John Perrin Flynn

John Perrin Flynn

The Royal Court Theatre and Revitalizing New Work

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I apologize for being so long away from the process.  TreeFall was rehearsing then opening, then playing and in August we were also running Stop Kiss and our late night show Shorts and Sweets – It was a busy month that put the lie to August is a terrible month for theatre.

Next week, Tuesday, the 15th, we’re hosting a free salon for the Theatre community about The Royal Court Theatre. No other theatre has had such a profound impact on my life and how I think about theatre.

Many of you know this but the list of writers that got their start or their first big leg up at The Royal Court is astonishing. They include John Osbourne, Joe Orton, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, Peter Gill, Christopher Hampton, Athol Fugard, Howard Brenton, David Hare, David Storey, Joe Orton, Ann Jellicoe, Wally Shawn, Wole Soyinka, David Edgar, Sam Shepard, Mary O’ Malley, Hanif Kureishi, Howard Barker, Terry Johnson, Sarah Kane, Joe Penhall, Jez Butterworth, Anthony Neilson, Martin McDonagh, Mark Ravenhill, Ron Hutchinson, and, of course, Phyllis Nagy, who wrote and will direct the next Rogue production, Never Land, which had its world premiere at the Royal Court.

By now anyone who reads these musings knows I believe the theatre will only continue to survive if it encourages, nourishes, and supports new work.  The playwrights of the past have given us great works, many have universal truths as relevant and penetrating now as they were then, but these great, old works can only continue to speak to us, can only remain vital in a Theatre that is vital, and a vital Theatre must embrace the writers of today as fully and as joyfully as we embrace the old masters.

Chicago has been a hothouse for new playwrights for the last 10 years but I would like to see Los Angeles grow up to challenge Chicago.  A lot of theatres here say there’s no audience for new plays.  I don’t think that’s true.  I think audiences may need to be encouraged, educated if you will, and I think it is the responsibility of the Theatre community in Los Angeles to make a concentrated effort to do so.  Moreover, I think there are a number of theatres already beginning to do so but it’s up to all of us to create the movement, to light the fire.

So on Tuesday we’re going to talk about how The Royal Court has done this and done it better than any other theatre doing it for more than 50 years.  Steven Leigh Morris, L.A. Weekly critic at large and playwright will moderate.  Phyllis Nagy, former playwright in residence at The Royal Court, Ron Hutchinson, well known screenwriter and playwright, and Katherine Tozer,  a British actress who has worked at The Royal Court a number of times, including the world premiere of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away, will participate.

Please join us Tuesday the 15th of September at 8pm.  Reservations will probably be necessary but it’s free.  Just email us at