Icarus's Story

Scroll down to view a timeline of Icarus's success and learn about the company history.

2003 -
America to
London
In a business class during his senior year, Max Lewendel (below) created an 80-page guidebook that detailed his dreams for his future, including the plan to start his own theatre company.

Lewendel was captivated by British culture during an impromptu visit to England in the summer of his junior year at Illinois Wesleyan School of Drama. Accompanied by two suitcases, a laptop, and his portfolio, he ventured to London. Once he arrived, Lewendel found a job doing freelance technical crew work that included providing theatrical light and sound for groups and businesses.

As for his long-term goal, Lewendel dreams of constructing his own theatre, the next step in his business plan. “I still have all the blueprints, the whole design of the theatre, the structure, the way it works, everything. Granted it was written by someone in their early 20’s, but it’s a template, a place to start.”

Max Lewendel, Founder of Icarus Theatre Collective

Winter 2003
A small, informal group of theatre professionals working in various sectors of the industry embarked on their first professional production as an ensemble at London’s Etcetera Theatre

The aftermath developed into what is now Icarus Theatre Collective.

Summer 2004
Founder Max Lewendel starts to brand Icarus. A company following its namesake too close to the sun, always picking plays which seem just out of their reach.

The Icarus Theatre Collective chose blue to represent theatre becoming visible.

Winter 2004
Our next production was named Critics' Choice in Time Out and The Church of England Newsletter.

Five more critics lauded the production and we were on our way to creating a solid repertoire of theatrical work.

“Max Lewendel's fine production imaginatively turns the Etcetera's black-box space into a giant blackboard - this is '50s absurdism made over as '90s 'in-yer-face' apocalypticism. It's a clever, entertaining show.

Robert Shore, Time Out

2005
In 2005 Icarus registered formally as a company and the Finborough Theatre commissioned us to produce a piece of new writing entitled Albert's Boy by Finborough writer-in-residence, James Graham

The show starred Tony Award winner Victor Spinetti. The show received glowing reviews from over a dozen publications including The Stage (Aleks Sierz) and The Sunday Times. The author won the esteemed Pearson Playwright Award for the show, and the same year the Finborough Theatre won the Peter Brook Empty Space Award.

Autumn 2007
After a break of 18 months, Icarus came back together to produce The Lesson by Eugène Ionesco which toured to 37 venues across the UK.

While touring we received four-stars-or-better in 15 publications.

The Lesson transferred to Assembly Rooms at Hill Street Theatre for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival, and finally across the seas to Romania where we scooped up awards for Best Actress and the Special Jury's Prize from Fest Co 2008.

2008
Our production in 2008, featured a cast of 25 actors in one of the smallest, most prestigious Off-West-End theatres, The Finborough Theatre.
2009
Icarus transferred their tour of Vincent in Brixton to three number one touring houses.

The theatres were Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre, and Theatre Royal Windsor.

learn more about oureducation here
also in 2009
📚 Shakesepare is here!
They also produced their first Shakespeare piece, a mid-scale tour of Othello using actor-musicians playing violins, violas, and cellos.

Both these projects marked the beginning of our collaboration with Original Theatre Company

Later that year both companies produced a show that year which toured called Journey’s End (Runner-Up, The Guide Awards, four stars in The Times, Manchester Evening News, and The Scotsman).

In 2010
The company began with a highly sexual piece of new writing about a gay teenager in 1981 Northern Ireland, Rip Her to Shreds, and followed with over 100 performances of the second Shakespeare play, Hamlet, done in the style of Greek Chorus.

"The Icarus Theatre Collective choose to relish what others shy away from"

Icarus succeeds by following its namesake too close to the sun, always picking plays which seem just out of their reach, soaring most elegantly and creating a beautiful organised chaos when they are stretching beyond their grasp.

Max Lewendel - CEO

2011
This year was marked by the commencement of the company's Macbeth tour

In June 2012 the production was taken abroad to the Shakespeare Festival at the Globe in Neuss, Germany, which marked the end of the tour.

