Next month, the Belgrade Theatre plays host to the thrilling new stage adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. Making its entrance onto the Belgrade’s Main Stage from Tues 22 – Sat 26 Feb, this will be the first time Dan Brown’s acclaimed novel is adapted for the stage.
Starring Olivier Award-winning Nigel Harman (Downton Abbey, EastEnders) as Professor Robert Langdon and Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf, Death in Paradise) as Sir Leigh Teabing, The Da Vinci Code sees newcomer Hannah Rose Canton making her UK theatre debut as Sophie Neveu.
The curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered, and alongside his body are a series of baffling codes. Follow the pulse-racing journey as Professor Robert Langdon and fellow cryptologist Sophie Neveu attempt to solve the riddles, leading to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and beyond, deep into the vault of history.
In a breathless race through the streets of Europe, Langdon and Neveu must decipher the labyrinthine code before a shocking historical secret is lost forever.
The Da Vinci Code is adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff (Flowers For Mrs Harris, Birdsong) and Duncan Abel (The Girl on the Train) and is directed by Luke Sheppard (& Juliet, What’s New Pussycat).
The creative team is completed by Set and Costume Designer David Woodhead, Video Designer Andrzej Goulding, Composers and Sound Designers Ben and Max Ringham and Lighting Designer Lizzie Powell.
Director, Luke Sheppard said: “Cracking The Da Vinci Code open for the stage reveals an epic thriller steeped in theatrical potential, rich in suspense and surprising at every turn. Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel’s brilliant adaptation leaps off the page and demands us to push the limits of our imagination, creating a production that champions dynamic theatrical storytelling and places the audience up close in the heat of this gripping mystery.”
Dan Brown said: “I am thrilled that The Da Vinci Code is being adapted for the stage, and excited to see the unique potential of live theatre enhance this story. The team making the production has been faithful to the book, but will also bring something new for the audience, in what is certain to be a gripping, fast-paced stage thriller and a thoroughly entertaining show.”
Tickets for The Da Vinci Code are available by phoning the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 (phone lines open 10:30am – 2pm, Mon – Sat), or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where tickets are even cheaper.
ABOUT THE BELGRADE
The Belgrade is Coventry’s largest professional theatre, producing and presenting a diverse range of shows, events and ground-breaking community and education initiatives. In its landmark building, across the region, the UK and online, it uses theatre to entertain, inspire, share the city’s stories, uncover hidden histories, and unleash the creativity of diverse communities.
After a year of partial closure due to the pandemic, Belgrade reopened to a socially distanced public in May 2021, determined to be open as much as possible during City of Culture, and moved into a non socially distanced programme in the autumn.
A key partner of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, the Belgrade Theatre’s 2021 programme has been led by three artists from diverse backgrounds, under the role of Co-Artistic Directors, alongside members of the local community. Corey Campbell, Balisha Karra and Justine Themen are developing a new vision and way of working for a 21st Century Theatre, bringing with them a unique perspective that celebrates Coventry’s diversity and drives positive change. The KEYS project aims to achieve a strategic shift to embed diversity, community collaboration and talent development at the heart of the theatre process.
In October 2021, Corey Campbell was appointed to the new post of Creative Director, focusing on the Theatre’s artistic output across both its professional and community areas, with Laura Elliot appointed as Chief Executive, responsible for overall strategy and to run the commercial side of the Belgrade. The new leadership team took up their posts at the beginning of January 2022.
BACKGROUND TO THE KEYS PROJECT
Outgoing Chief Executive and Artistic Director Hamish Glen’s original inspiration for this project came from Coventry’s Ira Aldridge story. Coventry has a reputation for offering both welcome and opportunity to all and in 1828 this spirit was captured when Aldridge, an African-American actor, travelled to England and was made manager of the Coventry Theatre. Not even 21 years of age, he became the country’s first theatre manager of colour at time when slavery was still widespread throughout the British Empire.
Ira Aldridge remains a key part of the City’s cultural heritage, but 150 years after his death there is still a distinct lack of diversity amongst the UK’s artistic leaders, despite the hugely diverse make-up of the UK.
Fired by Ira Aldridge’s legacy to the city, Hamish Glen “handed over the keys” of the Belgrade Theatre to the next generation of theatre-makers, and has allowed them the opportunity to do it their way in 2021.
The Belgrade’s City of Culture programme has included a festival of new writing in a co-production with Paines Plough in Paines Plough’s Roundabout, the world’s first plug-in, pop-up and play theatre, with four new plays performed in repertory from July to August. As part of UK Asian Film Festival in May the Belgrade Theatre hosted five film premieres, socially distanced in their B2 auditorium. The brand-new digital version of Like There’s No Tomorrowwas also produced in May, a National Theatre Connections play first created in 2020 that gives voice to young people’s climate concerns, presented by Belgrade Youth Theatre.
November saw the red carpet premiere of SeaView, an original digital series developed by Strictly Arts Theatre Company and Belgrade Film and Digital Ltd using theatre techniques, conceived before Covid-19 took the world of theatre online, and directed by Corey Campbell. Inspired by a true story, and lived experiences, SeaView is a supernatural drama centred on urban, working class communities in the Midlands.
Other 2021 highlights included the world premiere of This Little Relic by Karla Marie Sweet, a metaplay about producing Ira Aldridge’s The Black Doctor, as part of the BBC’s Contains Strong Language Festival, performed in front of a live audience in September at the Belgrade, and subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
In March 2022, The Belgrade will present the world premiere of Kerbs, a debut play from Michael Southan exploring taboos around sex, romance and disability, in association with Graeae Theatre Company.
Fighting Irish, a new Belgrade Theatre production by Coventry writer, Jamie McGough, premieres in April, and is the extraordinary, true story charting the rising and falling fortunes of the McGough brothers, and maps the journey of the Irish diaspora through one family’s story. Fighting Irish is co-directed by the Belgrade’s Creative Director, Corey Campbell, and former Artistic Director, Hamish Glen.