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NEWS: New productions announced for Christmas 22 and Spring 23

27 June 2022

  • World premiere of Christy Lefteri’s gripping best-selling novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo adapted by Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler

  • A co-production between Nottingham Playhouse, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the disability led company Ramps on the Moon – the premiere of Samson Hawkins’s Village Idiot commissioned by Nottingham Playhouse

  • A brand new version of children’s classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Anna Wheatley, perfect for little ones aged 3-8 and their grown-ups

As Nottingham Playhouse launches its new brochure for the late summer and autumn 2022 to early Spring 2023, today it reveals that its first production for 2023 will be the world premiere of Christy Lefteri’s gripping best-selling novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo adapted by Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler (who adapted Nottingham Playhouse’s international sell-out success The Kite Runner, which opens on Broadway this Summer).  The production will be directed by Olivier Award winning Miranda Cromwell (Death of a Salesman – Young Vic, Piccadilly Theatre and opening on Broadway in September).

The Beekeeper of Aleppo will be followed by the premiere of a Nottingham Playhouse co-production with Theatre Royal Stratford East and Ramps on The Moon, Village Idiot by Samson Hawkins and is preceded by the late summer and autumn 2022 season which comprises the world premiere of  the musical adaptation of Erik Kästner’s novel The Parent Trap, Identical, Adrian Scarborough’s adaptation of The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett starring  Sophie Thompson and Scarborough, Sheffield Theatres and Ramps on The Moon’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, the new production and regional premiere of recent National Theatre hit Nine Night and the eagerly awaited Nottingham Playhouse Christmas season, comprising the pantomime Dick Whittington and the younger children’s show Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Running from 3 to 25 February 2023, The Beekeeper of Aleppo tells the story of Nuri, a beekeeper; and his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. On their terrifying journey, they must face the pain of their own unbearable loss alongside incredible danger. Above all, they must journey to find each other again. This compassionate and beautiful play is a story of connection – between friends, families and strangers.

Christy Lefteri’s novel was the Winner of the Aspen Words Award, Runner up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and one of The Times top three bestselling books of 2020. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is produced in association with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and UK Productions Ltd.

A co-production between Nottingham Playhouse, Theatre Royal Stratford and the disability led company Ramps on the Moon heralds the spring with the premiere of Samson Hawkins’s Village Idiot, which runs from 11 to 25 March 2023.

Townies have decided they want a lie in, so they’re building a new high-speed railway. Issue is, it’s going right through Barbara Honeybone’s house, and she ‘ent having none of it. Barbara’s grandson Peter works for the townies and it’s his job to convince the village that having a 2-tonne bullet hurtling through the cabbage patches will actually be for the best. Then there’s Harry, Barbara’s younger grandson, he ‘ent that bothered about trains, he’s only got eyes for Debbie Mahoney. But the only thing Barbara hates more than townies is the Mahoneys.  Welcome to Syresham, South Northamptonshire. It’s not quite the Cotswolds, but it does have Syresham’s Got Talent, the headline event of the village fair. There’ll be songs, dancing, magic, drag, a bit of wrestling, and Kevin’s doing a meat raffle (vegetarian option two tins of Strongbow).

Village Idiot is a raucous comedy, where family feuds kick-off as a country fair gets into full swing.

Nottingham Playhouse Artistic Director Adam Penford says – 

These are two brilliant productions to kick off our 2023 season. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a moving and timely testament to the resilence of the human spirit and above all, love. Based on the stunning novel, the award-winning team behind our hit production, The Kite Runner, bring this new adaptation to the stage. At the helm is one of theatre’s most exciting directors, Miranda Cromwell, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to the Playhouse for the first time. This is followed by local writer, Samson Hawkin’s, main stage debut. We’ve been developing Village Idiot with Samson for five years now. It’s a brutally funny look at small town life – irreverent, witty and brilliant.

The previously announced work, which covers the period of late summer to Christmas, begins with the eagerly awaited new musical adaptation of Erik Kästner’s novel The Parent Trap, Identical, which runs from 26 July to 14 August.   This twin-sational world stage musical premiere tells the classic story of twin girls separated at birth, reunited by chance at a summer camp ten years later. In an attempt to get to know their parents and reconcile the two halves of their family, they decide to swap places and live each other’s lives. 

