We were lucky enough to attract some big names in 2019, not just in the rather niche world of performance but in the real world of award winning tv and film. It was a coup. But we’ll get to that.
Consummate artist Paula Varjack kicked us off with ‘The Cult of Kenzo’. Paula does nothing by halves and her publicity shots were outstanding. They went on the cover of the brochure and on bus shelters all over Croydon - it was a proud moment to see Croydonites being advertised so widely around town.
Two Destination Language, a Scottish/Bulgarian duo of impeccable pedigree made the trip down south to bring us ‘Fallen Fruit’, storytelling at its finest; whilst Vanessa MacAulay expertly wove the story of her life with the tragic killing of Stephen Lawrence revealing a poignant connection.
Sh!t Theatre allowed Croydon audiences to be one of the first to see what went on to be a hit in Edinburgh and nationally. Their show ‘Sh!t Theatre drink Rum with Expats (work in progress)’ mixed corruption, global migration and their trademark humour and pathos to the point that by the end we didn’t see the scripts in their hands.
This was the year that Parabolic really made its mark. Their 3 week run of ‘Crisis, What Crisis’ drew audiences from all over London and beyond to an 1980s office block in West Croydon for what is still one of the best immersive shows ever (in our humble opinion). It got them an Offie (off West End) nomination and support from the New Diaroma Theatre, and to top is all, it was commissioned by Croydonites.
So back to that award winning actor/writer… Joanna Scanlan was introduced to Croydonites by Gill Manly, and they soon started creating a show together that became ‘The Elephant in the Room’. It told Gill’s story of gastric bypass surgery (and much more) with song and humour, exploring universal themes of well-being and mental health and concluding with one of the most touching finales we’ve seen at Croydonites. It sold out over 2 nights and would definitely benefit from a revival.
We also presented our first European work - Ellard/Lech from Sweden brought ‘Döden’ whereby the audience had to don a white suit (think decorators) and headphones and enter a white space to be guided on a transformative journey. Safe to say it was a first for some audience members but it got a thumbs up all round.
Locals Vinicius Salles and Anita Wadsworth brought us an immersive dance and an immersive installation (respectively) which pretty much confirmed Croydon at winning at that particular genre. Well played us, and time for a lie down.
Header image by Mattias Lech