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More than 350 artists to take part in BAC-led A Nation’s Theatre Festival

A Nation's Theatre will see shows by a number of artists and theatremakers including Steakhouse Live. Photo: Marco Berandi
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Theatres across London are to host more than 60 shows by companies outside the capital as part of a plan by Battersea Arts Centre to showcase regional theatre.

Camden People’s Theatre, the Gate Theatre and the Young Vic are among 17 venues taking part in the London-wide A Nation’s Theatre Festival, which was first announced by Battersea Arts Centre in January 2015.

Theatre will be showcased by more than 350 artists from across the UK, with productions by larger companies such as Leicester’s Curve alongside smaller organisations including Norwich Puppet Theatre and the Glasgow-based disability arts group Birds of Paradise.

Curve associate director Suba Das said he hoped the festival would challenge perceptions that local theatre in towns, cities and villages was more “amateur”.

He said: “As shoppers in 2016, we’ve started to realise that the word “local” means something fresh, unique, healthy… But in the theatre universe there is a suspicion that ‘local’ somehow means ‘amateur’, ‘on the cheap’, ‘half-done’.”

“We’re so proud [at Curve] to be part of a festival that aims to demolish this assumption,” he added.

Launching A Nation’s Theatre at the Southbank Centre – also a host venue for the festival – Battersea Arts Centre artistic director David Jubb said the “best” theatre is often made outside of the capital.

He added: “I think if you read or skimmed over the arts pages of national newspapers, you might be forgiven for having the impression that most theatre is created in London and then live-streamed out of London to cinemas across the UK.”

Jubb continued: “As a group of theatres and artists, we thought it would be fun to reverse the stream: to encourage more partnerships between those based in London and those around the UK, as well as shine a light on where this already happens.”

Other participating venues in London include the Barbican, Unicorn Theatre, Roundhouse, Rich Mix, Soho Theatre, New Diorama Theatre and the Albany.

A Nation’s Theatre will take place in London from March 29 to May 28.

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