Laura Elliot and Corey Campbell, the new leadership team of the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, are delighted to reveal further details of the spring 2023 season, which will include a series of high quality, co-created dramas, co-produced with nationally and internationally renowned companies and theatres; as they further cement the programming under the umbrella of their vision of the Belgrade as a ‘Theatre of Diverse Stories’.
Creative Director, Corey Campbell, will devise and direct the first home-produced show of his tenure from 24 April – 6 May. Big Aunty, is a darkly comic family drama that is alive with ideas and emotions that connect us all; offering a welcome opportunity to gather and reflect on challenging times, and how we can find a path to resolution.
From 10 – 13 May, the Belgrade will collaborate with Headlong and the Barbican in a ground-breaking experiment in sustainable theatre making. Directed first at the Barbican by Katie Mitchell, the UK premiere of Miranda Rose Hall’s A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction, will subsequently tour across the UK without people or materials physically travelling.
All aspects of the performance (on stage) will be powered by bicycles peddled in real time throughout the duration of the show. A local team will stage and perform the play at the Belgrade, within the parameters of the production blueprints created by Katie Mitchell and using the same renewable bike technology.
Miranda Hall’s darkly funny and uplifting play explores what it means to be human in an era of man-made extinction. A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction and the subsequent tour, will see Mitchell draw on and further her work on the Sustainable Theatre? project, which she originally conceived with the support of the French choreographer Jérôme Bel and Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne. This July sees the start of a new partnership between the Belgrade and Paines Plough.
Corey Campbell explains: “We’re really excited to announce the pre-Edinburgh Fringe, See It First Festival, which will see the Belgrade preview Paines Plough’s summer show, and a further curated programme of work with local artists, before it travels to Edinburgh.
“We’ve partnered with Paines Plough to offer a tech support package for the curated work, as well as workshops, roundtables and development opportunities, for local audiences and artists alike. We want the Belgrade to be an artistic hub for the region, and for Coventry to get some of the best Fringe programme in their B2 auditorium.”
At the heart of Laura and Corey’s new way of working at the Belgrade is a commitment to ensuring that opportunities for local communities and artists to be involved in their work, and those opportunities are integral to Big Aunty, A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction and the work with Paines Plough.
“I have a strong belief that our relationship with our communities, on and off stage, is based on co-dependency,” says Campbell. “Our communities all bring something unique to our work and our building, and we have a lot that we can give back in return. That idea is integral to all of our work moving forwards.”
Another major project this spring will be the HUBs Festival - a selection of new theatre pieces, curated by the Belgrade’s newly formed Youth Forum, and performed by groups of all ages from across the entire participation programme. All the work will be inspired by themes from the Belgrade’s co-production of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead with world-renowned company Complicité (19 – 22 April).
Other partner work includes Mojisola Adebayo’s Family Tree, in co-production with Actors Touring Company, (10 – 18 March), Pilot Theatre’s brand new stage adaptation of Manjeet Mann’s celebrated novel Run, Rebel (21 – 25 March) co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre, Mercury Theatre Colchester, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal, and a brand new adaptation of Lord of the Flies, co-produced with Leeds Playhouse (25 – 29 April).
Laura Elliot said, “We are so excited to bring these brilliant shows and companies to Coventry this year. We want to be a home for world-class transformative, entertaining theatre - bringing the best of the best to Coventry and putting on stories - either produced by us or received by us from elsewhere - that are truly distinctive, exciting, momentum building and which bring that moment where you go ‘I just saw something extraordinary’... and that stays with you for weeks!”
The full spring season also includes an eclectic mix of music, comedy, family entertainment, and musicals.