Kendal arts centre sees encouraging increase in theatre audiences

THE Brewery aims to capitalise on the resurgence in theatre audiences with a cutting-edge season of productions from some of the nation’s most exciting companies and new writers.

Audiences for live theatre performances at the Kendal arts centre increased by almost 25 per cent during the 2013 autumn and winter season (compared to 2012 figures) and theatre programmer Mike Jones is hoping the trend continues into the spring with the Brewery hosting another exciting season of innovative productions.

Included will be Twelfth Night by Filter Theatre (February 7/8) an irreverent new take on Shakespeare’s classic comedy and Pocket Henry V by Propellor (March 12) sees an all-male cast present one of Shakespeare’s great works in a 60-minute modern reimagining.

The highly inventive Penny Dreadful company, which brought Bitches Ball and the Missionary Position to the Brewery, return on March 1 with How to be Immortal; Daniel Bye’s provocative play about political protest How to Occupy an Oil Rig plays the Brewery on March 14 and Thick Skin’s explosive Chalk Farm, set in the aftermath of the London riots in 2011, takes to the Kendal arts centre’s stage on March 26.

Mike said that people seemed to have regained their appetite for live theatre and appear more willing to take a risk on exciting new theatre companies and new writers.

He added: “We had plenty of packed houses for new and experimental work this last season and for me one of the big successes was Jumpers for Goalposts by Paines Plough. On paper, a piece of new writing about the gay and lesbian community was potentially a hard sell but we have worked hard to establish links with the best theatre companies in the UK to bring high quality work to Kendal and, judging by the audience response, it seems to be paying off.

“We are also working closely with schools and tuning into what is on the curriculum and relevant to them, for example Woyzeck by Scene Productions (February 13) is about a World War One soldier which is relevant to the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.”

The Brewery is also hoping the season of cutting edge new theatre will also attract a new younger audience to the theatre and fresh research shows that UK theatre audiences are getting younger and more experimental.

The study by Ticketmaster shows that 63 per cent of the UK population visited the theatre last year compared with 53 per cent for concerts and 47 per cent for sporting events. It also found that 16-19-year-olds were more likely to go to the theatre than any other age group.

Box office 01539-725133.

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