A Short History Of Pascal Theatre Company
Pascal Theatre Company was founded by playwright, director, journalist and scholar, Julia Pascal in 1983 for the production of new writing. The Company became a registered charity in 1985 (291910).
Until 1990 it focused on producing new work by a variety of authors including Carole Rumens, Seamus Finnegan, Jane Beeson, Melanie Phillips and Karim Alrawi. Dramas by these new playwrights were directed by Julia Pascal and staged at several London theatres, such as the Lyric Studio, Riverside Studios, the Lilian Baylis and the Finborough. In 2012, the musical Staying Out Late, produced by Ags Irwin for older lesbian and gay performers, was presented at the Drill Hall.
Julia Pascal’s plays have been staged by the Company since 1990, many touring Europe and most published by Oberon Books. The Company has further enjoyed European exposure with Katrin Hilbe’s production of Pascal’s St Joan, which was seen at the Edinburgh Festival, the Dublin Gay Festival and in Liechtenstein.
Over the last 20 years, the Company’s reach has expanded to include a strong community presence. It has presented playtexts by Mark Norfolk during Black History Month at Swiss Cottage Library and given talks for Holocaust Memorial Day at Camden Town Hall. After-school drama classes for children from underprivileged backgrounds, film courses for young people on the autism spectrum and major heritage projects have added to the Company’s portfolio.
The Company has been supported for Heritage Lottery projects between 2005 and 2021. These have included Jewish Mothers & Daughters: A Film Archive, Mike Tsang’s Between East and West: the British-born Chinese and South Bank Stories. These projects were shown respectively at the London School of Economics Atrium Gallery and the Unicorn Theatre, London. Most recently, the Company produced The Secret Listeners at Trent Park, Middlesex (date) and the Jewish Museum, and Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews, a multi-platform project uncovering and exploring the little-known history of Sephardi Jews in Britain.
Covid silenced all public events between March 2020 and summer 2021. During the crisis the Company worked digitally offering movement classes for isolated women and creative writing platforms for women from a diversity of cultural experiences. An Arts Council England Recovery Grant was used to develop new strategies while we embraced new technology to work creatively and flexibly.
Going live again
In October 2021 Dancing, Talking, Taboo! marked a return to face-to-face performances when Pascal Theatre Company collaborated with students from The Place London Contemporary Dance School. These young artists choreographed experimental works inspired by online stories collected over the past year. The site-specific community performance took place at St Pancras Church as part of the Bloomsbury Festival.
In November 2021 the Company was awarded a second Arts Council England Culture Recovery grant to sustain the changes made during the first grant.
We are now in discussion with Imperial War Museum to show a new drama and offer educational workshops exploring cultural identity, racism, fascism and violence against women. Moving from the metropole to the regions we are undertaking outreach work into Manchester and also into underprivileged seaside towns- Blackpool and Margate. These outreach community developments add artistic and cultural layers to our London community projects.