Looking Back at Trafalgar Studio 2
By Sam Wightman
Since Cyprus was first performed in the 100-seat venue in October 2005, Trafalgar Studio 2 has hosted a plethora of new writers and companies, offering an opportunity to bring explosive, small scale productions into one of the most exciting West End venues.
Some of the biggest news of the past week is that Traf 2 alumnus Rotterdam picked up the 2017 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. So we thought now would be the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane and look back at just a handful of the shows from the last 5 years that have helped form this legacy...
1. 46 Beacon (April 2017):
Bill Rosenfield's play about one night in 1970s Boston explores sexuality and the meaninfulness of our connections. The play is testament to the progression of equality and gay rights, and Rosenfield told us himself that it is very important that 46 Beacon shows us that "there is a history that has happened within our lifetimes that is in danger of being lost." Here's what the actors have to say about it too:
2. Rotterdam (July 2016):
The recent triumph for this particular production at the Oliviers proves how important this production was for the subject matter it navigated. John Brittain's Rotterdam gave us LGBT characters that were wholly three-dimensional, with a narrative exploring the challenges of transitioning and how we understand gender identity today. Its power to both educate and entertain clearly did not go unnoticed...
3. RAZ (March 2016):
Traf 2 was formerly treated to a brand new play by one of the nation's most acclaimed writers Jim Cartwright. Following a run in Edinburgh, audiences met Shane, (played by Cartwright's son) and followed his intense night out, as a somewhat dark snapshot of a live-at-home generation that drag themselves through the working week to live fully for the weekend.
4. Firebird (February 2016):
Phil Davies brought to Traf 2 his visceral debut play about the Rochdale child sex rings. A production devised in response to such a highly-publicised and nationally harrowing event was always going to be a talking point. But following a teenage protagonist, Firebird challenged our relationship with this 2012 uncovering, to paint a complex picture of more than just how the ring operated, but the lives and culture of the victims in the area.
5. Mydidae (March 2013):
Back in years gone by, creator of smash-hit series Fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge performed in this two-hander written by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne. Transferring from Soho Theatre, Mydidae is set in the equally intimate space of a bathroom with no lock on. It follows a couple trying to cope with the traumatic aftermath of losing their child, and ultimately begs the larger question: how are we able to overcome grief?
6. Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises) (February 2013):
A theatrical adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's first novel arrived at Trafalgar Studios with a live jazz band. The epic story of a pack abroad in Pomplona uses bullfighting and running with bulls as the backdrop for a nuanced commentary on masculinity, love, death and everything in between...
7. Mecury Fur (June 2012):
There is a concidence in that the first premiere of Philip Ridley's play coincided with the reopening of Trafalgar Studios 2. There was uproar when Mercury Fir first opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2005 due to the story's dealings with amoral fantasies, that include the murder of a child. However, set in dystopian London, this piece bore even greater significance when it played in 2012 due to its harking back to the capital's riots that had taken place the previous year...