How theatre is spreading out in Hackney

Alexandra Harman, centre, with the writer and cast at the Ophelia Theatre, 574 Kingsland Road E8 4AH 171114 © david.altheer@gmail.com

THEATRE IS becoming ever more popular around Hackney as new theatres and companies emerge to add to the big names, the Arcola and the Empire.

The newest stage, the Ophelia in Dalston, is hosting a double bill of short plays.

Raggabones and House, written by Lancashire-born Chris Doran, is performed by the Peregrine Ensemble, directed by Alexandra Harman.

What lies behind the name? Harman told Loving Dalston that ‘peregrine’ was chosen for its two meanings, as a powerful falcon“We like this image of power and strength in conjunction with flight and grace” and ”for ‘foreign’ or ‘outlandish’, to come from another country.

Alexandra Harman’s pic: Lil Davis, left, Edward Ferrow and Josefine Bergstrom
To the point: Lil Davis, left, Edward Ferrow and Josefine Bergstrom (© Alexandra Harman)

She adds: “All our company members come from different parts of the world, yet we settled in London.”

A few kilometres away a rap-reggae-gospel-grime musical performers by care-leavers, ex-offenders and professional actors has its premiere at Hackney Downs Studios. The Realness shows a young offender’s journey from, as one character puts it, “zero to hero”. Of course, as in life, it does not go as easily as that.

The producers, the Big House and Big Broad Productions, aim to enable young people who have been in care or in trouble to fulfil their potential.

Your appearance in the audience will support that aim.

David Altheer 161114

* Raggabones and HouseOphelia Theatre, 574 Kingsland Road, Dalston E8 4AH, 18 Nov 2014-29 Nov 2014, Tues-Sat at 7.30pm; £10 (concessions £8), box office 020 7923 9518. The Realness, Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace E8 2BT, to 20 Dec 2014 at 7pm; £20 (concs £15),  Thurs 13 Nov 2014-Sat 20 Dec 2014, Mon-Sat, 7.30pm (Sat matinees at 3pm); £20 (concs £15), booking 

* Update: Loving Dalston found the press preview to be a rollicking fine show.

* Loving Dalston picture at top shows Alexandra Harman, centre, with the writer and cast at the Ophelia Theatre, 574 Kingsland Road E8 4AH 171114 © david.altheer@gmail.com

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