Kensington and Chelsea Festival announces 2023 partnership programme season with the Chelsea Theatre

The Kensington and Chelsea Festival in partnership with The Chelsea Theatre is delighted to announce the theatre’s summer 2023 Festival Season. Running from 11th July – 30th August, 18 individual performances will span physical theatre, comedy, performance art, children’s theatre, and live music.

18 shows have been whittled down from 100’s of applications, made via an open call for text based or physical theatre, dance, circus, music, opera, comedy, and variety shows to appear at the theatre within festival’s programme for 2023. The works were then selected via a two-stage process of shortlisting; first curated by a team of theatre professionals with the final selection made by a group of World’s End Estate Resident representatives, who live beside The Chelsea Theatre.

Highlights include:

THE GOOD WOMEN A funny, romantic, and thought-provoking tribute to the Swiss suffragette movement of the 1960s (Swiss women did not get the vote until 1971), inspired by a true queer love story. 27th July

ROOM – A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN Adapted and performed by playwright and actress, Heather Alexander this unique dramatic interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own explores Woolf’s fundamental ideas about gender, creativity, and thwarted opportunity. 3rdAugust

SAY YOU’RE WITH ME. LARKHALL – PIANO & CREATIVE CODING Mad scientist and prizewinning concert pianist Larkhall has invented a computer system named Otto, who creates live visual projections responding in real time to his performance. Audiences will witness technology, visual art and music collide in this moving, cinematic performance of the future. 9th August

Kensington and Chelsea Festival‘s core goal is to celebrate creativity and culture for everyone with the aim of bringing people together and helping to ensure that art, in all its forms, is available for all. To that end, all of the Festival performances at Chelsea Theatre will be ‘pay-what-you-want’ in order ensure that budget is no barrier to anyone from the community or beyond enjoying the festival, and also to try to encourage people to try something they may not have considered before.

“It has been a true pleasure to witness the breadth of talent and creativity from the artists who responded to our open call. We are delighted to be able to bring so many exceptional performers to be part of Kensington and Chelsea Festival 2023. We have been so delighted by the work that has come out of our partnership with The Chelsea Theatre in previous years and we’re incredibly excited to be opening another fantastic season.”

Verena Cornwall, Artistic Director, Kensington and Chelsea Festival & Head of Culture and Place, 

Kensington and Chelsea Council

Full Chelsea Theatre line up for the Kensington and Chelsea Festival 2023: 

A group of women on a stage Description automatically generated TROJANS UK 23 (Theatre) – 11th July 7.30pm: A new adaptation of Euripides’ Greek tragedy The Trojan Women, written and performed by refugees and asylum seekers after a course of drama workshops. The cast weave their own stories of war, exile, and loss through the great speeches and choruses of Euripides’ ancient text, showing how war, and the tragedy of war, remains eternal: only the weapons change. The cast come from Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and other countries. Most have fled war, some repression, some domestic violence. Suitable for age 15+.


ROALD DAHL AND THE IMAGINATION SEEKERS (Children’s theatre) – 15thJuly 2pm: All around the world Roald Dahl’s words are disappearing not only from books but children’s minds too! Now only a Secret Organization known as The Ancient Guild of Taletenders can save the stories and they need your help… Especially made for ages five and up, the show is an immersive and interactive performance, involving games and imaginative play, while exploring Roald Dahl’s extraordinary stories, including The BFG and The Twits along the way.


A person holding a microphone Description automatically generated THE STORYTELLER (Performance art) – 19th July 7.30pm: The Storyteller, Suitable for age 16+, explores an encounter between Brazilian theatre playwright/performer, Diogo Liberano and the public. Through the act of telling stories, Diogo shares his own experiences related to the death of relatives and friends through poems, letters, an exchange of emails and other accounts. NOTE: Performance may be in Portuguese with subtitles.


A person playing guitar and standing next to another person Description automatically generated MITCHELL AND VINCENT (Live music) – 21st July 7.30pm: Westcountry duo Mitchell and Vincent bring traditional and contemporary styles on fiddle and guitar to folk music from around the British Isles in this family friendly show. The show also features original material drawing on the folk traditions, using varied arrangements to create stories with their tunes as well as songs. The duo have performed concerts around the UK (including at Glastonbury) and supported renowned musicians including Tim Edey, Archie Fisher MBE, Jackie Oates, Damien O’Kane Band and Kate Rusby, Ralph McTell and Wizz Jones.


A cartoon of buildings and trees Description automatically generated ON MY STREET (Children’s theatre) 22nd July 2pm: This family friendly, sensory, and interactive show aimed at children aged 2-8 years aims to have audiences giggling from start to finish. The story follows Clara who dreams of adventure outside her very own front door, but we soon find that something is holding her back. Among her silly riddles and rhymes the audience follows her as she faces her fears and learns to understand and control her emotions. After the show audience members will be invited to take part in a sensory bracelet making workshop to create their own sensory bangle to take home.


Two women hugging each other Description automatically generated THE GOOD WOMEN (Theatre) – 27th July 7.30pmA funny, romantic, and thought-provoking tribute to the Swiss suffragette movement of the 1960s (Swiss women did not get the vote until 1971), inspired by a true queer love story. Bette is the host of a popular TV cooking show and has settled for a life of predictable solitude and work. Trudy is a German immigrant and housewife who self-medicates with alcohol and Valium to cope with the trauma suffered from her husband’s ongoing abuse. When they run into each other, they begin to question their life choices, their politics, their sexualities – and what it means to be “a good woman.” Suitable for age 14+.


