimmings presents the world premiere of I’m a Phoenix, Bitch, her first solo show in nearly a decade; Lekan Lewal’s new commission SUPERBLACKMAN, a multi-art form mash up that explores power, mental health and representation; Dead Centre’s deconstructed and absurd take on Chekhov’s First Play; and Little Bulb Theatre’sOrpheus, their most ambitious show to date, which was developed over two years at Battersea Arts Centre before touring internationally to critical acclaim.
The rest of the building hosts radical spoken word, live cinema and a new adventure for young people. Return to Elm House shares the radical and inspiring true story of Jeanie Nassau Senior, a Wandsworth pioneer who helped improve the lives of thousands of children; Apples and Snakes, the UK’s leading organisation for performance poetry, celebrate their 35thanniversary with Rallying Cry, a unique immersive spoken word event showcasing poetry as a force for social change; Ross Sutherland reimagines an exorcism as an art installation over Halloween, Rendezvous in Bratislava sees Miriam Sherwood collaborating across time with her long-dead grandfather to present a cabaret show together; and vessel by Sue MacLaineasks who has agency, who has privilege and who is represented?
Full details below…..
Brewing in Battersea Daytime – Thu 30 Aug – Fri 31 Aug, 11:30am
Price: £5 or 3 for £10
Brewing in Battersea Cabaret – Fri 31 Aug, 7pm
Price: £10 – £12.50
Touretteshero returns to Battersea Arts Centre for a two-day celebration of inclusive immersive performance and creativity for disabled and non-disabled people. During the day on Thursdayand Friday, Touretteshero invite families of all ages to have fun, play and share ideas in two vibrant days of activities and performance. Each afternoon culminates in an anarchic Bubble Up Parade, featuring live music and plenty of dancing.
On Friday night, the Brewing in Battersea Cabaret offers an eclectic showcase of talent with partying, DJing and performance. The Brewing in Battersea Cabaret is a playful, social and political live night featuring a line-up of disabled and non-disabled artists celebrating diversity, difference, and disability culture. The line-up includes teenage creative collective Sounds Like Chaosand musician Captain Hotknives, with more to be announced.
All events and activities will be BSL interpreted, captioned and audio-described. They’re also relaxed, which means that audience members are welcome to move around and make noise at any time.
Thu 6 Sep – Sat 15 Sep
Price: £15 – £30
Gecko, the multi-award winning and internationally acclaimed physical theatre company, were mid-way through their run of Missing in 2015, when Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall was destroyed by fire, consuming their set, props and costumes. They return to complete the run of their visually stunning and visceral show in the first UK performances since the fire. Missing is the first full theatre show in the reborn Grand Hall, Thursday 6 September is the official reopening night.
Missing is a journey into the depths of a person’s psyche: as Lily unearths her forgotten past, the truth changes everything. Critically acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko again invites you to enter a deliciously warped world of striking imagery, multiple languages and beautiful music.
Tue 18 Sep – Sat 29 Sep
Price: £15 – £30
Adam is the remarkable, true story of a young trans man and his journey to reconciliation – with himself, those closest to him, and the world as he knows it. From Egypt to Scotland, it charts Adam’s fight across borders and genders to find a place to call home.
Told with warmth and featuring a 120-strong digital trans choir from across the globe Adam boldly explores the experience of a young transgender person.
Adam is performed by Adam Kashmiry, the real person on which the story is based, directed by Olivier Award-Winner Cora Bissett, and written by playwright and dramaturg Frances Poet, with music composed by Jocelyn Pook.
Wed 3 Oct – Sat 20 Oct
Price: £15 – £26
In 2016, Bryony nearly drowned. Postnatal breakdowns, an imploding relationship and an extremely sick child left her sitting beneath the waves hoping she could slowly turn to shell.
Two years later and she is able to deal with life again, but wears the scars of that year like a dark and heavy cloak. Who do we become after trauma? How do we turn pain into power? How do we fly instead of drown?
Bryony Kimmings returns with her first solo show in nearly a decade. Combining personal stories with epic film, soundscapes and ethereal music, Bryony creates a powerful, dark and joyful work about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength.
Thu 4 Oct – Sat 6 Oct
Price: £10 – £12.50
Poets declare their rebel yell as Battersea Arts Centre is plunged into a rabble rousing ruckus.
Apples and Snakes, the UK’s leading organisation for performance poetry, celebrate their 35th anniversary with Rallying Cry, a unique immersive spoken word event showcasing poetry as a force for social change. Audiences are thrust into the midst of protest and encounter the UK’s leading spoken word artists they as journey across the building.
Tue 9 Oct – Sat 27 Oct
Price: £12.50 – £18
The Paper Cinema conjures a vividly original version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth this autumn. Intricate ink and pen illustrations, cut out of cereal packets and pizza boxes, become over 400 individual puppets of characters and stunning landscapes. These are masterfully manipulated in front of video cameras and projected in real-time to create a silent film, set to a live score, before the audience’s eyes. Hand-drawn puppets collide with music, Foley and cinematic projection to create epic battle scenes and intricate characters. Following their critically acclaimed Odyssey, The Paper Cinema re-imagines Macbeth as a cautionary tale for our times.
