ADAM PENFORD ANNOUNCES SECOND SPRING SEASON AT NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE
Nottingham Playhouse is delighted to announce Adam Penford’s second season as artistic director, including the return of the hugely popular Wonderland.
Following an exceptionally successful first year in post, Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic director Adam Penford has announced his spring season for 2019, which includes four main stage productions and a refreshed take on the theatre’s approach to working with associate artists.
Nottingham Playhouse’s chief executive Stephanie Sirr said: “We’ve been thrilled with the response to Adam’s fantastic first year as artistic director. A really creative and very ambitious season has truly paid off – we’ve loved audiences’ reactions to the work.
“2019 is already looking like it will have the same high-profile potential and we can’t wait to get started.”
Penford’s hugely ambitious 2018 programme brought some of the UK’s best actors, directors and playwrights to the city and has also provided a platform for Nottingham’s artists and theatre makers. Well received by audiences and theatre critics alike, his debut programme is due to culminate this year with the production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III, which will also be broadcast across the world through National Theatre Live.
Adam Penford said: “Everyone at the theatre has been delighted with the audience response to our 2018 programme. The reaction to the work has been generous and supportive.
“I’m excited our plans for the first half of next year includes four varied main stage shows; a revival, an adaptation of a family novel, a modern classic and a regional premiere.
“We’re also excited to confirm directors for all four shows too; including the return of Matthew Xia – who directed Shebeen for us earlier this year – and two of the most innovative directors in the industry at the moment; Lisa Blair and Adele Thomas.
“The intention is to build upon some of the ideas we introduced with this year, whilst continuing to explore new approaches.
“I hope to always keep the work fresh and innovative, balancing offering a great night out at the theatre, whilst challenging the artists we collaborate with to be bolder and more inventive, attracting the highest quality theatre-makers.”
In February, Adam’s first production of 2019 is the previously announced return of Wonderland by Beth Steel, a gripping play that takes a 360° look at the events of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.
Following the success of Holes in the 2018 programme, Penford continues his programming of titles aimed at schools and family audiences. Nottingham Playhouse will produce David Almond’s adaption of his own modern classic novel Skellig, which follows the story of a 12-year-old boy – Michael – whose younger sister is born prematurely. With his parents focusing much of their attention on the newborn, Michael is left to explore the new family home and discovers a creature in its crumbling garage; Skellig.
Fresh from her acclaimed revival of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Lisa Blair is confirmed to direct Skellig, which will look to strike the perfect balance between magic and real life, and take the audience on a visually thrilling journey as the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year story is retold on stage.
Next in the 2019 season will be The Memory of Water; a comedy drama directed by highly acclaimed director and National Theatre, Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe regular, Adele Thomas. The story follows three estranged sisters who return to their childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier award-winning story is a relatable drama about the complexities of family relationships.
Completing the spring line up is the regional premiere of acclaimed American play One Night in Miami…, which will see the return of director Matthew Xia to the Playhouse. The role of soul singer Sam Cooke will be played by Olivier award winner Matt Henry who won best actor for his performance in Kinky Boots.
Also new for 2019 will be Nottingham Playhouse’s approach to working with associate artists. Three exciting appointments have been made: director Matthew Xia, and playwrights James Graham and Amanda Whittington. To open up access to this important new group, the theatre is also advertising for a passionate and dedicated fourth associate artist to join the cohort.
Adam said: “I am over the moon that James, Amanda and Matthew have agreed to join us. Not only are they three of the most acclaimed theatre practitioners working in UK theatre, both James and Amanda also hail from the region.
“The associate artists bring with them a variety of skills, experiences and interests and will act as a diverse sounding board, ensuring Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic decisions are truly representative.
“In 2019 we’ll also be continuing our focus on local artist development through our programme Amplify, which will continue to act as a springboard for East Midlands theatre makers looking to develop their professional careers.”
For more information visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk
Nottingham Playhouse has been one of the United Kingdom’s leading producing theatres since its foundation in 1948. It welcomes over 130,000 ticket buyers annually and an additional 170,000 visitors to participation events and to Anish Kapoor’s stunning Sky Mirror. It creates productions large and small, from timeless classics and enthralling family shows to adventurous new commissions, often touring work nationally and internationally. Its production of The Kite Runner has had two West End transfers and toured throughout the UK to June 2018. In spring 2018 under new Artistic Director Adam Penford, the Playhouse produced two world premieres, Shebeen and Lava, and one regional premiere, Wonderland, all to great critical acclaim. September 2018 saw the highly praised production of Sweet Charity, the Playhouse’s first musical in over 10 years. The Playhouse’s forthcoming production of The Madness of George III will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world by NT Live on 20 November 2018.