A person in the air with papers falling Description automatically generated THE RETURN (Theatre) – 28thJuly 7.30pmThe Return is a migrant-led, devised one-women show exploring the hidden consequences of war. Based on the author’s experience of living in Croatia during the breakup of former Yugoslavia, the show is fragmented and collaged, combining movement, storytelling, and poetry in a profoundly personal story that investigates how living through war has affected where Natasha is now. Suitable for age 12+.


A person playing a piano Description automatically generated SERENA KAOS (Live music) – 29th July 7.30pm:  In an intimate setting, comprised of piano, classical guitar and vocals, London-based Portuguese singer/songwriter Serena Kaos brings emotions to the surface with acoustic versions of her Art Pop songs in a performance suitable for all ages. With dream pop and trip-hop elements, Serena bonds with the audience and prompts reflection with heartfelt storytelling.



A person in a robe holding a cigarette Description automatically generated ROOM – A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN (Theatre) 3rd August 7.30pmHeather Alexander’s unique dramatic interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own explores Woolf’s fundamental ideas about gender, creativity, and thwarted opportunity. Suitable for age 12+, the play explores Woolf’s ideas in a bold and provocative production where audiences experience the narrator moving seamlessly between her study, lecture room, the British Museum and Oxbridge locations as she forms her fundamental ideas.


SESKA: COOKING UP FUN (Comedy) – 5th August 2pmA unique super-hilarious comedy magic show for the whole family, SESKA has had kids and dads laughing out loud and mums fainting at his feet from Trinidad to. Winner of the Spirit of The Fringe Award, Colchester Fringe 2022 and nominated for Best Kids Show, Leicester Comedy Festival 2022, Seska has performed his colourful, thoroughly professional, fast paced show to over 50 festivals worldwide.


A person playing a piano Description automatically generated SAY YOU’RE WITH ME. LARKHALL – PIANO & CREATIVE CODING (Live music) – 9th Aug 7.30pmAlgorithms are art, coding is creative. Let Larkhall show you. Mad scientist and prizewinning concert pianist Larkhall has invented a computer system named Otto, who creates live visual projections responding in real time to his performance. Audiences will witness technology, visual art and music collide in this moving, cinematic performance of the future, suitable for all the family.


RAMALAMA DING DONG (Comedy/theatre) – 16thAugust 7.30pmAn innovative solo multimedia comedy-theatre piece, inspired by real-life experiences of racism. In 2017 the phrase, “Ramalama Ding Dong” was repeatedly sneered at Roshi by a stranger on a train after she briefly spoke in Farsi to her family. This formed the basis of a playful comic experiment that aims to “turn something hateful into a piece of art.” Roshi takes a multi-dimensional approach to performance, combining experiments in comedy, storytelling, singing and sound art. Suitable for age 14+.


A person sitting at a table with a plate of food Description automatically generated THE SHOW OF SHOWS (Performance art) – 17thAugust 7.30pmA collection of four short, interconnected works exploring the impact of Section 28 legislation (in effect 1988-2000), which was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government and prevented schools from discussing queer life. Each work takes the form of a confessional monologue, interspersed with audio interviews, whilst throwing out sweets to the audience, lip synching to Margaret Thatcher’s anti-gay speech at the 1987 Tory Conference, and exploring the potential repeat of history as LGBTQ+ censorship in education find itself once again, a current issue. Suitable for age 16+.


CONFLUENCE (Live music) – 25th August 7.30pmExpect the unexpected in this unique meeting of mind and soul, bringing together a confluence of artists and blending musical genres, experiences, and artistry to explore cultural interconnectedness. In this family friendly show, tabla player Sanju Sahai will be joined by harp guitarist Jason Carter, award-winning pianist Rosabella Gregory and Kathak dance artist Jaymini Sahai, presenting Kathak Dance in a new light.


A group of men wearing clothing Description automatically generated KICKMOUSE MYSTERIUM (Physical theatre) – 26thAugust 2pm: Set in a homemade world of cardboard, contraptions, illusions and mystifying objects, this comedy fable follows Jon (the chaotic student of Frank the Dog) as he breaks a precious artefact and has to redeem himself through a series of challenges and games. A funny, stylish, challenging, yet accessible, physical comedy show Suitable for age 3+. the show explores the process of mastering one’s body, acquiring physical coordination and confidence through practice and repetition.


A person holding a baby Description automatically generated THE TREE RINGS (Physical theatre) – 29th August 7.30pm: Trees hold stories, in more ways than one. They hold memories and myths. The rings within a tree’s trunk are archives of changes and events in our environment. What if they could tell you those stories? What if a tree could ring you? Using physicality, shadow puppetry, music and quirky humour, The Tree Ringsexplores a boy’s relationship with a tree over several decades, combining a childlike delight for magic and myths, stories from trees around the world, and a concern for our natural environment. Suitable for age 8+.


THE MARINER’S SONG (Theatre) – 30th August 7.30pm: This award-winning ‘round the campfire’ verse storytelling experience from London-based writer-performer Rajan Sharma, takes audiences aged 12+ on a lyrical voyage, navigating ancient myth, family history and life at sea. Contemplating humanity’s primal connection to oceans, rivers, and seas – and our connection and responsibility to one another – Sharma’s narrative odyssey is directly inspired by his unique first-hand experience crewing on a Deep-Sea Challenge, interweaving his grandfather’s timeless wisdom and familiar characters from Greek mythology.



Written by Theatrefullstop