Wed 24 Oct, 7.30pm
Price: £12.50 – £15
Talented and dynamic vocal collective BAC Beatbox Academy return with their critically acclaimed, electrifyingly poetic and political gig-theatre show, Frankenstein.
Inspired by Mary Shelley’s original tale of power and persecution, Frankenstein explores the idea of what makes a modern monster.
This amped by monstrous evening of beatbox, song, soundscape and battles also celebrates a decade of BAC Beatbox Academy.
Tue 30 Oct – Sat 3 Nov
Price: £10 – £12.50
“The Vatican believes that the best way to understand a haunting is to approach it like a work of art. A haunted house, therefore, is basically a temporary gallery, full of terrible demonic art installations.
The role of the exorcist is simple: we must be the most vicious art critic imaginable…”
Over Halloween week, Battersea Arts Centre presents a brand new ghost story from Ross Sutherland, the writer of Stand By for Tape Back-Up and BBC Two’s Missing Episode.
Directed by Rob Watt; score by Jonnie Common. Developed at Battersea Arts Centre.
Text by Anton Chekhov, Ben Kidd and Bush Moukarzel
Wed 31 Oct – Sat 10 Nov
Price: £15 – £26
Dead Centre’s deconstructed and absurd take on Chekhov’s First Play explores the essence of Chekhov and of performance itself.
During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Maria Chekhov, Anton’s sister, placed many of her late brother’s manuscripts and papers in a safety deposit box in Moscow. In 1921 Soviet scholars opened the box and discovered a play.
The title page was missing. The play they found has too many characters, too many themes, too much action. All in all, it’s generally dismissed as unstageable. Like life.
Tue 6 Nov – Sat 24 Nov
Price: £10 – £12.50
Performed by four diverse female voices, vessel asks who has agency, who has privilege, who is represented, who is silenced and who is reading that silence as consent?
Embracing multiplicity, vessel derives poetic musicality through layering and repetition. vessel deepens MacLaine’s commitment to creatively re-interpreting forms of access and accessibility to build, stretch and illuminate the themes of the work. To this end the company is working with digital artist Giles Thacker to create bespoke, creative captions, with set and lighting design by Ben Pacey.
Co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts
Tue 13 Nov – Sat 24 Nov
Price: £10 – £12.50
Miriam and her granddad are making a cabaret together. They’re the perfect double act: he’s got the stories, she loves telling them, and they both have a flair for the theatrical. The only problem is they’ve never met. (He’s been dead for 37 years.)
Jan ‘Laco’ Kalina was a dramaturg, satirist, collector of jokes and writer of cabarets, born in Czechoslovakia in 1913. A Slovak Jew, he survived the fascists only to be imprisoned by the communists, who believed him a threat to the regime. Digging through objects and stories from Laco’s remarkable life, Miriam searches for her granddad’s voice through his own jokes, skits and songs, conjuring up an archival cabaret that reverberates with laughter from a very different place and time.
Fri 16 Nov – Sat 1 Dec
Price: £10 – £26
Mythology, pop culture and graphic novel collide in a multi art form mash up to stimulate your senses.
Al has a secret. He can fly. To break the news to his family and friends, he’s made a graphic novel and is going to turn it into a blockbuster movie.
Created by Winner of The Stage Debut Director Award and Battersea Arts Centre’s Co-Artistic Director (Up Next) Lekan Lawal, SUPERBLACKMAN explores mental health and representation in this visceral new production.
Sat 1 Dec – Sun 30 Dec
Price: £12.50 – £26
A long time ago, on the very spot where Battersea Arts Centre now stands, a brave woman known for her generosity, wisdom and care, lived in Elm House. But as the years have ticked by, her inspiring story has been long forgotten. Until now…
From the team behind the critically acclaimed The Good Neighbour (2012 and 2013), Return to Elm House is a brand new immersive adventure for the whole family.
The production shares the radical and inspiring true story of Jeanie Nassau Senior, a Wandsworth pioneer who helped improve the lives of thousands of children. Jeanie lived in Elm House, which stood on the site of Battersea Arts Centre’s Old Town Hall building, and was a campaigner for welfare rights, a co-founder of the British Red Cross and – as Britain’s first ever female civil servant – the visionary originator of modern British foster care.
Audiences will join a thrilling quest throughout the front of the building to discover hidden memories, uncover mislaid secrets and collect clues to bring back the story of Jeanie and of Elm House.
Wed 5 Dec – Sun 30 Dec
Price: £15 – £35, cabaret table packages from £160 per table (£40 per head)
Little Bulb Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Orpheus returns to its Grand Hall home, following a national and international tour including the world-renowned Salzburg Festival, Brisbane Festival and a run at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre.
An astonishingly original musical re-imagining of the epic Greek myth, Orpheus is inspired by the music of legendary jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt.
Audiences are transported to 1930s Paris where charismatic songstress Yvette Pépin has cajoled the guitar virtuoso, Django Reinhardt, into joining her in a brand new production of Orpheus. He will play the tragic hero, she will play his lost love Eurydice. Together with her troupe of operatic players she tells the thrilling tale of Orpheus’s ill-fated descent into the underworld, set to a live score of hot club jazz, opera and French chanson.
As in previous runs, the Grand Hall will once again be transformed into an opulent 1930s music hall, offering audiences a joyous night out in a bygone era.