Identical is directed by Olivier and Tony award-winning Trevor Nunn, who is responsible for some of the greatest hits in the world (Les MiserablesStarlight ExpressCats and Sunset Boulevard). Music and lyrics are by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the multi award-winning writers of the West End hit Honk!, who also created a new score for the international smash-hit Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins, and a book by Stuart Paterson.

As the summer holidays end and the schools return, the treats continue with Adrian Scarborough’s adaptation of an Alan Bennett novella.  From 9 September to 1 October 2022, Nottingham Playhouse is delighted to present the dream team of Olivier winners with Sophie Thompson joining Scarborough in The Clothes They Stood Up In, packed full of Bennett’s trademark panache, wit and verbal dexterity.

A night at the opera ends with a shock for mild-mannered couple Maurice and Rosemary Ransome when they open their front door to discover their flat completely empty. From light bulbs to carpets to toilet paper, even their chicken casserole has been stolen. As they attempt to unravel what has happened and without their worldly posessions, they are forced to examine their lives and their relationship and are confronted with some uncomfortable truths.  Should they rebuild their old life, or begin afresh?  The Clothes They Stood Up In is a bittersweet exploration of marriage, dreams and lives unlived.  Adrian Scarborough’s adaptation brings Bennett’s hilarious story to the stage for the first time.

Following this story of love reassessed comes one of unexpected love. Sheffield Theatres and Ramps on The Moon’s production of Much Ado About Nothing runs from 11 to 15 October 2022. Featuring the use of integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning, this innovative production of Shakespeare’s raucous comedy tells the story of besotted young couple Claudio and Hero, who have fallen fast and are quickly engaged. But not everyone finds the path to true love quite so direct – Benedick balks at the very thought of it and Beatrice agrees with him, on that if nothing else. But somewhere in this world, there’s someone for everyone, even if they’re right under your nose.

Next up, comes an explosive contemporary comedy with the regional premiere production of Olivier nominated and Critics Circle winner Nine Night by Natasha Gordon and co-produced with Leeds Playhouse, which runs from 19 October to 5 November 2022. When Gloria’s time comes, her family celebrate their revered mother with the traditional Jamaican Nine Night Wake – a touching yet testing multi-generational gathering packed with music, food, laughter and tears. Holding a mirror up to family life – and loss – reflecting the heartfelt comedy and deep sorrow that occurs when they gather together to share memories, good food and grievances older than Gloria’s well-loved dining table.  Nine Night poses the question, how do we remember the people we love?

When it transferred to The Trafalgar Studios in 2018, the original National Theatre production made Natasha Gordon the first black, British, female playwright to have her work produced in the West End.  Nine Night is an inherently funny and intensely moving, family celebration of life.

Rounding off the year comes the Nottingham Playhouse pantomime, Dick Whittington, running from 25 November to January 14.  So pack up your hanky and join the plucky hero and his trusty cat on their quest for fame and fortune. Their magical rags to riches tale takes us to London, where the streets are paved with gold, on to the High Seas, into battle with the evil King Rat and falling head over heels in love with his boss’s daughter Alice. All the while the magical Bow Bells are whispering Dick Whittington’s destiny – to become Mayor of London! Packed with the trademark dazzling dance,  brilliant live music and swashbuckling adventure, the show sees Nottingham’s favourite panto dame John Elkington serving up some comedy chaos as Sarah the Cook.

Alongside Dick Whittington, running from 8 to 31 December is Nottingham Playhouse’s annual Christmas show for younger audiences, which this year is Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Audiences are taken on a trip into the woods alongside our fair haired heroine as she discovers a cosy little cottage hidden behind the trees.  Inside she makes herself at home, helping herself to delicious porridge and snuggling up into a little bed that is ‘just right’.  But she’s in for the shock of her life as her slumbers are disturbed when the occupants return.  This heartwarming version of a classic tale is ‘just right’ for little ones aged 3-8 and their grown-ups. Teddys get in free but real life bears are strictly prohibited.

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