Season of work to reopen New Vic auditorium

Published: 16 September 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Unearthed, part of the New Vic Theatre’s Hoard Festival in 2015 Credit: Andrew Billington

Staffordshire's New Vic Theatre is to produce a season of work to reopen its newly refurbished auditorium and invite audiences safely back to performances.

Theresa Heskins, the Newcastle-under-Lyme venue’s artistic director, said, "the New Vic hasn't been closed over the summer—our education and outreach teams have been working hard to support our local communities during this challenging time.

“It feels very special now to be welcoming those communities back into the extraordinary New Vic building. Whether on stage, in the community or online, we've embraced the opportunity to think differently about the way we make and present work. It's been an unsettling year for everyone; with our Housewarming season, I'm hoping the New Vic can help spread a little joy this autumn.”

The Housewarming season will begin in the first week of October with Ghostlight, inspired by the theatre tradition of a light being left on in an empty auditorium to signal that audiences will return.

The light-and-sound installation will include a collage of voices from previous New Vic productions, celebrating the 'ghosts' of shows past and the thought of shows in the future. As audiences walk through the space, the installation will reveal the auditorium now that the theatre's major refurbishment project is complete.

Hoard: Rediscovered will digitally reimagine some of the pieces from the theatre-in-the-round's 2015 Staffordshire Hoard Festival.

“The story of the Staffordshire Hoard is such an important part of our national and local heritage,” said Heskins. “It’s changed our understanding of history and new discoveries have been made since 2015. This feels like the right time to reignite the magic provided by the Hoard, offering audiences nationally and locally an insight into the treasure's history and its impact on us today.

“I've updated our documentary-drama Unearthed and am looking forward to producing digital versions of the micro-plays which some of the country's most talented writers created for the New Vic during development at the National Theatre Studio.”

The New Vic’s Christmas production Beauty and the Beast has been put back by 12 months. Instead the theatre will present Coppelia: A Mystery, a promenade performance taking festive audiences on an intimate journey around the theatre.

“While I'm disappointed that we won't be able to bring Beauty and the Beast to life on stage this year, the experience of Christmas at the New Vic will be just as magical. Coppelia: A Mystery is a story about love and happiness which I think is what we all need a little of right now," Heskins added.

The dates for all three events will be released later.