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Interview – Director Abbey Wright on leading a 50-strong community company, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, Director led productions and more.

Abbey Wright – Director.

Would you be interested in interviewing the director Abbey Wright ?” they said.

“Yes that would be very nice,” I said.

The director in question is Abbey Wright who is currently in technical rehearsals for a new adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes Of Wrath.
Wright was Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse for 18 months from 2008-09, during which time she worked with such notable directors as Michael Grandage, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Herrin, Peter Gill, Sean Holmes, Jamie Lloyd and John Tiffany.
(‘FYI’ Abbey is currently Associate Director at the Nuffield.)
Oh and The Grapes of Wrath opens at the Nuffield Southampton Theatres Campus next week with opening night on 14 March and runs until 25 March. The production then tours each of the co-producing venues throughout 2017, apparently.
So, what is it all about, how is it working with a 50-strong community company and what are her thoughts on Director led productions? Well…

*Q&A*

Hi Abbey! How are The Grapes of Wrath rehearsals going?
Hi Carl! I am loving this project. It’s a wonderful company, a great team and an awe-inspiring piece to be working on.

How did you get into this Directing lark?
I directed a youth theatre first in Worcestershire where I am from. Then I trained as an actor. Then assisted at the Donmar and the National Theatre. Then just started to put plays on that interested me and kept going.

Steinbeck isn’t for wimps. ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ could make for a heavy night out, what can audiences expect from your production?
Yes, well, I can’t pretend it is light. But you can expect a moving story which speaks deeply to our world today; great ensemble acting from a top company; fantastic live music composed by Matt Regan; a contemporary or perhaps I should say mythic treatment of the story; a community company and brilliant design from Laura Hopkins and Nigel Edwards. Steinbeck is exploring a migration, dispossession and fragmentation but he is also making the case for love, family, connection, and the nurturing of the human spirit.

Would you agree that one of the biggest themes of the play is the way that solidarity, not politics or religion, see us through dark times?
Yes, sort of. I think that Steinbeck has the idea that there is ‘one big soul that everybody is a part of’. I think that idea works on lots of levels; spiritually, politically, socially. It is the unification of those levels that makes the politics of the play becomes ‘holy’ which is one of the great strengths and beauties of The Grapes of Wrath.

How have you integrated The Grapes of Wrath 50-strong community company made of up local residents (That sounds fun) into the production?
That’s a good question because we have just spent the day doing that! Mainly they will play the people who are staying at the 3 camps the Joads travel through in the second half. And it’s very exciting having that number of people onstage.

What are your thoughts on Director led theatre productions?
I don’t tend to categorise theatre shows in that way – more that I might see something and like it whether it was a ‘high-concept piece’ or a really simple piece. I guess I’m interested in something feeling live and I tend to be interested in theatre that explores fantasy? or the surreal? But that’s just a personal thing.

How important is it for Theatre’s to manage a balance between revivals and new work?
I think it’s important because it’s great to see as wide a range of stuff as possible.

Why are women still underrepresented at every level of the industry– and what needs to change?
Well, I think there are more women who are working as directors now. I am aware of a fair few. I think that men were in charge of things for thousands of years and women weren’t and that takes a long time to change culturally and psychologically. And that maybe we are still more comfortable with men in charge in some ways because it conforms to something traditional and we have to think twice before putting a woman in charge. Also, I think that we maybe just struggle with seeing people in charge who don’t exhibit traditional qualities of leadership. I hope and feel this is changing and am excited to see what this does.

Do you believe that honesty is always the best policy?
Yes. I mean, no.

Is there anything that you’d like to add?
All done.

Tickets are available from the Box Office 023 8067 1771 or online at nstheatres.co.uk

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Opening of Nuffield Southampton Theatres production of John Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes Of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

A brand new adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes Of Wrath opens for previews at Nuffield Southampton Theatres Campus on 6 March, with opening night following on 14 March and running until 25 March. The production will then tour each of the co-producing venues throughout 2017.

The play, adapted by Frank Galati, directed by Abbey Wright, and featuring original music from Matt Regan is a Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Nottingham Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production.

 NST Associate Abbey Wright directs a cast including Ben Bland (Connie), Daniel Booroff (Noah), Brendan Charleson (Casy), Charlie Folorunsho (Pa), Shiv Jalota (Al), Jim Kitson (Uncle John), Pamela Merrick (Granma/Elizabeth Sandry), Amy Molloy (Rose of Sharon), Harry Napier (as cast), Alexander Newland (Muley, Narrator, Vocalist), Heronimo Sehmi (Grampa), André Squire (Tom Joad) and Julia Swift (Ma), alongside a 50-strong community company made up of residents from Southampton.

Described as one of the greatest of the great American novels, The Grapes of Wrath.  Set during the height of the Great Depression, one family sets off from the American dust bowl on an epic journey driven as much by fear as by hope. They travel through Route 66 to California, the Promised Land, in search of work and a new life. The Grapes of Wrath is a towering testimony to the integrity, strength and perseverance of the human spirit.

