Our artistic director reflects on 2014

Don Quijote. Fox Symphony. UK: RIP. And much more. A good year reviewed.

2014: how was it for you? It’s been a year of transformation for CPT: a great leap forward, even. And we’ve had too many theatrical adventures to mention. If you joined us on them – well, thank you. We’ve loved having you here! (It really wouldn’t be as much fun without you…)

Some highlights? It’s been our twentieth birthday year, and we’ve celebrated a lot. The knees-up kicked off with a Party Like It’s 1994 at our Sprint festival – memories of Tom Frankland as Justin Bieber, or Mamoru Iriguchi’s ’94-themed karaoke, may never die. We’ve run our Passing the baton strand, which saw ten illustrious CPT veterans select new-to-CPT artists for a unique commission. We’ve hosted the results throughout the year – new work by Selina Thompson, Beats + Elements, Snuff Box, Laura Cubitt, Eggs Collective and more – and they’ve been great. I repeat: g-g-great. You’ll be seeing more of them in 2015.

 

And beyond our [email protected] work? Well, the shows have been none too shabby. Our Hard to Resist festival in January gave Tom Frankland & Keir Cooper’s punk Don Quijote refit its first London run – extended to accommodate demand. Chris Brett Bailey brought the pilot of his This Is How We Die to Sprint 2014; it became the indie-theatre smash of the year. In June, our UK: RIP mini-festival explored the imminent breakup of Britain (well, it could have happened…), and in September we revived our Calm Down, Dear festival of feminism. Headlined by Sh!t Theatre’s angry, impish Women’s Hour (pictured, left), it was a huge success. It’ll be back.

More recently, we partnered with the National Student Drama Festival to present Barrel Organ’s much-talked-about Edinburgh hit Nothing. (“This young company are the future,” The Guardian said.) It was a buzz to have both show and company here. And our Starting Blocks 2014 scheme has started to yield big results, with our recent premiere of Foxy & Husk’s thoughtful, playful lip-synch epic Fox Symphony (pictured right), of which you’ll see more in 2015, I’m sure.

Just as excitingly for us, CPT joined the Arts Council’s National Portfolio this year. It’s the first time we’ve ever received core funding, and we were the only London theatre to join the portfolio in this funding round. We also got a new website (at last!) and started working with a new (and vastly improved) ticketing agency. Making your interactions with CPT a whole lot more functional, after years of stoic suffering on our behalf…

Also this year, we bade farewell to staffers Jenny Paton and Freya Elliott, whose heroic work helped bring CPT to this lofty position, and welcomed Anna O’Dell as general manager, and first Fergus Evans then Amber Massie-Blomfield as Executive Directors. Amber came onboard last week, and it’s very exciting indeed to have her join the team.

Will we see you in 2015? I can promise you fireworks. Sprint 2014 is almost programmed, and our new Starting Blocks artists are being selected this week. We’re planning a festival of provocative political work around the General Election, and autumn heralds our Whose London Is It Anyway?  festival exploring the changing face of our city. We’ve got a three-week run of Greyscale’s already-acclaimed Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone. And you can expect to see more of Undercurrent and CPT’s co-production about the troubled genius of evolutionary theory, George Price, and of ex-Perrier Award champ Will Adamsdale’s new absurdist comedy The Joke, which scratched as part of UK: RIP.

As the old Opal Fruits ad used to say: made to make your mouth water. We’ll see you in 2015. And in the meantime, all of us at CPT wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year!