Outsider on the Inside
What happens when you give the keys to the kingdom to an outsider, and free rein for them to do with the kingdom as they please? They invite other outsiders in with open arms and make them feel at home. Such is the intention behind The Gate Theatre’s exciting inaugural season, by new director, Selina Cartmell, whose outsider theme could well herald something of a theatrical reformation at The Gate.
In what was an eagerly awaited launch, there was more than a hint of the symbolic to proceedings, a sense of tearing down of the veil between the outside world and the holy of holies. Following a brief rendition of songs from Leonard Cohen and Radiohead by the incomparable Camille O’Sullivan on The Gate stage, a sort of high priestess incanting blessings on all who enter, the crowd were politely ushered backstage from the auditorium and into the Gate Studio (formerly The Lab), where the official launch took place. Amidst warmth and welcome, and an intimate ease, an impressive Cartmell articulated her programme, which aims to see doors, windows and hearts flung open in a spirit of inclusiveness and diversity. Acknowledging the work of her illustrious predecessors, Cartmell spoke of the need for continuity and change as The Gate takes its first steps into the future, continuing its long tradition of producing quality theatre from Ireland, America and Europe, and of supporting both Irish and international talent.
Titled, “The Outsider” Cartmell’s inaugural season sees her very hands on, directing two of the seven productions featured:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Adapted and Directed by Alexander Wright
From Thursday 6th July.
For summer 2017 only, the seats will be removed from the auditorium, and the chandeliers lowered, transforming the beautiful theatre space into the Gatsby Mansion with all its decadent opulence and atmosphere. Alexander Wright’s interactive, narrative led, freeform immersive experience played to great success in the UK, and he is working closely with a local cast and creative team to create this bespoke version for the Gate. The theatre will be opened up, with backstage areas and spaces made accessible to the public for the first time. Audiences are also encouraged to dress in 1920’s style - and dancing shoes are mandatory.
Tribes by Nina Raine
Directed by Oonagh Murphy
From Thursday 28th September.
A penetrating, moving and funny play about belonging, family and the limits of communication. This production transposes the play from leafy suburban Hampstead to South County Dublin, where Billy, born deaf into a hearing family, struggles to define who he is within his highly dysfunctional clan.
Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes in a new version by Nancy Harris.
Directed by Selina Cartmell.
From Thursday 23rd November
Gate Studio Commission.
In this contemporary retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s extraordinary fairy tale of dance, desire and destruction, an orphan girl adopted by a wealthy Dublin family is given a pair of beautiful red shoes. Part theatre, part dance, this family Christmas show will dazzle your senses, beginning a new tradition of commissioning artists from a diverse range of disciplines to create original productions for the holiday period.
Look Back in Anger by John Osborne
Directed by Annabelle Comyn
From Thursday 1st February
This world-renowned, blistering play from the 1950’s is widely considered to have changed the course of English drama. The play tackles sex, class, religion, politics, the press and the sense of a country stifled by an official establishment culture.
The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare
Presented by Camille O’Sullivan, Feargal Murray and Elizabeth Freestone.
Directed by Elizabeth Freestone
Music and Performance by Camille O’Sullivan and Feargal Murray.
From Tuesday 27th March
Originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company
Making a welcome return, following its a hugely successful run in Dublin Theatre Festival in 2013, Shakespeare’s tragic poem, a tale of lust, rape and politics, is haunting, beautiful and violent. The poem’s exquisite tragedy is fully revealed in a hypnotic performance through song and story-telling. Camille O’Sullivan inhabits the souls of both Tarquin and Lucrece, narrating the fate of each.
Assassins by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Selina Cartmell
Musical Director Cathal Synnott.
From Thursday 12th April
The multiple Tony Award-winning Assassins lays bare the lives of nine people who assassinated (or tried to assassinate) the President of the United States. These notorious assassins gather on stage to violently pursue a twisted American Dream. Sondheim’s signature blend of intelligently stunning lyrics and beautiful music combine in this bold, original, disturbing and alarmingly funny musical.
The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
From Thursday 14th June
Gate Studio Commission.
Roddy Doyle’s second instalment of the celebrated Barrytown Trilogy is a story that remains fresh, vivid, astute and relevant for today. Salty and sweet, The Snapper offers a wickedly funny account of the ups and downs of family life and pregnancy in Northside Dublin in the late 1980’s.
Cartmell’s vision also entails looking at the infrastructure and artist supports offered by The Gate going forward:
Late at the Gate: Emmet Kirwan will create a 2018 response to the play, in the first of a new series Late at the Gate, where artists create a response to the main programme.
The Gate Studio: Formerly known as The Lab, The Gate Studio is committed to launching the next generation of artists onto the world stage and putting them ‘at the heart of The Gate’. The Gate Studio will offer space for development as well as linking in with artistic associates, bursaries and artists in residence. In June 2017, young designer Katie Davenport will start an 8-month bursary (supported by the Arts Council) at the Gate to develop her own practice, alongside experiencing first-hand the creative design process over four Gate productions.
New Visual Identity Unveiled: A new visual identity for the Gate was revealed at the launch event. It has been crafted from the past and built for the future and aims to reflect a theatre that is diverse, accessible, transformative, courageous and International. A new Gate website will go live in July 2017.
Visibly moved by the rousing applause, given as much for her vision which underpins “The Outsider” as for the programme itself, Cartmell won for herself any outstanding benefit of the doubt, along with the sincere well wishes of all present. Amidst the champagne, balloons, and gifted copies of F.Scott.Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” to mark the occasion, Cartmell moved with a confident assurance, reassuring the old and assuring those seeking the new, as if being director was the most natural thing in the world to her. Yet one suspects that though Cartmell may now be the outsider on the inside, she will always remain true to the outsider inside her.
One also suspects there's exciting times ahead for The Gate.
For more information on The Gate Theatre’s forthcoming season, visit The Gate Theatre