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‘It was the first play I commissioned when I arrived’ How First Touch came to Nottingham Playhouse

28 April 2022

The journey of a new play from page to stage is not always straightforward. First Touch has been four years in the making – Artistic Director Adam Penford gives an an insight into what it took to get the the play here, and what it means for us to finally open the show.

‘I’m so excited that First Touch is finally hitting the stage after a two year pandemic delay.’

‘It was the first play I commissioned when I arrived as Artistic Director. I’d worked with the writer, Nathaniel, when he was training at the National Film and Television School and was excited by his immense talent and unique voice. Nat has a background in football, having played as a young man and worked at FIFA, and we spoke about the harrowing historic abuse in the game between coaches and young players.’

‘We journeyed to Preston to meet abuse survivor and campaigner, David Lean, and sat in a pub near the train station whilst David told his powerful and humbling story. We also met psychologists and mental health professionals who work with abusers. After talking to David, we knew it was important to write a central character, Clayton, with all the potential and passion of a teenager footballer, in order to capture why so many millions are in love with the beautiful game.’

‘The play has taken four years to develop and been through many drafts in order to do justice to those who spoke to us. Whilst the play does touch on serious themes, it’s a funny, warm and moving play about a working class family from Nottingham, and a young man with a dream. I hope the audience will have a good night out and fall in love with this close knit family.’

Adam Penford

Artistic Director, Nottingham Playhouse



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