Light Show, Lincoln Center

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by guest critic Steven Strauss

Oily Cart has been producing immersive theatre since long before the current craze became so popular the world over. 

This company specializes in creating pieces for the very young and kids on the autism spectrum. And thanks to Lincoln Center’s hopefully-inaugural Big Umbrella Festival — the first of its kind revolved entirely around such audiences — this New Yorker was finally provided an opportunity to experience their work in person. 

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Interview | ‘All roads lead to Tim Webb’: Peg Schuler-Armstrong on working with Oily Cart

by guest writer Steven Strauss

New York’s Lincoln Center invited UK-based Oily Cart to be one of three theatres from outside the US to perform at the Big Umbrella Festival, the first of its kind dedicated to such audiences.

In addition to Oily Cart’s Light Show, the one-month festival includes other one-off events, symposiums, and professional development opportunities for artists, arts professionals, presenters, and audience members interested in expanding the theatrical spotlight on this shamefully under-served community.

Simply put, major theatres around the world should really be funding such festivals all the time. To find out more about the process of bringing the Big Umbrella Festival to life, we interviewed Peg Schuler-Armstrong, the Director of Programming and Production for Lincoln Center Education, the organizers of the festival.

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How to Be a Londoner in an Hour, Centre17

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

How to Be a Londoner in an Hour is part of a “politically charged” season at new venue Centre17 in Walthamstow. “Politically charged” wouldn’t be the most obvious way to describe How to Be…, unless you count repeated references to Boris Johnson, who hasn’t actually been London mayor for two years.

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The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Criterion Theatre

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by guest critic Susannah Martin

After humble beginnings in a space above a pub, it’s an impressive feat to go on and conquer the West End, and Broadway too, but Mischief Theatre continue to prove why their productions are worthy of playing a variety of theatres across the world. Celebrating their second birthday at the Criterion Theatre, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is the company’s third West End hit, and it’s easy to see why.

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Mark Thomas: Showtime from the Frontline, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Mark Thomas knows his audience. He starts the show with a dig at Quentin Lett’s racist review before calling audiences at the Royal Court “a bunch of Tory fuckers,” and the room’s already onside. It’s obvious that almost everyone at the Theatre Royal Stratford East has seen Thomas gig before. The whooping coming from the elderly gentleman sat next to me when he came on stage was particularly lovely.

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A Night with Jason Robert Brown, London Palladium

by guest critic Susannah Martin

Songs for a New World, Parade, The Bridges of Madison County and The Last 5 Years – these are a just a handful of the musicals penned by composer Jason Robert Brown, and just few of the treats that were peppered amongst his packed-out, one-off concert at the London Palladium. A pre-recorded concert for BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’, Brown’s layered evening catered to theatre fans and music lovers alike.

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