New Perspectives releases Rudkin play cycle

Published: 15 June 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Michael Pennington recording Nemeton
Juliet Stevenson and Toby Jones recording Grim’s Ditch

East Midlands theatre company New Perspectives is to release PlacePrints, an audio cycle of short plays written by David Rudkin which have been recorded over the past four years.

New Perspectives artistic director Jack McNamara directs a cast including Josie Lawrence, Toby Jones, Stephen Rea, Juliet Stevenson and Michael Pennington. Each piece will be accompanied by a short film shot on location by Grammy-nominated filmmaker Grant Gee.

McNamara said, “each of these 10 audio plays is a masterpiece of place-writing. David Rudkin has an extremely rare gift: to be able to see the landscape as a series of temporal layers and to acutely feel the often overlooked tension between past and present.

“He’s one of the most daring and rigorous dramatic writers our country has produced. These works are deep dives into a landscape we thought we knew. With Rudkin as our guide we see, hear and feel things that have long been hidden from public view. The sheer creative and cultural ambition of his PlacePrints cycle is astonishing.”

Michael Pennington can be heard on Nemeton in which an obscure path in West Cornwall guides people through its vegetation to a remote pagan site.

Toby Jones, Juliet Stevenson and Jack Wilkinson have recorded Grim's Ditch, a homage to ghost writer M R James with a twist. It is set in North Wessex, between Newbury and Marlborough, with ancient earthwork telling us herself of the destructive psychological revenge she wreaks on an arrogant academic who takes her name in vain.

Ray Castleton, Charlotte Cornwell, Hayley Doherty, Jack Wilkinson and Anthony Wise have recorded Here We Stay, set in Eyam in 1665 when the inhabitants of the North Derbyshire village quarantine themselves to prevent the plague spreading.

Rudkin has worked with some of the UK’s top organisations, actors and directors including Peter Hall, Patrick Stewart and Lindsay Duncan. He previously worked with New Perspectives on The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock which premièred at Curve, Leicester before transferring to New York.

The series is available free from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify from Monday 15 June. Further details can be found at the New Perspectives web site.