The RADA Festival 2018 runs from 27 June to 7 July, inviting graduates and alumni to present work and explore new ideas. We check out the programme to see what's on in this ten-day celebration of a theatrical institution:

You never really leave university. Of course, you graduate and start to make your way in the world, hopefully using the skills that you’ve learnt to progress your professional career in some way. But from the day you matriculate, you become a part of this community, an unspoken bond that links you to thousands of others, a bond that can help you connect and network with your peers for many years to come. Just because you graduate, that doesn’t mean you outgrow. So, when RADA set up the RADA Festival six years ago, bringing together its past graduates into a ten-day forum to share work and collaborate with other theatremakers, they are simply creating another thread in the rich tapestry for their alumni.

Now the festival is in its seventh year and runs for ten days. That’s ten days of theatre, installations and discussions that centre around the school and its network of contacts. Ten days of individuals who have learnt their craft in those hallowed halls, who return to take creative risks, extend their work into new territories and experiment with telling stories in unexpected ways. Flanked by three flagship pieces that will run in the GBS Theatre, the RADA Festival 2018 has over 70 events in total – that’s 70 new strands to add to its ever-growing, ever-expanding creative web.

Lucid RADA Festival 2018

Lucid (image courtesy of New Public)

RADA Festival Flagship Shows

In the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, the three largest productions will run in rep, offering tickets from £5 and varying levels of access for D/deaf and hearing audiences. All productions run throughout the festival, from 29 June – 7 July:

  • Knock Knock is a modern folk story for our times, a fairytale of love and longing. This poignant and moving piece, using physical theatre, clown and mask, will capture the hearts of all the family.
  • Lucid is a funny, insightful and at times disturbing journey into the strange yet familiar world of dreams, combining unique sound design, physical theatre and surreal humour to explore the hidden depths of our subconscious.
  • Set between two friends’ cramped flatshare and London’s poshest spin studio, Always Right There takes you for a spin through five twenty-something women’s lists of experiences of abuse that aren’t really bad enough to warrant talking about, let alone reporting. All to a banging playlist.
Knock Knock RADA Festival 2018

Knock Knock (image courtesy of Hot Coals Theatre Company)

The Gielgud Theatre

The smaller Gielgud Theatre studio plays hosts to 30 further shows, each running for just a few performances – an invitation for those alumni who are making waves in the industry to come back and experiment with new work. It’s a safe space for trial and development. Among the returning creatives are:

  • Imogen Butler-Cole, whose last show Foreign Body ran at the VAULT Festival 2018 – a ★★★★ show from our Theatre Editor, Daniel Perks. The next work, DELETE, was longlisted for the Papatango Prize and featured in the Huffington Post as part of its #MeToo activists profile on International Women’s Day. Nina Milne‘s first full-length piece examines an unlikely friendship between three women in a world saturated with online abuse, addiction and sexual violence.
DELETE RADA Festival 2018

Nina Milns’ DELETE

  • Edwina Strobl and Flugelman Productions also played at the VAULT Festival 2018 with their show The Poetry We MakeGraceful, their latest work, is a provocative play by Hayley Ricketson, an examination of love and attachment between a mother without a daughter and a daughter without a mother. The production was longlisted for the 2016 Theatre503 Playwriting Award and presents another opportunity for women to take centre stage, reclaiming their bodies and their sexuality in a post #MeToo era.
Graceful RADA Festival 2018

Hayley Ricketson’s Graceful

  • Jodi Gray was also at VAULT Festival 2018 with Big Bad. She comes to RADA with Thrown before taking it up to Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 – a one-woman show about letting go of your smaller self, transmitted to each individual audience member through a binaural sound design. Thrown identifies the cusp between childhood and adulthood.
Thrown RADA Festival 2018

Jodi Gray’s Thrown

Other work at the RADA Festival examines such topics as Welsh rugby (Fly Half) and the Liverpool docks (The Docks), incorporating verbatim theatre styles (Overheard, or Freight), live foley (Genesis II), music (Billy Mason) and sound patterning (Hear My Soul Speak).

Always Right There RADA Festival 2018

Always Right Theatre

Throughout the Building

To expand the dialogue from the stage into the public space, the RADA Festival 2018 will also incorporate panel discussions and live installations that will run throughout the ten days. Emily Durtnall brings an installation that combines her photographs with text from Angela Carter‘s Night At The Circus to reflect societal questions in Am I Fact? or Am I Fiction?Paul Westcombe‘s installation Head To Toe is loosely based on the novel of the same name by RADA graduate Joe Orton – a fantasy world that alleviates boredom and confinement.

From installation to conversation, such esteemed individuals as director Marianne Elliott, former UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and author and lecturer Kat Jungnickel will participate in panel events to broaden the ways in which we engage and interact with the arts. Workshops on movement (by New Public) and accessible theatre (by Hot Coals Theatre), as well as commissioned film screenings, will round off a diverse programme, each embracing multiple points of view and celebrating the many ways in which the arts, like the alumni of a university, are connected and linked.



RADA Festival 2018 runs from 27 June – 7 July 2018. For further information, please visit the website.