New Perspectives announces rural tour of Bean play

Steve Orme

East Midlands-based touring theatre company New Perspectives is to stage the first national rural tour of Richard Bean’s family saga Harvest.

For the first time in the play’s history, Harvest will be performed by a cast of six at rural venues in villages across the country. It is the biggest rural tour mounted by New Perspectives since The Hired Man by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall in 2008/2009.

Writer Richard Bean also penned One Man, Two Guvnors. Harvest was first performed at the Royal Court in September 2005 and was produced at Hull Truck in 2007.

New Perspectives artistic director Jack McNamara who directs said, “we really wanted to invest in giving rural audiences a really meaty ensemble drama. It’s a bigger cast than usual but also a huge narrative that spans 100 years of family history. It’s very exciting to take this play about the rural world far from its Royal Court origins back into the kinds of communities that first inspired it.”

Harvest, a “darkly entertaining comedy”, tells the story of a family's survival “in a changing agricultural landscape in a blend of serious social history and boisterous rural drama”.

It follows the Harrison family from the turn of the 20th century when two brothers unwittingly win a wager to become owners of the 82-acre Kilham Wold Farm.

Heading the cast will be newcomer and recent RADA graduate Tom Edward-Kane, fresh from filming with Mike Leigh’s new film Peterloo. The cast also includes John Askew as Lord Agar and Elizabeth Twells as Laura, both actors returning to the company after performances in the New Perspectives and Nottingham Playhouse co-production of John Harvey’s crime drama Darkness, Darkness in 2016. They are joined by Thomas Cotran as Albert, Zoe Iqbal as Maude and Matthew Brown as Stefan.

The production is designed by Amy Jane Cook, with lighting by Alexandra Stafford and sound by James Atherton.

The tour opens at the Bonington Theatre, Arnold on Friday and Saturday, 22 and 23 September to coincide with the Harvest Equinox. A tour of venues in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Surrey and Northumberland follows until Saturday 11 November. Full details are available at the New Perspectives web site.