New Perspectives takes double bill to Edinburgh

Steve Orme

Nottingham-based New Perspectives has put the family at the heart of its 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival programming.

The touring theatre company, which specialises in new writing and adaptions of celebrated literature, will present the world première of Jane Upton’s autobiographical play Finding Nana and the first stage adaptation of the children’s book The Giant Jam Sandwich.

Finding Nana recalls the summers of Jane Upton’s youth during which she and her grandmother would share the same room in the same hotel in the same Isle of Wight seaside resort for the same two weeks every year. That was until grandmother started to lose her memory.

Flitting between childhood and old age, Finding Nana charts the journey of the grandmother who died in 2011 while suffering from dementia. Directed by Katie Posner, it features Nottingham actor Phoebe Frances Brown.

Upton said, “Finding Nana has been in the making for a while and so I’m over the moon that it’ll get its première at the Edinburgh Fringe. This play has a piece of my heart in it. It’s a tale of love and loss and what it means to live and think, and the crippling fear of forgetting.

“It’s a tribute to that specific and amazing relationship you can only really share with a beloved grandparent. I’m so happy and grateful to share our story to which I'm sure many people will relate.”

New Perspectives artistic director Jack McNamara’s adaptation of Derbyshire-born author John Vernon Lord’s The Giant Jam Sandwich toured venues in England after its première at the Guildhall Theatre, Derby in February 2017.

The production “evokes the vivid brilliance of the original illustrations while expanding the story with songs by James Atherton and a host of new characters”.

McNamara said, “when we saw the excited reactions that children and parents had to this production on tour we knew we had to bring it to Edinburgh. It literally had audiences buzzing and it has a real festival energy about it.

“It’s a perfect introduction to theatre for young audiences and has enough humour to keep adults entertained too. The works we’re taking to Edinburgh are a snapshot of the very best of what we offer: quality, small-scale theatre which is rooted in local communities and for audiences of all ages.”

Finding Nana will be performed at Pleasance Beside from 2 until 28 August at 3:30PM. The Giant Jam Sandwich will be staged at Pleasance Above also from 2 until 28 August at 10:20AM.