After the comedy clowns, now Sh!t Theatre’s in the Town Hall

We’ve had crap councils for a very long time. So it is perhaps entirely fitting that next month, the Town Hall will be the venue for Sh!t Theatre.

Flying pioneer Any Johnson is the subject of a new play commissioned for the Croydonites Festival

Flying pioneer Any Johnson is the subject of a new play commissioned for the Croydonites Festival

With £15,000-worth of grants from, equally, the Arts Council and Croydon Council, the second Croydonites theatre festival will take over the town’s (scarce) independent theatres for three weekends of performance, including the premiere of a play about 20th Century heroine, Amy Johnson.

“Honouring its mission to provide a platform for local artists, three of the eight are based in Croydon (with a fourth a former resident), and the festival is presenting its first commission from local theatre-maker Jenny Lockyer,” said Anna Arthur, the festival director.

It’s more than a year since the first, lower-key Croydonites Festival, but the award of a grant from Arts Council England, matched by the council, has allowed the festival to commission its first work, Last Flight Out, about Amy Johnson, which will be performed at the Spread Eagle Theatre on March 23 and 25.

Johnson was the pioneering and record-breaking aviator who flew solo from Croydon Airport to Darwin, Australia, in 1930, but who died in a crash, aged 37. “In Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out we meet Amy in a world of mixed memories, desires, wishes and ambitions. There’s still so much she wants to do, and as she tells us about her life she sets about planning her ultimate dream adventure,” the festival literature tells us.

The festival opens perhaps controversially with a production from the Sh!t Theatre company

The festival opens, perhaps controversially, in the Town Hall with a production from the poetically named Sh!t Theatre company

Arthur said: “While the programme is not theme-based, most of the works link to Croydon in some way. Whether their subject matter deals with an issue we face here, or they embody the change we are experiencing in our town and our lives. What also unites them is their innovation with form, as these artists find new ways to bring their inner worlds to life – always confounding our expectations.”

The festival opens on March 17 with a performance in the Town Hall’s council chamber, which more usually is the setting for flights of pure fantasy or for a comedy playhouse when the councillors are performing there.

The chamber was trialled for theatrical performance last year with the Warehouse Theatre’s annual international playwriting festival. On this occasion, with the clowns who usually perform there given a night off, it will be the venue for the Sh!t Theatre Company, performing an award-winning duo whose Letters to Windsor House “features songs, politics and dodgy landlords in a work examining the national housing crisis”.

Tickets for most performances in the Croydonites Festival are now on sale at £10 each, though there is an “early bird” booking offer available now with two tickets for £15. Concessions are also available.

For more details, click here, or to book your tickets, call 0333 666 3366

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