Nottingham Playhouse spring season revealed

Published: 16 October 2018
Reporter: Steve Orme

Nottingham Playhouse artistic director Adam Penford has announced his spring season for 2019, which includes four main stage productions and a different take on the theatre’s approach to working with associate artists.

Penford’s second season at the Playhouse includes four varied main stage shows: a revival, an adaptation of a family novel, a modern classic and a regional première.

He said, “the intention is to build on some of the ideas we introduced this year while continuing to explore new approaches. I hope to keep the work fresh and innovative, challenging the artists we collaborate with to be bolder and more inventive.

“I’m excited by our plans for the first half of the year. We’ve confirmed directors for all four shows too, including the return of Matthew Xia who directed Mufaro Makubika’s Shebeen for us earlier this year and two of the most innovative directors in the industry at the moment, Lisa Blair and Adele Thomas.”

As previously announced, the first production of 2019 will be the return of Beth Steel’s Wonderland, a play that takes a look at the events of the 1984-85 miners’ strike. It will run from 8 until 23 February.

The Playhouse will then produce David Almond’s adaption of his own modern novel Skellig which follows the story of a 12-year-old boy whose younger sister is born prematurely. With his parents focusing much of their attention on the newborn, Michael is left to explore the family home and discovers a creature in the garage. Lisa Blair directs the production which runs from 22 March until 7 April.

Next in the 2019 season will be Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water (3 until 18 May), a comedy drama directed by Adele Thomas. The story follows three estranged sisters who return to their childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral.

Completing the spring line-up is the regional première of American play One Night in Miami… by Kemp Powers. Matthew Xia directs the production in which the role of soul singer Sam Cooke will be played by Matt Henry. It will run from 7 until 22 June.

The Playhouse has appointed three new associate artists, Matthew Xia and playwrights James Graham and Amanda Whittington.

Penford said, “I’m over the moon that James, Amanda and Matthew have agreed to join us. Not only are they three of the most acclaimed theatre practitioners working in UK theatre, both James and Amanda also hail from the region.

“They bring with them a variety of skills, experiences and interests and will act as a diverse sounding board, ensuring Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic decisions are truly representative.

“In 2019 we’ll also be continuing our focus on local artist development through our programme Amplify, which acts as a springboard for East Midlands theatre-makers looking to develop their professional careers.”