Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Brassed Off gets in-the-round treatment at the New Vic

Published: 4 May 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Newcastle-under-Lyme’s New Vic Theatre is to stage what it says is the “world’s first in-the-round production” of the comedy-drama Brassed Off.

Adapted for the stage by Paul Allen in 1998 from Mark Herman’s BAFTA-nominated film, Brassed Off follows the troubles of a 1994 Yorkshire mining community whose pit is on the brink of closure. The colliery brass band has its sights firmly set on reaching the national brass band championships at the Royal Albert Hall.

As conversations turn to talk of picket lines and redundancy packages, the miners fall out of tune when flugelhorn-playing Gloria brings hope to the band and the town.

Director Conrad Nelson, whose Much Ado About Nothing—a co-production between the New Vic and Northern Broadsides—is on tour across the country, returns to the New Vic to direct this new production. It will feature music performed live on stage by Crewe’s TCTC Group Champion Brass Band.

Nelson brings together a cast of nine actor-musicians. Martin Barrass, who was Bob Stott in Les Smith and Martin Thomasson’s And Did Those Feet, an Octagon Theatre Bolton production in 2018, plays Danny.

Howard Chadwick, who played Bounderby in Deborah McAndrew’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Hard Times for Northern Broadsides in 2018, takes the role of Harry.

Susie Emmett, who was Susan in the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Derby Theatre and Salisbury Playhouse production of Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party in 2018, plays Sandra.

The rest of the cast comprises Andy Cresswell (Jim), Clara Darcy (Gloria), William Fox (Phil), Natasha Lewis (Vera), Nicolas Shaw (Andy) and Helen Sheals (Rita).

The cast will be joined by members of the New Vic’s community theatre company, drawn from the Staffordshire area in Brassed Off which runs from Saturday 1 until Saturday 22 June. Press night will be Tuesday 4 June.