Croydon council chamber to be dramatically transformed into a theatre
Some people would argue Croydon’s council chamber is no stranger to pantomime or dramatic outbursts but this weekend the Town Hall location is actually being converted into a theatre for an international festival.
The inner sanctum of the borough’s democracy in Katharine Street is getting a dramatic makeover to host the 30th International Playwriting Festival (IPF), a chance for young writers to have their scripts performed.
The IPF, originally created and hosted by the now shut down Warehouse Theatre, in Dingwall Road, accepts submissions from around the world which are then judged and shortlisted by a panel of distinguished theatre experts.
The best scripts are then produced and performed over two days, with other notable entries also being featured in selected readings.
Following the closure of the Warehouse Theatre in 2012, the IPF moved to Fairfield Halls but organisers again had to find a new location this year after the iconic theatre closed in July for a £30 million refurbishment.
The IPF has showcased the work of many young playwrights over the years.
Notable amongst these are Guy Jenkin, co-creator of Drop the Dead Donkey, Richard Vincent, one of the team of writers behind Casualty, and Kevin Hood, who was jointly responsible for Silent Witness and also wrote many episodes of Grange Hill.
The BRIT school take part by showcasing two new plays from their annual ‘strawberry picking’ season and the festival’s International partners,
Theatro Ena, from Nicosia in Cyprus, and Extra Candoni, from Udine, Italy, are bringing their own work to Croydon.
This year also features a Q&A discussion with long-serving former Times theatre critic, Jeremy Kingston.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “This festival has a long and honourable history and I’m delighted we have been able to support it this year by making the council chamber available for performances and readings.”
The plays selected for 2016 are ‘Cold Calling’, by Doc Watson from Bath, and ‘Shadowed’, by Tony Zeane from Australia.
Excerpts will be read from plays by Arze Khodr from Lebanon, Natsu Hirukawa from Japan, and David Blackman, also from Australia.
The festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Croydon Town Hall. Tickets are available through Eventbrite at http://bit.do/IPF16.