New season at St Albans’ Abbey Theatre

PUBLISHED: 10:07 04 September 2011

Same Time Next Year publicity shot

Same Time Next Year publicity shot

Archant

SOMETHING for everyone on the doorstep – that’s the message from St Albans drama group the Company of Ten (CoT) which is about to launch into its new season at the Abbey Theatre.

Eleven productions are in the pipeline between mid September and next July, around half of which will be on the main stage and the remainder in the Studio.

Urging people not to traipse up to the West End to see a show when they have the Abbey Theatre on their doorstep, CoT press officer Dennis O’Connell-Baker said: “Our new season includes romantic comedy, high drama, black farce, a thriller, a Christmas children’s classic and, of course, Shakespeare.”

The season opens this month with romantic comedy Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade, a play which traces the complexities of human relationships on a nostalgic trip through the politics and changing morals of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

There is more comedy in October with Lucinda Coxon’s Happy Now, a new play following the lives of a group of 40-something friends trying to balance full-time jobs with the demands of children and ageing parents.

In his centenary year, CoT is paying homage to Terence Rattigan by performing his classic play Man and Boy in November. Set in 1934, it focuses on how a son can still crave his father’s attention despite the latter’s callous plotting and behaviour.

This year’s CoT Christmas show is the C S Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The story is well-known and the Glynn Robbins adaptation in December will feature all the favourites – the mighly lion Aslan, Mr Tumnus the faun and even Father Christmas.

Late January will find the company putting on Ariel Dorfman’s Widows, a poignant reminder of the atrocities that go unnoticed around the world. It is set in a war-torn village where all the men have disappeared and their mothers, wives and daughters wait by the river and mourn.

No CoT season would be complete without Shakespeare and next February will see Much Ado About Nothing followed by Shakespeare’s Sonnets in the Studio. Both are Royal Shakespeare Company Open Stages productions, a new project that aims to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre while at the same time re-forging the bond with the world of professional theatre.

Pirandello’s Six Characters Looking For An Author is being performed in the Studio from late April to early May next year. It focuses on six characters who arrive in a theatre during rehearsal for a play which has not yet been written and their desperate need for a writer to complete their story.

It is back to the main stage in May for Dead Guilty by Richard Harris, a tense psychological study of guilt and obsession by the author of The Business of Murder.

Joe Orton’s black farce Loot is being performed in the Studio in June and the 2011/12 season comes to an end with Oscar Wilde’s clever and malicious comedy Lady Windermere’s Fan next July.

Details of plays and bookings can be made by going to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or calling the box office on 01727 857861.

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