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Ellen McDougall unveils second season at London’s Gate Theatre

Ellen McDougall. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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Ellen McDougall has announced her second season as artistic director of the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, including a new translation of Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice.

The classic French text has been translated by Daniel Raggett for a new production which he will also direct, 34 years since the play was first produced at the Gate.

Later in the year, Anna Himali Howard will direct an adaptation of Jamaica Kincaid’s essay on Western colonial exploitation, A Small Place, while McDougall will direct Dear Elizabeth, by Susan Smith Blackburn prize-winner Sarah Ruhl.

The play is based on more than 400 letters between American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.

The season also includes The Ridiculous Darkness by Wolfram Lotz, in a new version by version by Gate associate director Anthony Simpson Pike. It is described as a “surreal mash-up of Frances Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”.

Simpson Pike will also lead a project at the theatre engaging both its young company and older members of the local community. Titled Harambee, it will be focused on the political history of the area and its importance within the British Civil Rights movement, and will culminate in a public sharing of work in the summer.

Elsewhere, the Gate has announced a collaboration with the Shubbak festival of contemporary Arab culture. Shubbak @ Gate will see a programme of Arab theatre presented at the theatre in July.

Announcing the season, McDougall described the line-up as a “deliberately eclectic range of stories, perspectives, forms [and] artists”.

“The season charts the differences and divisions between us, and the enormous lengths we go to to reach each other. All these questions I hope are felt all the more profoundly in our intimate, ever changing space,” she said.

Season at a glance

The Human Voice by Jean Cocteau
Translated/directed by Daniel Raggatt
September 13 to October 6, with press night on September 18

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
Directed by Anna Himali Howard
November 8 to December 1, with press night on November 13

Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Ellen McDougall
January 17 to February 9, with press night on January 22

The Ridiculous Darkness by Wolfram Lotz, translated by Daniel Brunet, in a new version by Daniel Simpson Pike
February 27 to March 23, with press night on March 5

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