Penford reveals first season at Nottingham Playhouse

Steve Orme

Adam Penford has announced that his first season since becoming artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse will include Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III featuring Mark Gatiss.

Penford who has taken over from Giles Croft has unveiled eight productions for the theatre’s main stage, a new play for the Neville Studio and a series of measures to support artist development and new writing.

His first production as artistic director will be Beth Steel’s Wonderland which takes a look at the events of the 1984-85 miners’ strike. It will run from Friday 9 until Saturday 24 February 2018.

It will be followed by Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, a co-production with Ramps on the Moon, an organisation that integrates disabled and non-disabled performers. The play will feature audio description, captioning and British Sign Language. It will run from Friday 9 until Saturday 24 March.

Based on his award-winning novel, Louis Sachar’s family show Holes will provide a “quirky adventure” for Easter from Saturday 31 March until Sunday 22 April.

Up next will be the world première of Shebeen by Nottingham writer Mufaro Makubika that involves a forbidden party in 1958 St Ann’s, a Nottingham suburb, under threat from the police (Friday 1 to Saturday 16 June).

The autumn season will include an “ultra-stylish” new production of the hit Broadway musical Sweet Charity, directed by Bill Buckhurst and featuring choreography by Alistair David (Friday 31 August to Saturday 22 September).

Diane Samuels’s Kindertransport, which tells the story of a child refugee sent to England in the months leading up to World War II, will take to the main stage from Friday 5 until Saturday 20 October.

The culmination of the autumn programme will be The Madness of George III with Olivier Award-winner Mark Gatiss (Friday 2 until Saturday 17 November).

Penford’s first year is rounded off with Kenneth Alan Taylor’s panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.

The first Neville Studio production under Penford’s tenure will be Lava by James Fritz, co-produced with the theatre’s associate artists Fifth Word.

The commitment to new writing involves a reinvigorated artist development programme Amplify, designed to provide opportunities to help artists through their career. There will be advice surgeries, workshops and feedback on performances.

Penford is also on the hunt for home-grown acting talent. He said, “we’re immensely proud that Nottinghamshire has produced and is home to a huge number of talented actors. As we begin a fresh chapter, we’re looking to expand our casting pool for future projects by meeting local talent.”

Further details can be found at the Nottingham Playhouse web site.