Royal Court targets teens with Let The Right One In

Let the Right One In A scene from the National Theatre of Scotland production of Let the Right One In

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The Royal Court Theatre hopes a stage version of Swedish vampire love story Let the Right One In will help it take a bite out of the teen market.

Announcing her first season at the London venue, artistic director Vicky Featherstone said she wanted to encourage teenagers "to come to the theatre on their own, not as part of schools groups".

She hoped the offer of £10 tickets for under 26s would encourage teens to visit the theatre "instead of going to the cinema".

Let the Right One In had its world premiere at Dundee Rep in June.

The National Theatre of Scotland production will open at the Royal Court in December prior to a West End run.

It tells the story of the relationship between Oskar, a lonely bullied teenaged boy and Eli, a centuries-old vampire who befriends him.

Start Quote

It's about putting something on that they want to come to and making sure that it's affordable.”

End Quote Vicky Featherstone on encouraging teenagers to the theatre

The adaptation by Jack Thorne, based on the novel and screenplay by John Ajvide Lindqvist, is described as being "for adults and fearless teens aged 13+".

Featherstone's new season, unveiled on Monday, includes new plays by Abi Morgan and Dennis Kelly - both making their Royal Court debuts - and a trilogy of Samuel Beckett shorts.

Morgan's play, The Mistress Contract, is based on reams of tape recordings that chart a decades-long affair between a real-life couple who still live on the west coast of America. She is now 88. He is 93.

Having first met at university, they began an affair 20 years later when he was a wealthy businessman and she was raising her children "in a loveless marriage".

The woman - described as highly educated and with "a history of involvement in the feminist movement" - faxed her lover with a contract offering "mistress services" in return for a home and an income.

The man signed it and sent it back. Part of the contract was that she would tape record all of their encounters.

Featherstone, who will direct the play next year, said: "At every meeting, every dinner, every breakfast, during sex, she had the tape recorder on - it charts a cultural journey of the last 40 years."

Rebecca Benson in a scene from Let the Right One In Vampire story: Rebecca Benson is returning to the cast as Eli

Morgan's recent writing credits include The Iron Lady, which starred Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, and Steve McQueen's film about sex addiction, Shame, as well as BBC TV series The Hour.

Casting for the play - "a two-hander for two older actors" - is yet to be announced.

Before that, in September, Featherstone will direct "dark morality tale" The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, by Dennis Kelly, who co-wrote Matilda the Musical.

The Royal Court follows its recent sell-out run of Beckett's monologue Not I with a trilogy of short Beckett plays in the new year.

Irish actress Lisa Dwan will again perform Not I alongside Footfalls and Rockaby, directed by Beckett's long-time friend and collaborator Walter Asmus, ahead of an international tour.

Other plays in the new season will examine issues around Islam and immigration.

Featherstone took over at the Royal Court in May, having been artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland since 2006.

Speaking to the BBC about her plans for Let the Right One In, she said the play's run in Dundee had attracted a "wealth of teenagers".

"They also created a game and app around it and so the teenagers really felt ownership of the piece of work," she said.

She described teenagers as "our audiences of the future and also our artists of the future".

"It's about putting something on that they want to come to and making sure that it's affordable," she said.

The National Theatre of Scotland's award-winning military drama Black Watch, she added, had attracted audiences where 60% were aged under 20.

Attracting younger audiences and first-time attendees through discounted tickets has been a focus for many theatres in both the subsidised and commercial sectors.

The National Theatre's membership of Entry Pass, a discount ticket scheme for 16 to 25-year-olds, now has more than 42,000 members.

According to its annual report last year, 33% of the National Theatre's audience on the South Bank in 2011-12 were first-time bookers.

Last year, Michael Grandage revealed that many of the £10 tickets for his West End season had been snapped up by "young people".  

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