Arcola Theatre announces 17 new shows in part two of Today I’m Wiser, an outdoor festival of performance - Arcola Theatre

Arcola Theatre announces 17 new shows in part two of Today I’m Wiser, an outdoor festival of performance

  • From September – November, Arcola presents the next part in their Today I’m Wiser festival programme of outdoor art and performance.
  • Arcola Theatre’s new outdoor performance space, Arcola Outside, designed by award-winning designer Jon Bausor is home to the Today I’m Wiser festival.
  • Featuring the premiere of Robin Hooper’s comic and moving play Broken Lad, the first new play Arcola has produced since March 2020.
  • Diverse stories from a range of theatre companies, including The Write Network’s Blood Sweat and Vaginas, The Walking Theatre in association with Jessie Anand Productions’ MAGDALENE, Utopia Theatre’s double bill of Here’s What She Said to Me and And the Girls in Their Sunday Dresses, and Max Wilkinson and Nico Pimparé present Rainer.
  • Today I’m Wiser also provides an opportunity for companies and artists to test new work, including work in progress sharings of Papergang Theatre’s Amaterasu – Out of the Cave, Yasmeen Audisho Ghrawi’s from the daughter of a dictator, and Emma Spearing’s Whole.

Arcola Theatre today announces 17 new shows making up part two of Today I’m Wiser: a festival of outdoor art and performance in its new space, Arcola Outside. 

Since closing its doors to the public in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Today I’m Wiser reopened the theatre to the public, in a brand new performance space, platforming innovative and daring theatre in the heart of Hackney and bringing new work and ideas explored privately over the past year into a public setting.

This announcement of 17 new shows follows the success of the first part of Today I’m Wiser, with shows received joyfully by audiences and the press. 


BROKEN LAD, by Robin Hooper, directed by Richard Speir, produced by Arcola Theatre // Phil’s reluctant about his comeback gig. His son Josh dreams of the celeb status that has passed his father by. A rough and subtle examination of masculinity in distress.

BLOOD SWEAT AND VAGINAS, by Paula David, directed by Linda Miller, produced by The Write Network // Carolann’s awakening is sudden and all-consuming. Join her journey of self-discovery to find out whether she can continue perpetuating the myth of the strong black woman.

AMATERASU – OUT OF THE CAVE: WORK IN PROGRESS,  devised by the company, produced by Papergang Theatre // Inspired by the Shinto myth of the Japanese Sun Goddess and the God of Sea and Disease, welcome to a vibrant collision of folklore, new writing, Taiko Drumming and movement.

MAGDALENE, by Mary Galloway, directed by Julia Locascio, produced by The Walking Theatre in association with Jessie Anand Productions // A new show about dating, destiny and finding Jesus in your bedroom. MAGDALENE asks the question: how and where do we find real connection?

DURUŞMA (THE TRIAL), produced by SEYYAR KUMPANYA // What do you do when you are suddenly accused of an unknown crime? This bold new adaptation of Kafka’s mysterious adventure asks questions about the deep truths that underlie our society.

HERE’S WHAT SHE SAID TO ME, by Oladipo Agboluaje, directed by Mojisola Elufowoju, produced by Utopia Theatre // Drama, music and poetry combine to tell a moving story of daughters and mothers in the world of migrations and shifting identities.

AND THE GIRLS IN THEIR SUNDAY DRESSES, by Zakes Mda, directed by Mojisola Elufowoju, produced by Utopia Theatre by arrangement with DALRO (Pty) Limited // A revival of Mda’s 1988 play, set in the shadow of apartheid, when the possibility of change in South Africa remains suffocated by corruption.

RAINER, by Max Wilkinson, directed by Nico Pimparé, produced by Max Wilkinson and Nico Pimparé // Rainer is the story of a solitary delivery rider and her mental collapse, as she moves from leafy suburbs to luxury flats, invisible to those around her.

NOMAD, by Nell Hardy, directed by Sandra Preciado, produced by R.A.T. // NoMad is a dizzying true story of homelessness and mental health hospitalisation, told with devastating authenticity, disarming humour and, ultimately, hope.

10 REASONS WHY, written, directed and produced by Nicole Botha // What if the people of London got the voice they deserve? In a fusion of spoken word and basslines, 10 letters transform into stories of people who make our city what it is.

ON/OFF HENRY: WORK IN PROGRESS, by Nina Bowers and Philip Arditti, directed by Sarah Bedi  // Would you die for your country? on/off henry draws on Shakespeare’s greatest hero to unpick the stories we tell about ourselves.

THE FOURTEENTH STOP, produced by Speaks of Rivers // Adventure through a city transformed by young Taaliyah’s imagination. Featuring puppetry, poetry and physical theatre in an uplifting interactive experience for all the family.

FROM THE DAUGHTER OF A DICTATOR: WORK IN PROGRESS, written, performed and produced by Yasmeen Audisho Ghrawi, directed by Charly Monreal // Remain seated, listen carefully, it may save your life. Your tolerance of the tragic hilarity of power will be tested, so will your feelings about governments and fake truths about our collective existence.

WOMEN’S WRITES, by three womxn playwrights, produced by Women’s Writes // The ONCOMM Nominated Women’s Writes returns, this time with three brand new short plays written by womxn playwrights. Join us for an empowering night of female-driven theatre.

FOUND IN TRANSLATION, produced by Miniver Theatre // A stand-up comedy night featuring comedians who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing or use BSL to communicate.

MADDIE, by Josh Merritt, directed by Nicky Allpress // The world looks different to Maddie, as she navigates the streets and stations that are her temporary homes. Being autistic helps her see light in the darkness. Lucky for Maddie.

WHOLE: WORK IN PROGRESS, written, performed and produced by Emma Spearing, directed and co-devised by Jamie Wood // A dive into the depths of what happens when you lose part of yourself, Whole is a raw, tender, messy love story, a wound splashed in whiskey and haunted by ghosts.


Arcola’s co-founder and Executive Producer Leyla Nazli said:

“We have been so thrilled to welcome audiences back to Arcola in our new venue: Arcola Outside. Home to Today I’m Wiser, a festival born out of a desire to celebrate creativity and optimism for the future, we are delighted to continue to support the artistic endeavours of so many theatre companies who have been working passionately and arduously at this time to create work with important stories to tell.”

Arcola’s annual Grimeborn festival has also returned, which makes opera accessible for the many through contemporary stagings and affordable ticket prices. Following widespread acclaim for Grimeborn 2021’s first production Die Walküre at Hackney Empire, the next four Grimeborn operas find their home at Arcola Outside: Ensemble OrQuesta’s Alcina, The Opera Maker’s Hopes & Fears, Barefoot Opera’s Orfeo ed Euridice / Zanetto, and The Wild Stage’s The Tango Collective: The Piazzolla Project.

Arcola’s Participation programme, which creates over 13,500 opportunities each year for the people of Hackney and beyond, will continue to empower people to get involved in the performing arts with a private sharing taking place during the festival.

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