Read the Artistic Director’s round up of news for October


So The Seagull flew away and we concluded our production of a Chekhov play, to mark his importance to us as a regular feature in our theatre programme across our history. Thank you to all of you who made a donation to the relief fund for those whose lives have been torn apart by the war in the Ukraine. We ran this alongside our ticket booking page. Your kindness and generosity will provide great support to those in need and the Loft will honour its pledge to match your donations.

Our thanks to James Suckling and his entire company (many of whom were new to us) for producing such an artistically acclaimed production. It looked and sounded beautiful.

Next up in the main house is another playwright who has made his mark so powerfully on our history – Harold Pinter.
Pinter was one of the most influential modern British dramatists with a writing career that spanned more than 50 years. The Birthday Party was his first play and on its first outing baffled its audience but was seen as a masterpiece by one of the influential theatre critics of the time. It propelled Pinter into more writing and more and more acclaim. The most recent production of this play starring Toby Jones was much garlanded.

Like so much of his work, the idea for the play was drawn from the well of his personal experience. Pinter recalled how, as a young actor in the mid-1950s, he had been on tour in a terrible farce. Arriving one wet, dreary night in the seaside town of Eastbourne, he found himself forced to take horrible digs and share an attic room with a man who claimed to have been a concert pianist and who complained about the constant unwelcome attention from his landlady. When Pinter asked the man why he stayed, he replied ‘I’ve nowhere else to go’. Out of that remark came the idea for The Birthday Party. Funny, moody and menacing in equal measure, we are delighted to be staging it during this centenary year and particularly thrilled that Craig Shelton who is such an outstanding actor within our company, has this time sat in the director’s chair. Craig is a very experienced director elsewhere but you have been more likely to see him on stage than off, until now. Once again, we are delighted to welcome actors new to us to the cast. Unmissable if you are a Pinter fan, since the chance to see his work in and around Leamington is so limited. If you don’t know much about Pinter, do come and see why he has been such an important part of our production history. The Loft was one of the first non professional theatres in the country to stage his plays.

Whilst all this has been underway, the mighty cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream have started their rehearsals. Michael Rolfe and Sean Glock are co directing this classic Shakespeare. It would have been unthinkable to have omitted Shakespeare from our celebration of great playwrights and Midsummer in December seemed to echo The Loft’s kind of spirit! The play will be set in the newly acquired abandon of the 60’s. If you remember that decade they say you weren’t there, so if you did miss it for any reason, we shall present it as a backdrop to the mischief of the magical forest.

The season planning for 2023 is now complete and the first six months programme of 2023 is up on the website and booking is open. It has fun, it tackles serious subjects, it has wit and intelligent texts and a blockbusting theatrical piece of history. Something we hope for every taste and we hope you are tempted.