Abbey Wright (Director) “The Grapes of Wrath is uncannily relevant to the world we find ourselves in today; increasing mechanisation, displacement of people, economic and environmental crisis. Across the world we have seen fear and hatred entering political discourse on immigration and identity. At the heart of The Grapes of Wrath is the need for community and love.  Steinbeck invites us to ask ourselves ‘Who is our family?’, ‘Who are our children?”. 

 Frank Galati won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play for his dramatisation of The Grapes of Wrath (he also won the Tony Award for Best Director).  Since this success with The Grapes of Wrath, Galati has gone on to adapt As I Lay Dying and Haruki Murakami’s After the Quake and original work, such as Everyman.  He was an associate director at the Goodman Theatre from 1986 to 2008 where his productions included She Always Said, Pablo, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum, Passion Play and The Winter’s Tale.  Galati and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan adapted the novel The Accidental Tourist for a film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The pair won a USC Scripter Award for the screenplay.

Brendan Charleson plays Casy. His theatre credits include Insignificance, The Herbal Bed, Under Milk Wood, The Aristocrats, Glengarry Glen Ross, Roots, Taming of The Shrew, Dancing At Lughnasa, Arden Of Faversham, The Suicide, Measure For Measure, The Two Princes, Brassed Off and To Kill A Mockingbird (all for Theatr Clwyd), Talent, Diana Of Dobson’s, Bus Stop (New Vic Stoke), The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Birmingham Rep) and The Accrington Pals (Manchester Royal Exchange).  His recent television work includes Trollied, Da Vinci’s Demons, Indian Doctor; and recent film work includes Killer Elite.

Charlie Folorunsho plays Pa. His theatre work includes The Trial (Young Vic), The Arrival (Tamasha), Satyagraha (Improbable Theatre and Metropolitan Opera House), Class Club (Barbican), Fermentation (Grid Iron), Peter Pan (Kensington Gardens), Slamdunk and African Cargo (Nitro), The Fireworkmakers’ Daughter and The Evocation of Papa Mas (Told By An Idiot), Timon of Athens and The Lower Depths (Cardboard Citizens), A Christmas Carol (Lyric Hammersmith), To Kill a Mockingbird and The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui (Mercury Theatre Colchester).

André Squire plays Tom Joad.  His theatre work includes Lonely Cowboy and The Refugee Boy (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Our Style is Legendary (Nottingham Playhouse).  For television his work includes The Vice, Jamie Johnson, West 10 Ldn; and for film, Bypass.

Julia Swift plays Ma.  Her theatre work includes Philadelphia Here I Come, Orpheus Descending (Donmar Warehouse), Suddenly Last Summer (Comedy Theatre), Broken Glass (National Theatre), Chekhov’s Women (Queen’s and Lyric Theatres), Revelations (Hampstead Theatre), Seduced (Finborough Theatre),Ambulance (Royal Court Theatre), Time and The Conways (Old Vic and tour), The Provok’d Wife (The Old Vic), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Broadway), Two Gentlemen of Verona, All’s Well That Ends Well and Electra (all RSC).  Her television work includes The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Broken Glass; and for film, Song of Songs.

 Abbey Wright is Associate Director at NST. Her directing credits include The Mountaintop, Diana of Dobson’s, Talent, Ghosts (all New Vic), The Cocktail Party (Print Room at the Coronet), The Mentalists (Old Vic Productions/Wyndham’s Theatre), The Father, Mrs Lowry & Song (Trafalgar Studios), Dublin Carol (Donmar Warehouse), Five Finger Exercise (Chichester Minerva), The Glass Supper (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), The Eisteddfod, Holiday (Bussey Building), The Occupied Times, Lakeboat, Prairie Du Chien (all Arcola Theatre), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre), Rose (Pleasance, Edinburgh), The Song of Deborah, Hidden Glory (Lowry Theatre), Confusions, Restoration Sketch Show (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Anne of The Thousand Days (Old Vic Productions/Michael McCabe) and The Ones That Flutter (Theatre503). She is the Artistic Director of tackroom theatre. She was Staff Director to Danny Boyle on Frankenstein at the National Theatre and the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse under Michael Grandage.

