In a theatrical coup for the city, Nottingham Playhouse’s smash-hit show, The Kite Runner is to open on Broadway this Summer.
The production, which was originally created for the Nottingham Playhouse stage, received its UK premiere in 2013 and was directed by Giles Croft, the then artistic director of the theatre. Playing to over 20,000 people in Nottingham between 2013 & 2017, it has since enjoyed a runaway success across the UK where it has been performed to sell out audiences on multiple tours and had two triumphant seasons in London’s West End where it played to over 100,000 people and received standing ovations at every performance.
The Nottingham Playhouse production will transfer to the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York in June.
Described by the Daily Telegraph as “an enthralling tale beautifully told” The Kite Runner is an unforgettable tour-de-force based on Khaled Hosseini’s internationally best-selling novel, directed by Croft and adapted by Matthew Spangler. Originally produced by Nottingham Playhouse and The Everyman Liverpool, the show will begin its run on Broadway on July 6, with the opening night on July 21, and it will run through to October 30.
Nottingham Playhouse Chief Executive Stephanie Sirr says –
“We’re just delighted that one of our most popular, Made in Nottingham, productions is finally being seen on Broadway. It is a testament to many years work.”
On Broadway, The Kite Runner is produced by Victoria Lang, Ryan Bogner and Tracey McFarland of Broadway & Beyond Theatricals and Jayne Baron Sherman in association with UK Productions Ltd and Flying Entertainment Ltd/Kilimanjaro Ltd. Daryl Roth is the Executive Producer.
Originally published in 2003, The Kite Runner became a bestseller across the globe and has since been published in 70 countries, selling 31.5 million copies in 60 languages. Now this powerful story has been adapted into a stunning stage production.
The Kite Runner is a haunting tale of friendship spanning cultures and continents, that follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither Hassan nor Amir can fore- see the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever.
Nottingham Playhouse is dedicated to making bold and thrilling theatre in the heart of Nottingham and was named Regional Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards 2019. In 2021, both Chief Executive Stephanie Sirr and Artistic Director Adam Penford featured in The Stage’s 100 – as did Associate Artist James Graham.
2020 to 2021 was Nottingham Playhouse’s most challenging time in its history. The theatre is a central part of cultural life in Nottingham and, despite the pandemic closing its doors, it proved its ability to adapt and thrive by creating new work and moving to digital platforms where in person audiences have not been possible.
In 2020 its award-winning production of The Madness of George III was made available online through NT at Home and it produced its first piece of new digital theatre – an interactive Zoom play for children called Noah and the Peacock. Most recently, nearly 29,000 people, including children from 69 schools, watched its online pantomime Cinderella. It has continued its commitment to hiring local freelancers who have been hard-hit by the current crisis, through efforts to produce new work, highlighted in its Unlocked festival in autumn 2020, including the world premiere of Bubble by associate artist James Graham. This commitment continued through Spring Loaded in 2021, which included the highly-regarded new digital theatre project Still Life.
Last summer, the theatre reopened its doors with an acclaimed production of Pam Gems’ Piaf starring Jenna Russell in the title role. In the autumn, the first full season since the pandemic included Mark Gatiss’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which completely sold out and transferred to The Alexandra Palace Theatre for a six week run. This was followed by the legendary Nottingham Playhouse pantomime, which this Christmas was Beauty and The Beast.
Nottingham Playhouse believes that theatre should be accessible to everyone, even when its doors closed. Its Encore sessions created 2,240 engagements with over 50s in the past year and the Playhouse has continued to reach out to Nottingham’s communities, including those who are at risk of being isolated or marginalised. Its Amplify programme – which seeks to inspire and support theatre-makers from the East Midlands – also continued running with one-to-one sessions, panel discussions, open call outs and podcasts.
Nottingham Playhouse Trust Ltd relies on ticket sales for 70% of its income, and continues to fundraise through its Curtain Up appeal. It is a registered charity (no. 1109342).
Giles Croft (Director) was artistic director of Nottingham Playhouse from 1999 to 2017, following appointments with the Gate Theatre, London, the National Theatre and the Palace Theatre, Watford. Giles has directed more than 60 productions and his most recent include The Kite Runner, Any Means Necessary, Tony’s Last Tape, Arcadia, The Glass Menagerie, and The Cherry Orchard. He is also a playwright; his work has been produced widely in the UK and Europe.
Humaira Ghilzai (Cultural Consultant) has been working with notable professional theatres and artists for the past 10 years. Credits include the world premieres, US and UK tours of the adaptations of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns as well as The Kite Runner; Tony-winner J.T. Roger’s Blood and Gifts (La Jolla Playhouse); Kevin Artigue’s The Most Dangerous Highway in the World (Golden Thread); Gabriel Jason Dean’s Heartland (five theatres rolling world premiere); Slow Falling Birds (University of San Francisco); and Zealot (South Coast Repertory). Film credits: Merry Friggin Christmas and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and short film, Away and Together. Humaira is a speaker, writer, and producer.
Matthew Spangler (Adapter)
Matthew Spangler’s plays have been produced in the West End (at Wyndham’s Theatre and the Playhouse), off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatres, at the Arizona Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory The- atre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Play House, San José Repertory Theatre, New Repertory Theatre in Boston, Theatre Calgary, Dubai Opera House, Dublin Theatre Festival, Carthage Theatre Festival Tunisia, Avignon Theatre Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as well as at other theatres in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Israel, India, Pakistan, and Russia.
In addition to The Kite Runner, his plays include Albatross, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; Operation Ajax about the CIA coup in Iran in 1953; Striking Back about the Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike in Ireland; Tortilla Curtain from the novel by T.C. Boyle; The Story of Zahra from the novel by Hanan al-Shaykh; The Forgotten Empress about the Mughal Empress Noor Jahan; and Shady Hills from the short stories of John Cheever. Matthew is Professor of Performance Studies at San José State University in California, where he teaches courses in immigration studies and adaptation of literature for the stage. He holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Northwestern University. http://www.matthewspangler.org
Khaled Hosseini (Original Book Author)
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1980, after the Soviet invasion of his birthplace, Khaled and his family were granted political asylum in the U.S. Khaled studied medicine and practiced as a physician in California until 2004, after which he dedicated himself to writing. He is the author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and other books. He has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, since 2006. In 2008, he launched The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He lives in CA.