2012 - 2014
The audience loved Shakespeare and we enjoyed producing the plays. Through this time the collective put on two tours 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Othello'.

We also produced Franz Wedekind's sexually controversial Spring Awakening and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

Timeline

Past

Icarus succeeds by following its namesake too close to the sun, always picking plays which seem just out of their reach, soaring most elegantly and creating a beautiful organized chaos when they are stretching beyond their grasp.

Present

Icarus succeeds by following its namesake too close to the sun, always picking plays which seem just out of their reach, soaring most elegantly and creating a beautiful organized chaos when they are stretching beyond their grasp.

Future

Icarus succeeds by following its namesake too close to the sun, always picking plays which seem just out of their reach, soaring most elegantly and creating a beautiful organized chaos when they are stretching beyond their grasp.

Company History

Past

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Present

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Future

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Grab a cuppa and read more....

2004 - 2008

Formed in the winter of 2003/2004, a small, informal group of theatre professionals working in various sectors of the industry embarked on their first professional production as an ensemble. Audiences packed in and critics raved: “50’s absurdism made over as 90’s, in-yer-face, apocalypticism!” (Time Out on The Lesson) The aftermath developed into what is now The Icarus Theatre Collective.
Our next production was named Critics’ Choice in Time Out and The Church of England Newsletter. Five more critics lauded the production and we were on our way to creating a solid repertoire of theatrical work.

In 2005 Icarus registered formally as a company and the Finborough Theatre commissioned us to produce a piece of new writing entitled Albert’s Boy by Finborough writer-in-residence, James Graham. The show starred Tony Award winner Victor Spinetti. The show received glowing reviews from over a dozen publications including The Stage (Aleks Sierz) and The Sunday Times. The author won the esteemed Pearson Playwright Award for the show, and the same year the Finborough Theatre won the Peter Brook Empty Space Award.

After a break of 18 months, Icarus came back together to produce The Lesson by Eugène Ionesco which toured to 37 venues across the country, transferred to Assembly Rooms at Hill Street Theatre for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival, and finally across the seas to Romania where we scooped up awards for Best Actress and the Special Jury’s Prize from Fest Co 2008. While touring we received four-stars-or-better in 15 publications.Our production of The Time of Your Life, also in 2008, featured a cast of 25 actors in one of the smallest, most prestigious Off-West-End theatres, The Finborough Theatre.
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2009 - present

In 2009 we transferred our tour of Vincent in Brixton to three number one touring houses including the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre, and Theatre Royal Windsor. We also produced our first Shakespeare piece, a mid-scale tour of Othello using actor-musicians playing violins, violas, and cellos. Both these projects marked the beginning of our collaboration with Original Theatre Company with whom we later toured Journey’s End (Runner-Up, The Guide Awards, four stars in The Times, Manchester Evening News, and The Scotsman).
In 2010 we began with highly sexual piece of new writing about a gay teenager in 1981 Northern Ireland, Rip Her to Shreds, and followed with over 100 performances of our second Shakespeare play, Hamlet, done in the style of Greek Chorus.In 2011-12, We successfully completed an international tour of our third Shakespeare play, Macbeth, using a blend of traditional and contemporary physical theatre techniques and a hauntingly evocative set design.

In 2012 we began our mid-scale tour of Romeo and Juliet which was greeted with much enthusiasm all through the UK and Ireland. In Spring 2013, we introduced Frank Wedekind’s most seminal and formative work, Spring Awakening, to the tour (receiving a five-star rating from Behind the Arras).

After celebrating a successful end to our first Repertory tour of the UK and Ireland, we now look forward to another big year ahead. With the revival of Othello: The Moor of Venice for our fifth Shakespeare play to tour in Autumn 2013, in rep with Ibsen’s hauntingly provocative tale, Hedda Gabler in Spring 2014.

We also look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary in January with the thrilling announcement that we have received Arts Council funding for the first time.

This event is a significant milestone, marking a new and exciting phase in Icarus’ history.
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