Tickets are available from the Box Office 023 8067 1771 or online at nstheatres.co.uk

LISTINGS INFORMATION:

The Grapes Of Wrath

Based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Adapted for the stage by Frank Galati

Music by Matt Regan

Directed by Abbey Wright; Designed by Laura Hopkins

Lighting Design by Nigel Edwards

Press Night: 14 March 2017

Dates: 6 March 2017 – 25 March 2017 (and then on UK tour)

Tickets: £10.00, £18.00, £22.00, £25.00

Suitable for ages 14+

TOUR DATES

Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Monday 6 – Saturday 25 March

Box office: 023 8067 1771

www.nstheatres.co.uk

Nottingham Playhouse

Tuesday 28 March – Saturday 8 April

Box office: 0115 941 9419

www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

 

Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Tuesday 9 May – Saturday 20 May

Box office: 01604 624 811

www.royalandderngate.co.uk

 

West Yorkshire Playhouse

24 May – Saturday 10 June

Box office: 0113 213 7700

www.wyp.org.uk

 

NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres: cast announced for Pygmalion

Pygmalion

 

Pygmalion

Pygmalion

‘The science of speech. That’s my profession. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.’

How far do accents define us? Is status still dictated by our mother tongue?

Sam Pritchard directs a radical new staging of Bernard Shaw’s acute comedy Pygmalion, a hilarious and poignant tale of two opposites, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, trying to find a common language.

Pygmalion is a co-production between Headlong, Nuffield Theatres Southampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse. It is touring the country and will at Nuffield Southampton Theatres from 15 April to 123 May 2017.

The full cast is Alex Beckett (Henry Higgins), Ian Burfield (Alfred Doolittle), Gavi Singh Chera (Freddy Eynsford Hill), Flaminia Cinque (Mrs Pearce/Mrs Eynsford-Hill), Natalie Gavin (Eliza Doolittle), Racheal Ofori (Clara Eynsford-Hill), Liza Sadovy (Mrs Higgins), Raphael Sowole (Colonel Pickering).

Shaw’s celebrated play was first staged over 100 years ago and is recognised as one of the most enduring and perceptive of comedies.  In this audacious new staging, Sam Pritchard playfully carves a contemporary world on stage using sound and video technology which examines class identity and questions how far accents and speech can define us in Britain today.

Sam Pritchard is the Associate Director (International) at the Royal Court and was winner of the JMK Award for Directors in 2012.  His credits include Anna (Aix Opera Festival/ENOA Workshop), There Has Possibly Been An Incident (Royal Exchange and Edinburgh St Stephens/Soho Theatre/Berlin Theatertreffen), Buy Nothing Day (Company of Angels), Fireface (Young Vic) and Galka Motalka (Royal Exchange).  He will be directing Guillermo Calderon’s play B for the Royal Court in September 2017.

Pygmalion continues Headlong’s progressive work with emerging directors, giving a director in the early stages of their career the opportunity to present work on main stages across the country. This programme has previously supported work from Simon Godwin, Natalie Abrahami, Robert Icke, Blanche McIntyre, Ben Kidd and Ellen McDougal.

Headlong has partnered with Nuffield Southampton Theatres on supporting emerging directors on several occasions, productions have included Romeo and Juliet in 2012 and The Seagull in 2013 and Spring Awakening in 2014.

 

Natalie Gavin plays Eliza.  Natalie is a well-known actress from stage and screen.  Her theatre credits include Mermaid (Shared Experience/Tour), Bracken Moor (Tricycle), The Crucible (Old Vic) and Shirley (Hope Mill Theatre).  Her many television roles include Jericho (ITV), The Syndicate (BBC), Prisoners Wives (BBC), The Chase (BBC) and Shameless (Channel 4). Film credits include HectorJasmine and The Arbor.

Alex Beckett plays Henry Higgins.  Alex’s stage credits include Edward II (National Theatre), Praxis Makes Perfect (National Theatre of Wales), The Changeling (Young Vic), Life for Beginners (Theatre 503), Here (Rose Theatre Kingston) and Much Ado About Nothing (Wyndhams Theatre). Television credits include Love Nina (BBC), Cuffs (BBC), WIA (BBC), I Live With Models (Comedy Central) and Twenty Twelve (BBC).  Radio credits includes Tracks on BBC Radio 4.

Liza Sadovy plays Mrs Higgins. Liza’s stage credits include Wicked (Apollo Theatre), Oliver (Sheffield Theatre), And Then The Dark (New Wolsey), A Separate Reality (Royal Court), Alice in Wonderland (Theatre Royal Northampton), La Bete (Comedy Theatre & Music Box Theatre NY), Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic), The Good Soul of Szechuan (Young Vic) and Sunday In the Park with George (Wyndham’s Theatre).  Television credits include BabylonThe Honourable WomanExtras, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Midsomer Murders.

Ian Burfield plays Alfred Doolittle.  Ian’s stage credits include Floyd Collins (Wilton Music Hall), Great Expectations (West Yorkshire Playhouse), All My Sons (Theatre Clwyd) Dealer’s Choice (Royal & Derngate/Oxford Playhouse), One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre), A Comedy of Errors (National Theatre), The Kitchen (NT) and Major Barbara (NT). Television credits include Holby City (BBC), Humans (Channel 4), Tennison (ITV) and Call the Midwife (BBC). Film credits include The Selfish GiantV is For VendettaThe Confession and The Krays.

