Artistic Director’s Spring Round Up


I have recently had a really indulgent week in London catching up with loads of theatre at the Donmar and the National Theatre; both new work and revivals of classics. It is wonderful to see how the best do it.

I am super proud at how many times I am able to write “originally staged at The National in…..” about plays we are staging. It is great to be so frequently bringing such great writing to our own stage.

Our February production, Translations, was a triumph, both commercially and artistically. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Brian Friel is an impressive writer and it only endorses my consistent mantra at the Loft that ‘the play’s the thing’. We start with the very best writing and Friel is a master of his art. Including Irish music and musicians throughout the production was a lovely idea and the musicians, who have quite a following, were warmly welcomed by the Loft company and the audience alike. My thanks to Tom O’Connor and the entire Translations company for making such a powerful contribution to the year.

Next up is Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, which is replacing our previously planned musical Spring Awakening, as this has had to be rescheduled to the Spring of 2025.

Under Milk Wood was commissioned by the BBC and broadcast as a radio play in 1954. We are going to do the same thing; to present this as originally intended as a radio play. We are recreating a BBC 1950s radio studio and every one will be in 50s costumes, as if broadcasting to the nation, with Foley sound. Named after sound effects artist Jack Foley, they produce all the audio sounds other than voice for the listener. David Fletcher has assembled a company of 14 to present this beautiful, iconic piece of writing. With a somewhat shortened run this time, book early to get the chance to hear……….and see it.

In between performances the theatre is buzzing with the activity of readings and auditions aplenty as casting progresses for the rest of the production schedule in 2024. We are currently cast through to June and as I write we are just about to hold auditions for Abi Morgan’s play Lovesong, which Craig Shelton will direct in July. We originally were planning to stage this play in 2020, but the pandemic put that on hold and we are delighted to be bringing it finally to the stage. Originally staged as a piece of physical theatre by the innovative theatre company, Frantic Assembly, Craig is planning to work with a masters graduate in movement, Dan Walsh, to bring this beautiful piece of writing to life. A different style of theatre for us and one which underlines our ambition.

We have been producing trailers for all our productions for nearly six months now and are delighted that this seems to have widened our reach to potential audiences. We get lots of feedback from you that they caught your eye. Our thanks to Michael Wheeldon for masterminding these.

We also have caught the eye of our young theatregoers and our offer this year of free tickets for 16 – 25 year olds has been well received. There really is no catch. Just come along and present your proof of age. We want to grow and encourage our future young adult audience to get the theatre habit. This is the age group who can begin to make their own decisions about independently coming to the theatre, rather than being brought by an adult. Do encourage those you know in this age group to take advantage of this offer. They will be warmly welcomed.

In other news, we were pleased to be part of the BBC’s Bring the Drama festival in March. You may have seen the televised programmes around encouraging people who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to consider a career in theatre or on screen. Around Spencers Yard, at the rear of the Loft, are a number of creative businesses and we all banded together to produce workshops on the creative process on stage and off to explain the possible routes into the industry. At the Loft we presented a technical workshop around lighting, video and sound and a production workshop called ‘from Page to Stage’, highlighting how we move from a script to the opening night of a play.

Around the theatre building it has been equally active as Spring springs into action. We have new external lighting being fitted to the exterior of the building, which we hope will make us more noticeable from the main Parade. We have a great setting by the river – on the south bank!!

2025 PLANS
I have already started planning our production schedule for 2025, working with my mighty team of experienced directors to bring you the best writing. More news of that later.

Thank you to you all for catching up with our news in this update and for coming to see our shows. As you know, we do not receive any external funding, nor do we seek subscription fees from those who are part of our theatre company. We rely on good judgement on play choice and the rewards possible through the box office. We own our own building and, as I am sure you can imagine, it costs a lot to run and insure. Without your support we would disappear, as so many arts organisations have. Enormous thanks from us for your kindness in bringing that support to us. We are in our 102nd year and on behalf of the founders and all of us in the current company, we thank you for shaping the ongoing history of this special place.

Sue Moore Artistic Director
March 2024