Top Islington playhouse throws doors open with backstage tours

The Almeida Festival is back with another month of exciting drama – and will give theatre fans the chance to get behind the scenes at the renowned playhouse.

The annual event takes over the Almeida Theatre from this week until July 28, showcasing nine productions at different stages of development.

And the theatre kicks the festivities off by flinging its doors open to the public from noon today, offering backstage tours of the theatre and the chance to participate in workshops.

Another highlight will be the Almeida debut of the Inspector Sands theatre company, who are bringing their new production, Mass Observation, to its hallowed boards.

This topical work ties in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by following the life of a woman called Marsha in two time periods – first her early days in 1937, then fast-forwarding to the present day and her visit to a jubilee street party.

Other productions will include a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Custom/Practice, who are also making their debut.

n The Almeida Festival is at the Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, N1, until July 28. For the full programme visit www.almeida.co.uk/festival2012 To book tickets, priced at �15/�10, call the box office on 020 7359 4404.

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