Flaminia Cinque plays Mrs Pearce/Mrs Eynsford-Hill. Her stage credits include Martyr (Unicorn/ATC), The Winslow Boy (Octagon), Measure for Measure (Almeida), Portrait of a Lady (Peter Hall Company), Push Up (Royal Court) and More Grimm Tales (Young Vic).  Television credits include The Moonstone (BBC), New Tricks (BBC) and Ashes to Ashes (BBC).

Raphael Sowole plays Colonel Pickering. His stage credits include the title role in Hamlet for Black Theatre Live. Measure for Measure (Young Vic), The Calm (RSC), They Drink it in the Congo (Almeida), The Merchant of Venice (Almeida) and Tis Pity She’s A Whore (Cheek by Jowl).  Television credits include Black Mirror SpecialEdge of Heaven and Youngers. Film credits include Bastille Day and Starred Up.

Gavi Singh Chera plays Freddy Eynsford Hill. His stage credits include Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre) and We are Here (NT).

Racheal Ofori plays Clara Eynsford-Hill. Her stage credits include Romeo and Juliet (Kenneth Brannagh Company); This is Private Property (Camden People’s Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Portrait (Camden People’s Theatre and Tour).

LISTING AND TOUR INFORMATION

Saturday 4 to Saturday 25 February 2017

West Yorkshire Playhouse

Tickets: 0113 213 7700

www.wyp.org.uk

Tuesday 28 February to Friday 3 March 2017

Warwick Arts Centre

Tickets: 024 7652 4524

www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 March 2017

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Tickets: 0151 709 4776

www.everymanplayhouse.com

Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 March 2017

Leicester Curve Studio

Tickets: 0116 242 3595

www.curveonline.co.uk

Tuesday 28 March to Saturday 1st April 2017

Cheltenham, Everyman Theatre

Tickets: 01242 572573

www.everymantheatre.org.uk

Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 April 2017

Bath Theatre Royal

Tickets: 01225 448844

www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 April 2017

Oxford Playhouse

Tickets: 0186 530 5305
www.oxfordplayhouse.com

Tuesday 25 April to Saturday 13 May 2017

NST Campus, Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Tickets: 023 8067 1771

www.nstheatres.co.uk

 

Arthur Darvill on Fantastic Mr Fox: “It’s a perfect family show for all ages. I hope audiences take away melodies that they can sing on their way home.”

Arthur Darvill

Fantastic Mr Fox is adapted by Sam Holcroft, directed by Maria Aberg, and featuring original music from Arthur Darvill, had its world première at Nuffield Theatre last night and will be running until 8 January, before touring the UK in 2017 beginning at Lyric Hammersmith on 25 January.

Arthur Darvill

Arthur Darvill

Arthur Darvill is an actor and composer, best-known for his regular appearances as Rory in BBC TV’s Doctor Who and as Rev. Paul Coates on ITV’s Broadchurch. Darvill’s most recent theatre work as composer includes I Want My Hat Back (National Theatre), I Heart Peterborough (Eastern Angles), The Bacchae (English Touring Theatre), It’s About Time (Nabokov/Latitude), and Jack and The Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith). He won the Musical Theatre Matters Award for Been So Long (Young Vic/English Touring Theatre).

Here he answers some questions about the show. Let’s have a read shall we. Why not.

How did you first become involved with this stage production, and what made you want to come on board?
Maria (Aberg) the director called me and said would you like to write some music for Fantastic Mr Fox, I said absolutely!  She then said, it opens in November and this was in June, so it has been a fairly swift process but I am very glad she asked me.

Do you think Road Dahl’s writing is something that translates easily to the stage?
I don’t think anything translates easily to stage but I think his stories are so rich and full of brilliant well defined characters that it is a real joy to see these characters, especially those from Fantastic Mr Fox jump out of the book.

How does it feel to create music for something as well known and universally loved as a Road Dahl story?
It has been a real privilege to write music for this. It is a pinch yourself moment. When re reading the book I thought I love this book but I don’t know if I can do this, which I think is a good reaction to have.  Throughout the writing process, it has been about honouring what Dahl wrote and making sure the music tells the story in the best we can tell it.

Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox. Click on the image to book your tickets

Were you a fan of the book ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ growing up?
I am a massive Roald Dahl fan. He was basically my introduction to reading . I remember reading Fox  in my cabin bed that I had growing up in Birmingham. I read it in one go, in one night and just absolutely loved it. It had a drastic impact on the way my world was shaped. Dahl made the most disgusting things in life seem like the most joyous. He also had a great sense of justice, which can only be a good thing.

Tell us about your process for composing the music?
I don’t know if I have a process. I had a clear idea in my head what I wanted it to sound like but that kind of changed and thankfully a lot of the pressure was removed when I was working with the team on the lyrics. They knew exactly what needed to happen and have write with such a good sense of humour.

