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Nottingham Playhouse Unlocked Announces Casting and New Commissions

1 October 2020

Pearl Mackie and Jessica Raine are set to star in Bubble By James Graham, whilst local Talent LaPelle’s Factory and Wayward Thread are announced as double winners of Nottingham Playhouse’s writing commission.

Nottingham Playhouse today announces further details of its Unlocked Festival this autumn.  The festival, which sees the theatre raise its curtain for the first time since March, features a rich array of both live and live-streamed work with a programme that features world class performers, East Midlands talent, specially commissioned productions and work in progress.

This Summer, in preparation for the temporary reopening, a call was issued for a new piece of work by an East Midlands artist/s or company.  Following fifty-seven submissions, a lengthy judging process took place and today the winning entries can be revealed.  Such was the high quality of the work submitted, the judges decided to award two commissions instead of one.  These are Hand Me Down by hip-hop dance company Leicester based Wayward Thread and Shuck by Nottingham based theatre company LaPelle’s Factory.

Both very different works: Hand Me Down uses dance and spoken word to tell the story of three friends on opposite sides of British identity who are pulled apart in an increasingly aggressive debate about race, whilst Shuck combines fun with fear to tell the haunting and terrifyingly true tale of a demonic dog that has affected the identity of writer Olwen Davies’s rural East Anglian community for hundreds of years.

Adam Penford – Nottingham Playhouse Artistic Director says –

We’re so excited to be announcing not one, but two new commissions as part of our Unlocked festival. The response to our callout by local artists was overwhelming. The panel found the breadth of ideas and level of creativity in the applications inspiring, and we could have selected a great many to take forward. Ultimately, we struggled to decide between the shortlist and I’m delighted we were able to offer a second opportunity, particularly at this time of hardship for freelancers.

In addition to the announcement of the commissions, Nottingham Playhouse can also reveal the casting for the world premiere of acclaimed playwright, James Graham’s new work Bubble. Pearl Mackie, who is best known for playing Bill Potts opposite Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who, will join forces with Jessica Raine, who played Jennie Lee in Call The Midwife, to star in this study of love in the time of Covid, in a comic play that gives two alternative versions of a relationship coming under the stresses and strains of lockdown.

Nottingham Playhouse’s Unlocked Festival is a celebration of live performance with its focus firmly on the future.  In addition to the new commissions and James Graham’s new play the line-up for the three week festival includes West End stars Rosalie Craig, Sandra Marvin and Jodie Prenger with a programme of songs that made their careers, East Midlands based writer Naomi Obeng’s new work about mixed race identity and Mark Gatiss and Jade Anouka reading ghost stories on Halloween. Each of the talents featured has a particular relationship with Nottingham Playhouse and each are excited about bringing live performance back to the main stage.

With social distancing measures in place a strictly limited number of tickets will be available to attend the live events held in the theatre auditorium to ensure that a safe environment is created for audiences and performers alike.  All the events will also be streamed live for audiences to attend virtually who are not able to attend in person.

The following performances will be BSL interpreted for in-venue audiences:

  • Rootless Island Baby: Wednesday 21 October, 7.30pm
  • Bubble: Saturday 24 October, 2.30pm
  • Major Labia: Tuesday 27 October, 7.30pm
  • A Double Bill of New Work by East Midlands Talent: Wednesday 28 October, 7.30pm
  • Shuck – LaPelle’s Factory: Thursday 29 October, 7.30pm
  • Ghost Stories: Saturday 31 October, 2.30pm
  • Wayward Thread: Tuesday 3 November, 7.30pm
  • WOLF: Wednesday 4 November, 7.30pm
  • Rosalie, Sandra and Jodie: Live in Concert: Saturday 7 November, 2.30pm

The following performances will be captioned and audio described for livestream audiences:

  • Rootless Island Baby: Wednesday 21 October, 7.30pm
  • Bubble: Saturday 24 October, 2.30pm
  • Ghost Stories: Saturday 31 October, 2.30pm

The following performance will be captioned for livestream audiences:

  • WOLF: Wednesday 4 November, 7.30pm

For more details of the full programme, or to book, click here.

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