New direction for the Malthouse

New direction for the Malthouse

By Rhonda Dredge

Three writers are collaborating on the next production at the Malthouse, an immersive show called Because the Night, and there is a text but you could say that it has been upstaged by the visuals.

Actors will roam between 32 rooms in one large chamber but the Malthouse is not revealing any more about the sets until the play opens on March 23.

Mark Pritchard, new works manager, said that the production was more about the design than the script.

The theatre’s new approach is not just a one-off COVID response to working in small enclosed theatres.

Work will still be shown inside and outside the building but the traditional theatres won’t be used this year, the Malthouse has revealed to Southbank News.

“We won’t be doing the standard things this year,” Mark said.

As part of its new more flexible push, the company has done a national call-out for an Innovation Award that closes on March 28 and has been posted on its website.

The call-out asks for a proposed new work and a sample of a previous work but it does not require a complete script.

“People shouldn’t write scripts and send them to us,” Mark said. “We want to be part of the journey.”

Southbank News was unable to find the announcement on the website. However, the Malthouse has made a commitment to work with the winner to stage its play.

“There’s a myth that plays that win awards don’t get performed,” Mark said. “This is an award but not a finished play.”

He said that other companies awarded prizes for completed plays but then didn’t put them on. “We want to talk about proposals,” he said.

The award heralds a more freeform approach to both the facilities and the written word.

Even the foyer of the Malthouse could be used as a performance space, Mark said.

“We’re not blowing up the theatre. We’re shifting in a new direction.” •

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