What did you want to capture about the story and its characters in the music?
There are a definite group of characters In Fantastic Mr Fox; humans and animals. I wanted to give them both a very different sound to start with and as the story develops, these sounds slightly cross over depending on what is happening. The farmers have a dirty earthly English sound and the animals are freer. Mr Fox is arrogant at times and Mouse sings about cheese, which is very sweet.

What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
It’s a perfect family show for all ages.  I hope audiences take away melodies that they can sing on their way home. This show is so much fun and the right people get their comeuppance. It is not black and white. You will go home discussing the moral content of the story whilst laughing at the jokes.

Whats your favourite song in the show and why?
I can’t choose one song. I’m very pleased with how the Farmers song (Foxy Feeling) has turned out but they are all good.

Audiences will recognise you from your acting roles in Broadchurch and Doctor Who, but they might not realise that you are also an established composer. Is juggling both careers a challenge?
It is a challenge but a joyous challenge. I couldn’t just do one or the other, I have to do both. I have a fun job and I would never complain about it.

What’s coming up next for you?
I am currently in Legends of Tomorrow and will hopefully write some more music.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR FANTASTIC MR FOX

 World première of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox to open Wednesday 30 November

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox
Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox

Nuffield Southampton Theatres & Curve

in association with Lyric Hammersmith present

FANTASTIC MR FOX

Written by Roald Dahl

Adapted for the stage by Sam Holcroft

Music by Arthur Darvill

Lyrics by Al Muriel with Darren Clark, Arthur Darvill & Sam Holcroft

Directed by Maria Aberg; Designed by Tom Scutt

Lighting Design by Lee Curran; Sound Design by Claire Windsor

Movement Direction by Ayse Tashkiran

Musical Direction by Richie Hart

A brand new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic Fantastic Mr Fox receives its world première at NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres where it opens on 30 November, with previews from 22 November, running until 8 January, before touring the UK in 2017 beginning at Lyric Hammersmith on 25 January.

The play, adapted by Sam Holcroft, directed by Maria Aberg, and featuring original music from Arthur Darvill is a Nuffield Southampton Theatres production with Curve, in association with Lyric Hammersmith.

Greg Barnett plays Mr Fox, with Richard Atwill (Rat/Bean), Raphael Bushay (Badger/Boggis), Jade Croot (Kit), Sandy Foster (Rabbit), Lillie Flynn (Mrs Fox), Gruffudd Glyn (Mole/Bunce), Kelly Jackson (Mouse), and Edward Hole and Tanya Shields completing the ensemble, alongside actor-musicians, Patrick Burbridge, Anna Fordham and Richie Hart.

“You know as well as I do: no-one outfoxes a fox!”

Boggis, Bunce and Bean, three greedy, smelly, horrid farmers hate the cunning Mr Fox.

Mr Fox is smart, clever and rather fantastic, but he doesn’t realise how determined the farmers are to get revenge. Can he hatch a plan to save his family and friends? Can they outrun the diggers and outsmart the farmers, and can rabbit shut up long enough not to give the game away?

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox is family fun at its finest. A juicy tale of greed, pride and the power of friendship, this flagship production for the Roald Dahl centenary celebrations, promises a dahlicious theatrical feast with live music and songs and gloriumptious designs. A wondercrump treat for the whole family!

Sam Holcroft’s most recent play, Rules For Living, premièred at the National Theatre in 2015. She was the Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio from 2013-14 and was the Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Traverse Theatre in 2009-10. In 2014 she was a recipient of the Windham Campbell Prize for Literature in the Drama category and in 2009 she won the Tom Erhardt Award for up and coming writers. Her other plays include The WardrobeEdgar And AnnabelDancing BearsWhile You LiePinkVanya and Cockroach.  She is currently under commission from the Royal Court Theatre.

Richard Atwill plays Rat and Bean.  His theatre credits include Macbeth, Eugene Ionesco’s Macbett (RSC), God in Ruins (RSC/Soho Theatre), Potted Potter(Broadway), The Changing Room (Royal Court Theatre), The Adventure (Pleasance/Manchester Royal Exchange/Watford Palace Theatre), Unscorched, Captain Oates’ Left Sock, iWitness, Beating Heart Cadaver (Finborough Theatre), The Roman Bath (Arcola/National Theatre, Bulgaria), Beyond The Pale (Southwark Playhouse) and Roots and The Light of Heart (Theatre Cymru).  For television his work includes Shakespeare Live and Horrible Histories; and for film, Risen and Bill.

 Raphael Bushay plays Badger and Boggis.  He graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2014. His credits include Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).

