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NEWS: Exciting spring summer 2024 season announced

6 October 2023

New announcements include:

  • A world premiere by award-winning writer James Graham, Punch, based on the true-life story of Nottingham teenager Jacob Dunne
  • Max Webster (Life of Pi) directs a new stage play of Minority Report, written by David Haig, in a co-production with Birmingham Rep and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in association with Simon Friend Entertainment, by arrangement with Electric Shepherd Productions
  • Lucy Kirkwood’s gripping tale of generational choices around nuclear power, The Children, is directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward and an industry symposium on sustainable theatre-making will be hosted alongside the production
  • Liberation Squares is a co-production with Fifth Word, a story of three teenage Muslim girls undergoing a political awakening, written by Sonali Bhattacharyya
  • The Nottingham Playhouse community production returns with The Trials by Dawn King, featuring a cast of local young people alongside professional actors in this dystopian tale
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini comes home to Nottingham Playhouse as part of a UK-wide tour after it’s Broadway run

The new programme was announced at a special event for Members, which included updates on Nottingham Playhouse’s commitment to reducing energy usage and their carbon footprint, their ambitious sustainability goals and the unveiling of a new ‘green’ logo which will help communicate their commitment to aiming for Net Zero carbon emissions.

Punch is a world premiere by award-winning writer James Graham, one of Britain’s most celebrated writers whose work (Dear England, National Theatre, Sherwood and Quiz) has won several Olivier Awards, alongside BAFTA, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations. The play is based on the true-life story of Nottingham teenager Jacob Dunne whose fatal actions lead to an incredible story of the power of forgiveness and restorative justice. Directed by Adam Penford, Punch asks important questions about toxic masculinity, class and our education system.

Jacob Dunne commented:

“It is incredible to be working with local playwright, James Graham, for a production at Nottingham Playhouse, where I enjoyed many memorable nights at the pantomime as a boy. ‘Punch’, unlike the panto, explores our often oversimplified understanding of a villain through a medium that redeemed me – dialogue. 

My desire? To see you rolling into Nottingham Playhouse … like the mist from the Trent.”

A brand-new stage adaptation of the thrilling Minority Report, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, is adapted by renowned writer and actor David Haig (My Boy Jack, The Good Samaritan). This is a co-production with Birmingham Rep, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in association with Simon Friend Entertainment, producers of the globally successful Life of Pi, and its award-winning director Max Webster, by arrangement with Electric Shepherd Productions. This thought-provoking play questions our ideas of justice and the power of choice and will create a world of breathtaking visuals and immersive storytelling.

David Haig commented:

It’s been the most exciting challenge of my career: to write a futuristic thriller for the stage, based on one of the greatest sci-fi stories ever told.”

Previously announced, Lucy Kirkwood’s intimate portrait of relationships contrasted against the epic consequences of their previous choices, The Children, is directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward (Manic Street Creature, Edinburgh Fringe transferring to Southwark Playhouse October 23, Moonlight & Magnolias, Nottingham Playhouse). Hazel and Robin are nuclear physicists, living out their retirement on the east coast. When old friend Rose visits, her shocking proposal threatens their entire future. All three are forced to confront how their life choices have affected each other, as well as future generations.

The Children will be produced to Theatre Green Book standards, a set of standards for creating productions sustainably, including that 50% of materials should have had a previous life and 65% of materials should be reused or recycled afterwards. An industry symposium on Sustainable Productions: Making Theatre in the Climate Crisis will take place on Thursday 4 April, ensuring that knowledge gained by the Nottingham Playhouse team through their Green Book productions is shared and passed on.

Kirsty Patrick-Ward commented:

I am thrilled to be returning to Nottingham Playhouse – especially to direct a play that is as pertinent, insightful, witty and moving as The Children. Lucy Kirkwood is one of our Nation’s finest living playwrights and for me, her talents are exemplified in this extraordinary play. It asks the most difficult questions of our time with arresting honesty, humour and empathy. I look forward to exploring its indelible characters and bringing their precarious world to life both dynamically and sustainably with my incredible creative team.”

In development for Spring 2024 is Liberation Squares by Sonali Bhattacharyya, dates to be confirmed soon. In a co-production with the bold Fifth Word Theatre company, based in Derby, this is a story of three teenage British Muslim girls, whose adolescence is as complex, infuriating and joyous as any other teenagers, but with the added complications of Islamophobia and cultural erasure.

Sonali Bhattacharyya, writer of Liberation Squares, said:

“The development of Liberation Squares has included a fantastic programme called See Me, run by an East Midlands based graphic novelist and illustrator and a group of teenage Muslim girls in the region. Early drafts of the play were informed by discussions on Zoom, during the pandemic, about their experiences and their feedback on the characters, world and story of the show.

We can’t wait to bring Liberation Squares to audiences and are thrilled to be working with the team at Nottingham Playhouse on this.”

Nottingham Playhouse is delighted to stage The Trials, a challenging story of personal responsibility and climate crisis. This co-production with Mansfield Palace Theatre will empower young people from Nottingham and Mansfield to play the role of the jury as a community cast, alongside three professional actors. In a future when air has become unbreathable, three adult defendants fight to clear their names. Called to account as the generation responsible for the climate crisis, they are judged by a Jury of 12 teenagers – those paying the price for the actions of their elders.

Adam Penford, Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse, said:

“This is a challenging time for theatre, but Nottingham Playhouse is meeting that challenge head-on by continuing our commitment to staging bold new work and attracting the most dynamic theatre-makers to collaborate with us.

“Nottinghamshire born James Graham – one of the best writers in the world – returns to his home city to tell Jacob Dunne’s heart wrenching and transformative story in a world premiere. The team behind the hit Life of Pi bring their creative talents to tell the transfixing, futuristic tale of Minority Report – watch them stage the unstageable. The Children and The Trials both consider the vitally important impact our decisions have on the world we live in, through the lens of two different generations. And acclaimed rising playwright, Sonali Bhattacharyya, explores adolescence and identity in Liberation Squares.”

All productions are now on general sale.


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