‘Off the Page’ A series of ‘micro-plays’ uniting journalism and theatre

Besi Besemar November 17, 2014

The first Royal Court and Guardian micro-play will be available to watch online from 12pm today. Monday, November 17.

Off The Page: Britain's Not Eating. Micro-play collaboration between the Royal Court Theatre and the Guardian.
Off The Page: Britain’s Not Eating. Micro-play collaboration between the Royal Court Theatre and the Guardian.

THE WORLDS of theatre and journalism collide in Off the Page, a unique new collaboration. Guardian journalists are partnering with Royal Court playwrights, theatre directors and a stellar company of actors to create a series of six ‘micro-plays’, each around five minutes long, to be showcased on and responding to key areas of Guardian coverage.

Royal Court theatre-makers have drawn upon the specialist expertise of the Guardian’s feature writers, columnists and editors for the plays.

The first film – on the subject of food – is released today at noon.

Britain Isn’t Eating explores food banks and the nations obsession with cookery shows. It stars Katherine Parkinson and Evening Standard Award-winner Kyle Soller.

It is a collaboration between playwright Laura Wade (Posh), food blogger and regular Guardian contributor Jack Monroe, Guardian social affairs correspondent Amelia Gentleman and director Carrie Cracknell. The film can be viewed on from 12pm today and audiences can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #microplays.

Subsequent micro-plays cover music, fashion, politics, sport and education. The casts feature some of today’s most exciting actors including Rafe Spall, Tobias Menzies and Ruby Ashbourne Serkis. The other creatives involved are playwrights Rachel De-lahay, Robin French, Chloe Moss, Tim Price and Roy Williams and directors Clint Dyer, Christopher Haydon, Gbolahan Obisesan, Hamish Pirie and Bijan Sheibani.

The Guardian journalists taking part include Aditya Chakrabortty, Hadley Freeman, Barney Ronay, Michael Rosen and John Harris, whose article on England’s identity crisis was an early inspiration for the project.

Chris Wiegand, Stage editor of Guardian News & Media, said: “Over the past few years there has been a huge transformation in Guardian journalism – we are responding to stories in more ways and in more depth than ever before. Our project with the Royal Court allows us to interpret current affairs in a new, informed and really creative fashion. The micro-plays are a true extension of our journalism. We’ve brought together some fantastically talented people and set them quite a challenge – with the names involved, I know these six pieces will be witty, smart and hard-hitting.”

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court, said: “This partnership between the Guardian and Royal Court feels truly ground-breaking and reflects the strengths and vision of each organisation. Playwrights and theatre-makers are continuously hungry for inspiration and challenge and that is frequently found in the pages of our great newspapers. The journalistic instinct to speak truth to power and uncover the previously uncovered feeds directly into the Royal Court’s drive to say what has been unsaid and bring us to a deeper understanding of the world we live in. The form of our micro-plays, where theatre meets film in an inescapably theatrical setting, feels like a new adventure.”

The other five collaborations are as follows:

Music – playwright Robin French, Guardian journalist John Harris and director Bijan Sheibani

Sport – playwright Roy Williams, Guardian journalist Barney Ronay and director Clint Dyer

Fashion – playwright Chloe Moss, Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman and director Christopher Haydon

Politics – playwright Tim Price, Guardian journalist Aditya Chakrabortty and director Hamish Pirie

Education – playwright Rachel De-lahay, Guardian education editor Richard Adams, education correspondent Sally Weale, writer and Guardian contributor Michael Rosen and director Gbolahan Obisesan.

Guardian Live and the Royal Court will present the Big Idea: Off The Page – a celebratory screening of all six films, with introductions from the artists and journalists involved, at the Royal Court on Friday, December 5 at 6pm, tickets are £10.

Further details and ticketing information, click here: OR here: