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Mercury Theatre Colchester 2013 Season

Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd's inaugural 12 month season

Mercury Theatre
Balkerne Gate
Essex CO1 1PT
Box Office 01206 573948

Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd’s inaugural 2013 season is the first in the 40 year history of the Mercury Theatre to run 12 months. This will include a new 1960s musical comedy The Opinion Makers; a Mercury Young Company production of The Who’s Quadrophenia; Garage Band with live Punk, a first ever pairing of linked Brecht & Karge plays plus Robin Herford returning to Alan Ayckbourn’s Intimate Exchanges 30 years on.

Wednesday 20 Feb – Saturday 2 March

Garage Band a comedy by Andy Barrett and directed by Paul Hodson. This was originally seen at Nottingham Playhouse in 2009.

Four middle-aged, middle-class misfits try to spark a punk revival featuring electric guitar, head-banging and existentialist philosophy, recapturing the anarchic energy of the late 1970s, and thrashing through the back-catalogues of The Damned, The Clash, and The Buzzcocks.

Andy Barrett’s other work includes ‘Dolly’ a musical about Dolly The Sheep at Leicester Curve in 2010. Paul Hodson’s play ‘Meeting Joe Strummer’ won an Edinburgh Fringe First.

Monday 4 March – Saturday 22 June

Intimate Exchanges by Alan Ayckbourn will be directed by Robin Herford. Ruth Gibson and Gwynfor Jones play all the characters in 4 of the eight inter-related plays. These are presented in sequence between other Main House productions.

Rehearsals start on Monday 10 December 2012. Robin Herford’s early career was with Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. He was in the original production of Intimate Exchanges in 1982. He has directed ‘The Woman In Black’ which has been in the West End for 17 years.

Thurs 21 March – Sat 6 April

The award winning musical The Hired Man by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall will be directed by Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd. This is a Mercury Theatre, Colchester & Curve Theatre, Leicester co-production.

The musical is set in Cumbria at the beginning of the twentieth century and is about a young couple and their struggle to make a living from the land, prior to the First World War. Daniel Buckroyd has reassembled the same creative team as his acclaimed 2008 UK tour & subsequent New York season.

Thursday 23 May – Sat 8 June

The History Boys by Alan Bennett, will be directed by Daniel Buckroyd.

Alan Bennett’s multi Award winning comedy was at the National Theatre in 2004, prior to the West End and Broadway. An unruly sixth form class of gifted boys in the 1980s are taught by two eccentric and innovative teachers, as their headmaster pushes for them all to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge. The film version was in 2006.

Thursday 22– Sat 24 August

Quadrophenia Mercury Young Company present a new stage adaptation of The Who’s classic album by Pete Townshend, by arrangement with Eel Pie Recordings Ltd. It will be directed by Mercury Associate Director Tony Casement.

In 2001 Daniel Buckroyd adapted and directed the first stage version of ‘Quadrophenia’ at the Nuffield Theatre Southampton

Thurs 5 – Sat 14 September.

The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo adapted & directed by Daniel Buckroyd with music by Carlton Edwards. This was originally produced by New Perspectives, Curve Theatre Leicester and Derby Theatre in April 2012.

Michael Morpurgo’s 1996 Award winning The Butterfly Lion is a tale of enduring friendship of a young boy and an orphaned white lion cub he rescues from the African Veldt. Daniel Buckroyd has also adapted and directed Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Farm Boy’ the sequel to ‘War Horse’ which has just completed its second UK tour.

Thursday 3 – Saturday 19 October

Nikolai Foster will direct The Good Person of Sichuan (1943) by Bertolt Brecht in a translation by Michael Hofmann (1990 National Theatre, published by Methuen).

Friday 4 – Saturday 19 October. Man to Man by Manfred Karge, translated by Anthony Vivis.

There will be specially commissioned music for both productions.

In The Good Person of Sichuan, Shen Te, a prostitute chosen by three gods as an example of shining virtue, opens a tobacco shop to serve factory workers, only to find herself exploited by dossers, drug dealers and even the pilot with whom she falls in love. Her only solution is to adopt the ruthless persona of a male cousin, Shui Ta, whose hard-heartedness enables her to survive.

Based on the same true story that inspired Brecht, Man to Man is contemporary counterpoint to The Good Person of Sichuan.

As the Nazis come to power in Germany, a young widow discovers that her only means of survival is to take on her dead husband’s job, and with it his identity. Her struggle to maintain this deception for over forty years forms the focus of this play. Tilda Swinton played Ella/Max Gericke at the Traverse Theatre and Royal Court in 1988. This is the first time these inextricably linked plays have been presented simultaneously. Manfred Karge was a member of Bertolt Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble. His play ‘Conquest of the South Pole’ was revived at the Arcola in April 2012.

Thurs 24 October – Saturday 9 November

The Opinion Makers by Brian Mitchell & Joseph Nixon, a new musical comedy directed by Daniel Buckroyd, is a Mercury Theatre Colchester Derby Theatre co-production.

When the utterly incompetent team at struggling Fernsby Market Research find themselves facing the stiffest challenge of their professional lives – to report what the British Public really think of world famous 'Doctor Campbell's Lotion' in readiness for a re-launch - there’s only one thing for it; make it all up! After all, that's what market research companies do, isn't it? Brian Mitchell & Joseph Nixon wrote ‘Those Magnificent Men’ 2010 UK tour, Edinburgh 2011 and 2nd UK tour.

28 November 2012