2019 SPRING SEASON IN BRIEF:
8 to 23 February 2019
Directed by Adam Penford
Designer: Morgan Large
Lighting Designer: Jack Knowles
Movement Director: Naomi Said
Nottinghamshire, 1983. Two 16-year-olds wait nervously at the pithead. Guided by a veteran miner, they descend into the brotherhood, banter, searing heat and liquid blue light of Welbeck Colliery.
Meanwhile in London, an American CEO known as The Butcher is brought in to reform King Coal. Pits close and a strike is called.
A Tory MP tussles with his leader’s hard line ideology, whilst an eccentric dandy is sent undercover to break up the strike. Cracks appear on all sides as the embattled miners are torn apart trying to protect their livelihoods and families. Nothing will be the same again.
Wonderland is the spirited and uplifting drama written by the daughter of a Nottinghamshire miner. Expect dark humour and tension in this 360° look at the events leading up to and during the miner’s strike.
★★★★ “This is a big play…full of heart.” The Guardian
★★★★ “Powerful, pertinent drama” The Stage
“Exceptional programming from Nottingham’s new Artistic Director Adam Penford” WhatsOnStage
Following the performances at Nottingham Playhouse, Wonderland will tour to Northern Stage, Newcastle
22 March to 7 April 2019
Directed by Lisa Blair
“They say that shoulder blades are where your wings were, when you were an angel…where your wings will grow again one day.”
Moving house has been hard for 12-year-old Michael, and now his baby sister is ill in hospital, it seems his whole world has been turned upside down.
Exploring the crumbling garage of his new home one afternoon, he makes an extraordinary discovery. A strange, decrepit creature, Skellig, is hidden amongst the dust, dead insects and junk.
Together with his new friend Mina, Michael decides to help Skellig. But can the mysterious Skellig help Michael in return?
Winner of the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year and Carnegie Medal, this modern classic has been adapted for the theatre by its author. Let your imagination take flight in this magical re-telling of David Almond’s hauntingly beautiful story.
The Memory of Water
3 to 18 May 2019
“Some things are in your bones”
Three sisters arrive at their remote childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Having grown apart, the siblings argue and joke as they sort through their mother’s belongings and gradually confide about the realities of their own adult lives. But it’s when they move on to childhood recollections that they soon spot discrepancies, leading to a series of dramatic and devastating revelations.
The Memory of Water is a hilariously heart-breaking play on what we fear most – losing someone both in life and death. A play about family, grief and the unreliability of memory. Expect tears and laughter in Nottingham Playhouse’s new production of Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier award-winning comedy.
One Night in Miami…
7 to 22 June 2019
Directed by Matthew Xia
Designer: Grace Smar
Lighting Designer: Ciarán Cunningham
Sound Designer: Carolyn Downing
25 February 1964: Cassius Clay is crowned the new heavyweight champion of the world and celebrates with three of his closest friends – activist Malcolm X, American football icon Jim Brown and soul star Sam Cooke – in a downtown Miami motel room.
That much we know is true. What follows is an imagined account of a fabled real-life event.
Kemp Powers’ tough talking, in-your-face drama speculates on what might have happened in that room that night. Over music, whiskey and two tubs of vanilla ice cream, the men wrangle with the change that’s gonna come, and four era-defining legends emerge.
Directed by Matthew Xia (director of 2018’s acclaimed production Shebeen), One Night in Miami… is a play about prejudice and brotherhood, and asks us which side of the fence do we stand when hard choices need to be made?
One Night in Miami… received its theatrical stage premiere in the UK at the Donmar Warehouse on Tuesday 11 October 2016.
Praise for the Donmar’s production:
“A rich and fascinating play” The Independent
“packs one hell of a punch” The Times
“Powers has lit on a crucible moment” The Observer
Following the performances at Nottingham Playhouse, One Night in Miami… will tour to Bristol Old Vic and HOME in Manchester.
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