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Marlowe Theatre to become a producing house for the first time

Marlowe Theatre director Mark Everett,
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Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre is set to become a producing house for the first time, with a focus on new writing.

For its first production – the British premiere of a new play that has yet to be revealed – it has partnered with an as yet unnamed London theatre, where the show will transfer following its initial run in Canterbury this autumn. The Marlowe Theatre said it wanted to continue this model – of partnering with London venues – in the future, and added that it was also keen to tour its own work.

Marlowe theatre director Mark Everett said the venue’s initial move into producing had been made possible with a £23,000 grant from Arts Council England. He said the theatre would produce new work through its studio space.

“Fundamentally, we continue to be a presenting house. However, what we wanted to do – and we accepted we would not do it immediately – was to start having a producing element to our output. In the past nine months we have started to rev up on that.”

He added: “We want to get into a certain element of creativity that will go just beyond Marlowe Theatre. It’s helpful if you can do that with arts council support.”

Everett said the venue would be producing small-scale work through its 160-seat studio space, but that writers it works with in the future could have the opportunity to create work for its main house.

He added: “I want to put Canterbury on the map as a place that does the big musicals, and the work of the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, but also focuses on new playwriting. That is what we are interested in – new plays and new works.”

He added that the theatre had previously helped to co-commission new works and had produced a community production.

“But this is the first time we are creating a full-blown production of a new play. Yes, it’s small-scale, but there is nothing wrong with that. Some of the best work in the country is small-scale. Such venues in London produce cracking work. Shows with modest beginnings can have West End runs,” he said.

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