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Battersea Arts Centre unveils year-long plan to highlight the “breadth and depth” of UK theatre

Battersea Arts Centre has unveiled plans to highlight the work of regional theatre companies. Photo: Morley von Sternberg
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Battersea Arts Centre is to host more than 30 arts companies from across the country this year, as part of an initiative to highlight the “breadth and depth” of regional theatre.

The year-long theme, dubbed A Nation’s Theatre, was revealed today as artistic director David Jubb launched the centre’s 2015 season.

it was announced alongside two new partnerships, one with Queen Mary University London – to create a “learning hub” at the venue – and another with Wandsworth Museum.

As part of A Nation’s Theatre, BAC’s Grand Hall will be used as a theatre all year round for the first time, with confirmed regional companies performing there including Kneehigh, the Liverpool Everyman and Gecko Theatre from Ipswich.

Speaking about the plans for the year, Jubb said: “A Nation’s Theatre was an idea. It evolved from conversations with theatre makers in different parts of the UK. It’s not our idea, and as much as anything else: it’s an invitation. And in true Battersea spirit it will evolve and it will grow over the coming year.”

BAC are collaborating with the Guardian on the project, and Jubb explained that the two organisations will jointly host debates to explore the state of the nation’s theatre.

He also spoke of plans to live-stream theatre from outside London.

A new partnership with Wandsworth museum will see part of the centre dedicated to local culture and heritage, combining the display of artefacts with creative performances by theatre-makers and other artists to promote the area’s history.

The centre will also host a “university of creativity” in a newly transformed area at the back of its building, in partnership with QMUL. The learning hub will see BAC producers leading courses together with university researchers, as well as a young entrepreneurs’ scheme.

Elsewhere in the season, Palestinian company Freedom Theatre will perform its play The Siege at BAC as the London stop on its first UK tour – the largest tour undertaken by a Palestinian theatre company in the UK.

Directed by the group’s artistic director Nabil Al-Raee and British director Zoe Lafferty, The Siege will play at the centre from May 19 to 23.

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