 Greg Barnett plays Mr Fox.  His theatre credits include This Little Life of Mine and Therèse Raquin (Park Theatre), These Trees Are Made of Blood (Southwark Playhouse), Making a Scene (National Theatre), The School for Scandal (Theatre Royal Bath), Swallows and Amazons (Vaudeville Theatre and UK tour), Spend Spend Spend (Watermill and UK tour), Zorro (Garrick Theatre), Peter Pan (Birmingham Rep), Twelfth Night (Royal and Derngate) and Sweeney Todd (UK tour). His work for television includes Fleabag and Undercover; and for film, Hot Property, Bonobo and The Road to Nirvana.

 Jade Croot plays Kit.  Her theatre credits include Doctor Faustus (RSC and Barbican). Her film work includes The Machine.

 Lillie Flynn plays Mrs Fox.  Her theatre credits include Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre, Hampstead Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre), Love Story (Duchess Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre), Quadrophenia (UK tour), The Spirit of Broadway (China tour) and The War Of The Worlds (UK tour).

 Sandy Foster plays Rabbit.  Her theatre credits include Days of SignificanceOppenheimerA Shoemaker’s Holiday (RSC), Desire Under the Elms (Lyric Hammersmith), Much Ado About Nothing (Manchester Royal Exchange), A Streetcar Named Desire (Curve) and Twelfth Night (Filter Theatre).  Her television work includes The Dumping GroundThe Kerry and Lu Show and Call the Midwife; and for film, Mr Turner, ToshiMuse of Fire and What You Will.

Gruffudd Glyn plays Mole and Bunce.  His theatre credits include Three Sisters (Young Vic), American TradeThe Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, The Grain Store, Julius Caesar, Young People’s Hamlet (RSC), Brave New World (Royal and Derngate and UK tour) and After the End (Sherman Theatre).  His television work includesDr WhoPoldark, StellaGwaith/Cartref, Hinterland/Y Gwyll; and for film, The MartianThe Theory of Everything and Thor: The Dark World.

Kelly Jackson plays Mouse. Her theatre credits include Sweet Charity (Millennium Performing Arts), RENT (The Obie Theatre), Wildlife (Bloomsbury Theatre) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Paul Holman Associates, The Broadway Theatre).

Maria Aberg directs.  Her directing work includes, for the RSC Dr Faustus (also Barbican), The White Devil, As You Like It, King John, The Gods Weep, Days of SignificanceHotel (National Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Chairs (Theatre Royal Bath) and Alaska (Royal Court). She has also directed at Hampstead Theatre and Trafalgar Studios.  Forthcoming directing projects include The Great Gatsby (Royal & Derngate and Birmingham Rep) and The Winter’s Tale (Romateatern, Sweden).

Arthur Darvill is an actor and composer, best-known for his regular appearances as Rory in BBC TV’s Doctor Who and as Rev. Paul Coates on ITV’s Broadchurch. Darvill’s most recent theatre work as composer includes I Want My Hat Back (National Theatre), I Heart Peterborough (Eastern Angles), The Bacchae (English Touring Theatre), It’s About Time (Nabokov/Latitude), and Jack and The Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith). He won the Musical Theatre Matters Award for Been So Long (Young Vic/English Touring Theatre).

Tickets are available from the Box Office 023 8067 1771 or online at nstheatres.co.uk

Wanted! Southampton residents for community company as part of new theatre production

The Grapes of Wrath

NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres are looking for local people to join a new community company to perform on the stage in a brand new production of The Grapes of Wrath at NST Campus next spring.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

Residents, ages 16plus, from across Southampton are being encouraged to take part in John Steinbeck’s epic The Grapes of Wrath, the story of a migrant family who undertake an epic journey in search of work and a new life.  Directed by Abbey Wright, this new production will be given a contemporary twist and alongside the main characters there will be a live band playing throughout and a 50 strong community ensemble.

Abbey Wright, Associate Director at NST said, “We would really like a true representation from all areas of our community in Southampton. Previous theatre or drama skills are not required at all, just enthusiasm and a willingness to turn up regularly to rehearsals and be part of the team.

 I urge people to come along, so anyone who is tempted should not think twice. It will be an extremely friendly inclusive team and a great chance to work with top-class theatre professionals to play a vital role in developing and performing in a new production.”

 The Grapes of Wrath headlines the new season at NST running from 6 -25 March at NST Campus in Southampton. This Pulitzer Prize-winning book, adapted by Frank Galati is a co-production with Nottingham PlayhouseRoyal & DerngateNorthampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

For more information about joining the Grapes of Wrath community company, contact: [email protected] or call 023 8031 5500 ext. 227.

Listings

The Grapes of Wrath

Presented by NST, Nottingham Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse

Adapted by Frank Galati

Based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Directed by Abbey Wright                                                              
Dates:
 6 – 25 March 2017

Tickets: £10, £18, £22 & £25

A new production of the epic novel about a family’s story of survival, unity and community.

 

Nuffield Southampton Theatres opens door to new city centre venue

NST City

Sam Hodges, Director of NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres has announced today that the doors will be opened to preview Southampton’s new arts venue in the north building of Studio 144 through a series of special Preview Tours over the next couple of months.  Nuffield has recently re-branded to NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres in recognition of the addition of this new venue.

