Ellen McDougall Announces Inaugural Season As Artistic Director Of Gate Theatre

Ellen McDougall announces her inaugural season as Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, running from June 2017 to June 2018, comprising five full productions, and a one-day takeover of local Notting Hill festival InTRANSIT.

McDougall will direct the first and final productions of the season, opening with The Unknown Island, an adaptation of Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s short story; and concluding with a ground-breaking collaboration for the Gate Theatre with English National Opera – a cabaret show entitled Effigies of Wickedness, featuring a huge range of shockingly prophetic, satirical songs exactly 80 years after they were banned by the Nazis.

Alongside McDougall’s productions, the Gate presents celebrated French-Senegalese director Jean-Pierre Baro with the UK première of Magali Mougel’s play Suzy Storck; a timely revival of Anna Deavere Smith’s verbatim play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 about the LA riots; and Falk Richter’s Trust, directed by Jude Christian, which sees her returning to the Gate following her production of I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole in 2014.

This summer, the Gate takes over a day at InTRANSIT Festival in Notting Hill on 17 June with free workshops, performances and Cameroonian food, and then on 18 June the theatre throws open its doors to the public in collaboration with Fun Palaces.

Ellen McDougall said today, “I am hugely excited be introducing my first season at the Gate – it features an eclectic and vital range of stories, surprising ideas of how to tell them in our constantly changing space, and most importantly, brilliant, adventurous artists.”

“The season signals a renewed international focus for the Gate: recognising the importance of looking beyond our borders for collaborative relationships and brilliant international work. I am particularly proud of the diverse range of artists making work in this season. At the Gate, we know from experience that diverse teams make for better conversation, better insight and better work.”

“Theatre is always local before it is anything else – it’s about a group of people, coming together and being given space to think, to question, to imagine. For this reason, it is appropriate that our season begins with our Gate Takeover at InTRANSIT Festival, which embodies the three key principles on which I’ve programmed the whole season – a tangible connection with our local community, working with the most exciting artists, and a truly ambitious international spirit.”

“I will direct our first show in the autumn, The Unknown Island, adapted from Nobel Laureate José Saramago’s short story. It is the story of a journey; of the epic distances we can feel between ourselves and each other, and of a need to re-imagine the world. It is an intimate, romantic, hopeful story that will give us the opportunity to use our space in a completely new way.”

I’m absolutely delighted that we are co-producing with two very different companies: the first is Extime Company with whom we are presenting French-Senegalese director Jean-Pierre Baro’s UK debut with new play Suzy Storck. Jean-Pierre’s work has inspired me for nearly ten years and I can’t wait to introduce him to an audience in London.

Suzy Storck is followed by Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Anna Deavere Smith’s astounding verbatim play about the LA riots.  Its depiction of humanity is extraordinarily full and it feels startlingly timely following recent horrific race related violence across the world.

Jude Christian’s production of Falk Richter’s Trust will present a cast of pan-European actors alongside Jude herself. It is a text I have loved for a long time – it seamlessly marries the personal and the political in witty, acerbic piece of writing, and feels more pertinent now than ever.

Finally, our second co-production of the season is with English National Opera, whose Artistic Director Daniel Kramer previously directed groundbreaking productions of Hair and Woyzeck for the Gate. Working together provides another challenge for us to reinvent our space – we will be presenting a cabaret style show of songs from the Weimar Republic’s subversive underground scene, with a live band of musicians drawn from ENO’s Orchestra in our 75-seat theatre! The season will end with a defiant musical celebration of difference, diversity, and freedom of expression.”

You can check out more information on Gate Theatre’s website right here.

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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