Crescent drama: from pre-apartheid South Africa to Romeo and Juliet in modern Brum

The Crescent Theatre on Westside is ‘going global’ as it unveils an exciting new series of shows to welcome the arrival of autumn.

The Sheepcote Street venue is introducing a real international flavour with play settings ranging from Scotland to South Africa, as well as a touch of Indian spice.

But it is closer to home where the Crescent starts, with a play that has echoes of theatres re-opening following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shakespeare in Love, which runs in the Main House from this Saturday 24 September to 1 October, is written by Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall, who has adapted the Oscar-winning screenplay of the same name by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman for the stage.

Against the backdrop of theatre flourishing again after closure from the plague, a young playwright by the name of William Shakespeare emerges. There’s just one problem – he’s got writer’s block. Cue a muse who he promptly falls in love with. There will be an opportunity after the 30 September performance for the public to meet members of the cast and creative team to discuss the production.

The Crescent’s new productions then switch to the Ron Barber Studio, starting with performances of the award-winning play 1902 on 27 and 28 September.

The Saltire Sky Theatre production, which contains strong language and violent scenes, explores working-class life in Scotland as it follows four young wannabe football hooligans in their quest to see Hibs win the Scottish Cup final.

In sharp contrast, Mr. Singh’s had enough, which also appears in the Ron Barber Studio on 29 and 30 September, depicts Punjabi family life in Britain.

Presented by Surkhab Productions, the play revolves around Mr Singh, a middle-aged man who is finally ready to take his life back and live it with love in it.

Further variety can be found in Forgotten Voices on 1 October, which forms part of Black History Month.

This one-woman show tells the real-life story of South African activist Eva Moorhead Kadalie, the widow of South Africa’s first national black trade union leader who, with her husband, fought for freedom and paved the way for Nelson Mandela.

Starring Shareesa Valentine, the play is written by Eva’s grandson, David Moorhead.

It is then time to return to Shakespeare with a production of Romeo and Juliet by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Theatre Company, 6 to 8 October.

This updated production of the Bard’s famous story of love and tragedy switches from 16th century Verona to the back streets of modern, inner-city Birmingham, with the Montagues and the Capulets taking on the guise of rival street gangs. For further details of these and other shows, visit https://www.crescent-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/

Main picture: Shareesa Valentine in Forgotten Voices.

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