NST City

NST City

The new venue, NST City, is due to open for its first major production in autumn 2017. Work is currently ongoing to fit out the new venue which will include a flexible 447 seat main house theatre, a 135 seat studio, screening facilities, rehearsal, workshop spaces and café bar.  The Preview Tours of NST City will take place on Wednesday 16th November and Tuesday 13th December from 6pm and Saturday 14 January 2017 every half hour starting at 10am. The tour sessions will include an opportunity to discuss the community’s use of this new venue with Director Sam Hodges.  This discussion is open to all regardless of attending the tour. The tours are the first in a programme of engagement activity planned by the Studio 144 partners over the coming months that will introduce audiences to the new venue, its people and programmes.

Sam Hodges, Director of NST said, “I am very excited to be offering a preview opportunity to the people who matter most –the people of Southampton.  This is their venue and that relationship starts now.  NST City will transform our ability to engage a diverse community from the region and support the burgeoning cultural ecology of the city.  This will be a place where artists and audiences mingle; a place where we can celebrate not only theatre, but also dance, film, music and spoken word”

NST City is part of Studio 144; the new £25m arts venue that forms the heart of Southampton’s cultural quarter. Studio 144 opens in 2017, bringing two world-class arts organisations; Nuffield Theatres Southampton and the John Hansard Gallery, into the heart of the city centre for the first time, together with media and film specialists City Eye.

Studio 144 aspires to be a new cultural hub and social space for all of Southampton, as well as being a ‘making place’, producing and commissioning new and innovative work that receives attention nationally and internationally.  The new facility will bring outstanding cultural experiences, opportunities and economic benefits to the whole of Southampton, unlocking its creative potential.

The Preview Tours are free and can be booked online at nstheatres.co.uk or by calling 023 8067 1771.  Places on the tours are limited so advance booking is recommended.

LISTINGS:

Preview Tours of NST City – New venue

Dates & Times: Wed 16th November and Tuesday 13th December 6pm & 6.30pm and Saturday 14th January every half hour from 10am – 1pm 2017

www.nstheatres.co.uk Box office: 023 8067 1771

Twitter: @nstheatres  Facebook: /nstheatres

Tickets: FREE

 

 

Nuffield Southampton Theatres announces Spring Season

Fantastic Mr Fox
Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox

With rehearsals underway for the brand new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, Director Sam Hodges today announces the Spring 2017 season for the newly re-branded NSTNuffield Southampton Theatres.  The name change recognises the addition of a brand-new venue in the heart of Southampton which opens in autumn 2017.

Headlining the Spring season is a new production of John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati and directed by NST Associate Director Abbey Wright.  The co-production with Nottingham Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse runs in Southampton from 6 – 25 March.

This is followed by Sam Pritchard’s production of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion which comes to NST from 25 April, in a co-production with Headlong and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Alongside the in-house productions are two NST Youth Theatre shows – Consensual by Evan Placey andThe Monstrum by Kellie Smith, both directed by Max Lindsay, and a wide range of touring theatre including Greyscale Theatre and Northern Stage’s Dr FrankensteinThe Woman in Black, and two David Wood family show adaptations, Roald Dahl’s The Twits presented by Curve and Rose Theatre Kingston and Babe, The Sheep Pig produced by Tom O’Connell Productions and Polka Theatre.  For a full list of productions visit www.nstheatres.co.uk

Along with its three co-producers on The Grapes of Wrath, Nottingham Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse, NST today also announces a series of initiatives in support of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant communities in each city. These include a combination of free ticket schemes, workshops to overcome language barriers, and performance opportunities. At NST, Now-here will be a series of performances from the unheard voices of Southampton.

Sam Hodges said today, “The world we live in has never felt so volatile and uncertain. At home, recent events have left a country divided and with no coherent sense of self. Abroad, people are being displaced from their home on an unprecedented scale.

This is a season which goes to the heart of community and seeks a voice within a world which doesn’t listen. It is a season about the voices of Southampton.

John Steinbeck’s epic drama The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati, is the story of a migrant family, looking first to the state and then to each other, for solace and strength and hope. Our Associate Director Abbey Wright will direct a bold new production, infused with live music and featuring an ensemble made up of Southampton residents.

Bernard Shaw’s searing comedy Pygmalion is the hilarious and poignant tale of two opposites, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, trying to find a common language. Supported with dramaturgy by NST Associate Dramaturg Adam Brace, director Sam Pritchard teams up with radical sound designers The Ringham Brothers to put Southampton’s diverse range of voices at the heart of the production.

And Now-here is the start of an important dialogue with our city’s often invisible and ignored voices.”

