Latest News from the Artistic Director – May Update


Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Well not us! The Loft, across its history has often garnered headlines in the press, such as ‘Brave Loft’, ‘Courageous Loft’, for staging work by playwrights who are immensely challenging.

In our Centenary year, we needed to acknowledge this history and to pay tribute to embracing such challenges and also to marking our love affair with the great American playwrights. When planning the season, it was always going to be Miller or Albee as a choice.

This production was quite a moment. Gordon Vallins and his cast and crew created a very fine piece of work which was lauded by all who saw it, with many standing ovations. I am always thrilled when praise from the audience arrives in my inbox and, happily I get this for every production, but for ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf‘ this was at an unprecedented level. The praise was fulsome and generous, but also endorsed the feeling that, at our best, we are capable of reaching enviable standards. Our thanks to the whole ‘Virginia Woolf’ company for creating such positive memories for so many people of this terrific piece of classic writing.

We have had our AGM since I last wrote a news update and I am pleased to announce that we have agreed to remove membership subscriptions and changed our Articles to reflect this. In the spirit of a theatre community, we feel that volunteers should not have to pay for the privilege of volunteering and we want all those who volunteer with us to be able to come to the AGM and have a voice on the running of the theatre. During auditions I know how many new auditionees ask if it is a prerequisite to join in order to act with us and I am delighted to tell them that this is not required. A step forward.

Next up in the main house is ‘Present Laughter‘ by Noel Coward – a truly laugh out loud comedy from The Master. This was most recently staged at the Old Vic starring Andrew Scott in 2019 as a refreshed view of the bohemian world of Garry Essendine and his inner circle, threatened by the invasion from outsiders. I am delighted to be in the cast and we have had the best of times in rehearsal with so much fun. I hope you will enjoy a summer evening of laughter. A perfect antidote to everything around us. Unmissable.

Rehearsals have also commenced for our July production – a new play written for our centenary by David Fletcher, which he is also directing – called ‘Taking The Waters‘. This is centred on the history of Leamington and the Spa waters. It is also a deeply human story, told through the eyes of two generations of remarkable women. The music has been specially composed and the movement choreographed. More anon….

This most special of years is currently being filmed across the year to capture precious moments by our filmmaker Mark Ellis, who has also made some wonderful films on the history of Leamington Spa. We are so delighted to be working alongside him and look forward to the finished product in due course.

Finally, I am also delighted that the most wonderful actor of stage and screen, David Bradley, is coming to chat with Michael Billington, who hails from Leamington and who until recently was the theatre critic for The Guardian. David has so many young fans too from his appearance as Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films. Do join us on Sunday, 19th June at 7.30 p.m. for a relaxed evening of conversation. Tickets now on sale.

Tickets are also now on sale for all the productions for the rest of the Centenary year. It is an exciting programme, including the Arts Insight Youth Theatre in the main house for the first time, The Seagull by Chekhov in a new adaptation by James Suckling, Pinter’s The Birthday Party and Shakespeare’s timeless A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As the daylight lengthens, do join us, strolling down the beautifully restored Victoria Colonnade for some theatre and a drink overlooking the river and support us as we recover from the most bruising of recent times. Theatres should be alive with people – never dark and empty.

Sue Moore
Artistic Director