Arcola Theatre announces Today I’m Wiser programme, an outdoor festival of art and performance

  • From June – November, Arcola presents a programme of outdoor performance.
  • Featuring an Arcola production of a new adaptation of Pierre de Marivaux’s romantic comedy, The Game of Love and Chance.
  • With special collaborations including Tower Theatre, Arcola Participation companies and Coram, a charity working to improve the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people.
  • Diverse stories from a broad range of theatre companies, including Defibrillator Theatre’s Sunnymead Court, Flux Theatre’s The Narcissist, Thistle and Rose Arts’ My Father the Tantric Masseur and Metamorph Theatre’s Scab.
  • The festival opens Arcola Theatre’s new outdoor performance space, Arcola Outside, designed by award-winning designer Jon Bausor
  • Today I’m Wiser also provides an opportunity for companies and artists to test new work, including work in progress sharings of Maya ProductionsBenny and the Greycats and Turtle Key Art’s God’s D*ck.

Arcola Theatre today announces Today I’m Wiser: an outdoor festival of art and performance in its new performance space, Arcola Outside. 

Since closing its doors to the public in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Today I’m Wiser reopens the theatre to the public, bringing innovative and daring theatre back to Hackney and east London and bringing new work and ideas explored privately over the past year into a public setting.

In its first two decades, Arcola has helped to launch some of the leading lights in British theatre, providing early-career opportunities to artists including Aml Ameen, Zawe Ashton, Mike Bartlett, Alecky Blythe, Polly Findlay, Arinzé Kene, Lucy Kirkwood, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Lynette Linton, Michael Longhurst, Wunmi Mosaku, Barney Norris, Lyndsey Turner and Alexander Zeldin.
After an enormously challenging year for the theatre industry, Today I’m Wiser invites audiences and artists to recommune and rebuild our community bonds, which have been so disrupted due to lockdowns and other global challenges.

MY FATHER THE TANTRIC MASSEUR by Roann McCloskey, directed by Lolo Brown and Joel Samuels, produced by Thistle and Rose Arts
In this joyful hour, Roann McCloskey takes on sex, sexuality and power as she navigates her life as a queer, British-Algerian woman.

SUNNYMEAD COURT by Gemma Lawrence, directed by James Hillier and produced by Defibrillator in association with the Actors Centre 
Nominated for four Offie Awards in 2020, SUNNYMEAD COURT is an uplitfing, funny queer romance.

THE NARCISSIST by Will Adolphy, directed by Gemma Aked-Priestley, produced by Flux Theatre
This laugh out loud one-man help-session blends monologue, stand-up, dance and rap.

BENNY AND THE GREYCATS: WORK IN PROGRESS + Q&A by Suzanne Gorman, produced by Maya Productions
A 1960s story of a family of Anglo-Indian musicians who swap playing in swing bands in South India to pursue a new life in the steel city of Sheffield.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? produced by Coram and Arcola Theatre
Using historical stories as inspiration and led by rapper and artist Ric Flo, 12 care-experienced young people present a performance exploring their own identity struggles using spoken word, music and rap.

THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE by Pierre de Marivaux, in a new version by Jack Gamble and Quentin Beroud, directed by Jack Gamble, produced by Arcola Theatre
Arcola presents a new adaptation of Pierre de Marivaux’s classic play, a rebellious romantic comedy about sex, class and blessings in disguise.

Tower Theatre presents three collections: Jubilee Voices, a series of monologues by Year 6 children; I Can’t Breathe, a collection of monologues and short plays examining what it means to be Black, and Booster Jab, a selected programme from their summer festival.

HOW WE LOVE by Annette Brooke, directed by Robbie Taylor Hunt, produced by Airlock
Telling the story of lesbian student Regi and gay journalist Babs, this play explores the treatment  of LGBTQIA+ people in Nigeria and diffferent types of love. 

SONGS OF RESISTANCE by William Ludwig & Dean Austin
The ‘cabaret kings’ William Ludwig and Dean Austin return with an exploration of resistance in music – through the satirical songs of the Berlin Cabarets, protest songs from Latin America and more.

Mark Thomas returns to the Arcola with a new show exploring what to do in the face of a state outlawing annoyance.

ANYTIME THE WIND CAN CHANGE by Alex Podger, with music by Benjamin Yellowitz, produced by Peculiar Hand
With beautiful live music and heartwarming shadow puppetry from a world-class ensemble, Anytime The Wind Can Change is a unique cabaret night of lonely giants, comets and compassion.

GOD’S D*CK: WORK IN PROGRESS by Hassan Abdulrazzak, directed by Daniel Goldman, produced by Turtle Key Arts
Set in a laboratory, God’s D*ck is a Darwinian comedy about competition that puts the cut-throat world of scientific research under the microscope.

NEVERGREEN by Gus Mitchell, directed by Eloïse Poulton, produced by the wonderful
the wonderful’s debut show is the astonishing untold story of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson, combining multimedia invention with poetic power and audacious storytelling.

SCAB by Luke Stapleton, directed by Jamie Biddle, produced by Metamorph Theatre
Set in a coastal town in northern England, Scab explores the themes of trauma, family and loneliness through the story of an alienated young man’s fateful encounter with a stranger.

Arcola’s co-founder and Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen said:

“Taking place in Arcola Outside, our new outdoor venue, Today I’m Wiser provides a platform for a diverse group of artists and companies to reunite with our audiences and our community, bringing conversations about our bonds, our shared experiences and our resilience back into the public domain. “

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

“We are so pleased to announce the programme for Today I’m Wiser, a festival rooted in the idea of celebrating our creativity and optimism for the future. In spite of the disruptions and challenges of the past year, this festival invites us to see things in new ways and spark our collective desire for change.”

Later in 2021 Arcola’s annual Grimeborn festival returns (programme to be announced), which makes opera accessible for the many through contemporary stagings and affordable ticket prices.

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.