 

Nuffield Southampton Theatres 2017 Spring Season – The New Productions

The Grapes of Wrath

 

NST Youth Theatre production

CONSENSUAL

Written by Evan Placey

Directed by Max Lindsay

 19 – 21  Jan

A return for celebrated playwright and University of Southampton Creative Fellow Evan Placey with his latest explosive play exploring the lines we cross when impulses betray us.

NST Youth Theatre production

THE MONSTRUM

Written by Kellie Smith

Directed by Max Lindsay

 27 – 28 March

The Monstrum is NST Youth Theatre’s studio performance for the National Theatre Connections Festival 2017. This new play is a mischievous gothic horror in the style of Mel Brooks’ classic Young Frankenstein and looks at how young people turn in to monsters at a “certain age”!

Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Nottingham Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse production

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Adapted by Frank Galati

Directed by Abbey Wright

6 – 25 March

Press night: 14 March 7pm

‘One of the greatest of the great American novels.’

The Guardian 100 Best Novels of All Time. 

‘A majestic adaptation… makes Steinbeck live for a new generation.’ The New York Times

‘A pack of lies.’ The Associated Farmers of California

The American dust bowl. The height of the Great Depression. One family begins an epic journey, driven as much by fear as by hope. Route 66 to California, the Promised Land. In search of work. A new life.

This vital new production from NST Associate Director Abbey Wright features a community chorus with live music from Matt Regan (Greater Belfast).

Frank Galati won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play for his dramatisation of The Grapes of Wrath (he also won the Tony Award for Best Director).  Since this success with The Grapes of Wrath, Galati has gone on to adapt As I Lay Dying and Haruki Murakami’s After the Quake and original work, such as Everyman.  He was an associate director at the Goodman Theatre from 1986 to 2008 where his productions included She Always SaidPabloA Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the ForumPassion Play and The Winter’s Tale.  Galati and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan adapted the novel The Accidental Tourist for a film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The pair won a USC Scripter Award for the screenplay.

Abbey Wright is Associate Director at NST. Her directing credits include The MountaintopDiana of Dobson’sTalentGhosts (all New Vic), The Cocktail Party (Print Room at the Coronet), The Mentalists (Old Vic Productions/Wyndham’s Theatre), The FatherMrs Lowry & Song (Trafalgar Studios), Dublin Carol(Donmar Warehouse), Five Finger Exercise (Chichester Minerva), The Glass Supper (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), The EisteddfodHoliday (Bussey Building), The Occupied TimesLakeboatPrairie Du Chien(all Arcola), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre), Rose (Pleasance, Edinburgh), The Song of DeborahHidden Glory (both Lowry Theatre), ConfusionsRestoration Sketch Show (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), Anne of The Thousand Days (Old Vic Productions/Michael McCabe) and The Ones That Flutter (Theatre 503). She is the Artistic Director of tackroom theatre. She was Staff Director to Danny Boyle on Frankenstein at the National Theatre and the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse under Michael Grandage.

 TOUR DATES

Nottingham Playhouse

Tuesday 28th March 2017 – Saturday 8th April

Box office: 0115 941 9419

www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

Royal & Derngate, Northampton 

Tuesday 9th May – Saturday 20th May

Box office: 01604 624 811

www.royalandderngate.co.uk

 West Yorkshire Playhouse

23rd May – Saturday 10th June

Box office: 0113 213 7700

www.wyp.org.uk

NOW-HERE

10 – 13 April

 Performances from the unheard voices of Southampton – its refugees, asylum seekers and migrant communities –  on NST’s main stage.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Headlong and West Yorkshire Playhouse present

PYGMALION

By Bernard Shaw

Directed by Sam Pritchard; Designed by Alex Lowde; Sound Design by Ben and Max Ringham; Consultant Dramaturgy by Adam Brace

25 April – 13 May

Press night: Weds 8 February at West Yorkshire Playhouse 

One flower girl. Two experts. Free lessons. Six months. Duchess required.

Over one hundred years after it was written, a radical new co-production explores one of the most celebrated comedies of the 20th Century, Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

“The science of speech. That’s my profession. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.”

Witness the transformation of Eliza Doolittle in a world where we can be digitally altered within seconds. Through video and sound technology, director Sam Pritchard’s fearless new staging interrogates class identity and social mobility in Britain today and asks us – how much do our voices still define who we are?

The play will open to press in Leeds and then travel to Warwick, Leicester, Cheltenham, Bath, Keswick, Oxford, finishing at NST, Southampton. More dates to be announced.

Sam Pritchard is the Associate Director (International) at the Royal Court and was winner of the JMK Award for Directors in 2012.  His credits include Anna (Aix Opera Festival/ENOA Workshop), There Has Possibly Been An Incident (Royal Exchange and Edinburgh St Stephens/Soho Theatre/Berlin Theatertreffen), Buy Nothing Day (Company of Angels), Fireface (Young Vic) and Galka Motalka (Royal Exchange).