What’s on across the region’s theatres this week

LAMDA's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

LAMDA's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. - Credit: Archant

From classics like The Dresser and The Birthday Party to newer work at the INK Festival and Made in Dagenham, theatre lovers are spoilt for choice.

Dedham Players stage The Dresser

Dedham Players stage The Dresser - Credit: Archant

The Assembly Rooms first for The Dedham Players production of The Dresser by Ronald Harwood, a moving and warm-hearted drama set in wartime England.

Ailing actor ‘Sir’ has dedicated his life to Shakespeare’s greatest roles while blanking out the grim reality of life on the road. Barely holding it together he steadies himself to play King Lear, assisted by his highly strung and acid-tongued dresser Norman.

It runs April 13-16.

Talking of Shakespeare, actors and crew in their final year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts bring one of The Bard’s best-loved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, from April 13-16.

INK Festival at The Cut, Halesworth, April 2016. Photo: Bill Jackson

INK Festival at The Cut, Halesworth, April 2016. Photo: Bill Jackson - Credit: Archant

Four young lovers try to escape marriage matches by fleeing the city and heading for the nearby woods. Once there, they slip into a dream world where anything is possible and embark on an enchanting journey. This version, inspired by the classic American B Movie, is set in 1950s Ohio in the age of the teenager.

Another classic, this time Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party courtesy of Framlingham Amateur Dramatic Society.

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Running April 13-16 at Framlingham College Theatre, his part thriller, part black comedy sees boarding house owner Meg throw her lodger Stanley a birthday party that nobody will forget.

Cambridge Arts Theatre welcomes The Touring Consortium Theatre Company with John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men from April 12-16.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men - Credit: Archant

Set during America’s Great Depression, it’s the story of migrant farm workers George and Lennie who dream of buying their own patch of paradise and stars Lovejoy’s Dudley Sutton.

The UK regional première of Bruce Norris’ acclaimed play Clybourne Park opens at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, from April 8-23 ahead of a national tour.

A razor-sharp satire, it lifts the lid on race and real estate in a fictional Chicago neighbourhood as the swinging sixties approach. A black family move into a suburban white enclave, triggering all too predictable mutterings from the neighbours. Fifty years on, we return to the same house in 2009 as gentrification sets in and the roles are reversed.

The INK Festival continues at The Cut, Halesworth, 11am-9.30pm, today.

Back for a second year, the aim is to give East Anglian playwrights the chance to develop and showcase plays and films in partnership with actors and directors.

There were more than 70 submissions with 16 new short plays being performed and five short films being shown. There will also be a free 90-second film school, script writing workshops, jazz rap and live music.

Festival founder Emma Struthers says: “INK’s dream is to see new writers develop their work, voice and skill in a safe environment and take that leap into the industry.”

James McDermott’s debut play, Beached, a highlight of Ink 2015, was selected by Velvet Trumpet to perform at the new short comedy competition at Southwark Playhouse. The full length production will open in November at the The Pleasance Theatre, Islington prior to a national tour.

He adds: “INK gave me the perfect platform to showcase my work to diverse audiences and the opportunity to create connections with theatre-makers.”

Visit www.inkfestival.org for more details.

Brook Players present Noel Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit from April 13-15.

Charles and Ruth Condomine hold an evening of clairvoyance with the eccentric Madame Arcati, what they don’t expect is the ghost of Charles first wife Elvira to appear and cause mischief for all concerned. It’s on at Copdock Villlage Hall.

Two shows worth a look are The Government Inspector, at the New Wolsey Theatre to April 16; and Sweeney Todd at the New Wolsey Studio from April 12-23.

The first, from Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Ramps On The Moon, is a version of Nikolai Gogol’s satire about corruption, lies and greed that’s as relevant today as it was then.

The second, staged by the always reliable New Wolsey Young Company, is Stephen Sondheim’s dark and comic musical about betrayal, love and bloody revenge - all served up in the best pies in London.

Staying with the New Wolsey, it’s teamed up with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch for the first revival of the musical Made in Dagenham from September 21-October 15.

It enjoyed a short but well-received run on London’s West End in 2014-15 starring Gemma Arterton.

Friends of the theatre can book from 10am, April 16 followed by the general public from 10am, April 30.

Directed by the Queen’s artistic director Douglas Rintoul, it’s 1968 and Rita’s a busy mum, loving wife and hard-working Ford factory employee. But something’s very wrong. She and her female colleagues find themselves working long hours sewing car seats for far less money than the men - and they’ve had enough.

Inspired by a true story and based on the hit movie, musical direction comes from Ben Goddard.

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