Southampton’s new theatre opens with the world première of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, today announced the inaugural production at NST City – the world première of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory . Hodges’ production opens on 15 February, with previews from 7 February, and runs until 3 March. Further programming for the opening season at NST City will be announced shortly.

Autumn 1940. The Battle of Britain rages in the skies. Southampton is home to our only hope of victory: the Spitfire. But when the Luftwaffe drops 2,300 bombs in three devastating raids, the city goes up in flames and the Woolston Supermarine Spitfire factory is destroyed.  From the ashes, a story of chaos, courage and community spirit emerges.

This spectacular world premiere will open Southampton’s brand-new theatre, NST City, conceived by NST’s director Samuel Hodges and 59 Productions, the Tony Award-winning artists behind the video design of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Director Samuel Hodges said today, “I first heard about this story months after starting this job and was immediately struck by its significance. Not just for what it says about Southampton’s past, but as an example of what the future can be. We famously live in a particularly segregated country right now – and our political leaders do nothing to reassure us that cohesion and empathy will be at the forefront.

“This story is both epic in its power and impact, but also incredibly human – it’s about individuals coming together, overcoming personal bias and mistrust, to achieve something great on their own terms.

“Working with Howard, who has proven himself time and time again to be the master of this style, is an honour and a great statement of intent for this new theatre at the heart of Southampton’s fast-rising cultural quarter.”

Howard Brenton commented, “The creation of the shadow factories is an inspiring story from a frightening time, something for Southampton to celebrate.

“We may be uncertain about what is going to happen in the next few years.  But our present anxiety pales beside the dire straits the townspeople found themselves in during the September of 1940.  Their lives were torn apart – German bombing raids above, on the ground their work places requisitioned by the ruthless Ministry of Aircraft Production.

“But people responded with a mixture of courage, bloody-mindedness, anger and humour.  They made sacrifices, improvised – and six weeks after the big factory’s destruction Spitfires were being made in small places all over the town.

“I’ve written characters across the generations, with scenes in Government bunkers, the town and partying on the Common as bombs fall.  It was an extraordinary display of common determination.   If chaos returns to Britain, we should remember its example.”

Alongside the production, the company will mount The Shadow Factory Exhibition, giving audiences the opportunity to step into the stories behind The Shadow Factory in an installation featuring the visually stunning moving set designed by 59 Productions.

NST City is part of Studio 144, Southampton’s new £28M city centre arts venue situated in the heart of the city centre. This new venue will include a flexible 450 seat main house theatre, a 135 seat studio, screening facilities, rehearsal, workshop spaces and bar and restaurant managed by Southampton ‘s 2017 Business of the Year winner, Mettricks. NST City will transform NST’s ability to show high quality professional work from local, national and international artists and allow the programme to include dance, film and music.  The bar and restaurant, Tyrrell’s, will be themed on the 1950s former department store Tyrrell & Green which occupied the same site. NST will run the new city centre venue alongside its existing theatre on the University of Southampton’s Highfield Campus.

Howard Brenton has written over 50 plays. His most recent credits include Paul (National Theatre), In Extremis(Shakespeare’s Globe and tour retitled Eternal Love), Never So Good (National Theatre), Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare’s Globe, plus revival and tour, winner of the Whatsonstage Best Play Award and UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production), 55 Days (Hampstead Theatre), #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (Hampstead Theatre), The Guffin (one act play, NT Connections), Drawing The Line (Hampstead Theatre), Doctor Scroggy’s War (Shakespeare’s Globe), Ransomed(one act play, Salisbury Playhouse), Lawrence After Arabia (Hampstead Theatre) and The Blinding Light (Jermyn Street Theatre). Versions of classics include The Life of Galileo and Danton’s Death (National Theatre) and Goethe’s Faust(RSC). Other adaptations include The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Liverpool Everyman and Chichester Festival Theatre) and Dances Of Death (Gate Theatre). His version of Strindberg’s Miss Julie is playing at The Theatre By The Lake, Keswick and will come to The Jermyn Street Theatre in November. For television, he wrote 13 episodes of the first four series of the BBC Television Drama Spooks (winner of the BAFTA Best Television Drama Series 2003).

Samuel Hodges is Director and CEO of Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST). His productions for NST includesDedication – Shakespeare and Southampton, following The Glass Menagerie in 2015. Previously he founded the HighTide Festival Theatre in 2007 and was the Artistic Director for five years, during which time he produced over 25 new plays, co-producing with the National Theatre, The Old Vic and the Bush Theatre, amongst others. Between 2012 and 2014, he ran the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End, for whom he curated a late-night programme and a one-off summer season of new work to celebrate the London Olympics.

59 Productions is the multi award-winning company of artists behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and War Horse, the design and creative direction of the record-breaking David Bowie isexhibition, and video design of Christopher Wheeldon’s celebrated stage adaptation of An American in Paris (Tony Award in 2015). Led by directors Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer, Lysander Ashton and Richard Slaney, 59 Productions are world-leading specialists in design for stage and live events. They are the go-to team for generating creative and technical ideas to realise ambitious artistic projects across a range of disciplines: from architectural projection mapping to exhibition design, VR experiences to events, theatrical design to technical consultancy. In 2017, 59 Productions began producing its own theatrical work, opening its first full scale production, Paul Auster’s City of Glass (HOME, Manchester, Lyric, Hammersmith).  Current and upcoming projects also include, Oslo (Lincoln Center & National Theatre), The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Santa Fe Opera), Marnie (The Met Opera & ENO), Reflections (a four-day projection-mapping event to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) and A Perfect Harmony (specially-commissioned as the centrepiece of the weekend-long celebrations for the re-opening of Washington’s Freer|Sackler museums in October 2017).

Studio 144, Southampton’s ambitious new venue for theatre, visual art and film brings two world-class arts organisations – Nuffield Southampton Theatres and John Hansard Gallery, part of the University of Southampton – into the heart of the city centre for the first time, together with media and film specialists City Eye.



 The Shadow Factory                                                                                                                                       Listings

Studio 144, Above Bar, Southampton SO14 7DU

Box Office: 023 8067 1771 /

Monday – Friday10am – 6pm

Saturday10am – 4pm


16 Feb -2 Mar 11am -4pm (excluding matinee performance days and Sundays)

Step into the stories behind The Shadow Factory in this installation featuring the visually stunning moving set designed by 59 Productions, the Tony Award-winning design team behind the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. FREE


Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) is one of the UK’s leading professional theatre companies.  The Company is led by Samuel Hodges, supported by a team of associates: directors Blanche McIntyre, Natalie Abrahami, Michael Longhurst designer Tom Scutt and playwright Adam Brace, and develops and produces work with some of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic regional theatres.  NST won ‘Regional Theatre of the Year’ at The Stage Awards 2015 & Best Design UK Theatre 2015 (The Hudsucker Proxy).

Nuffield Southampton Theatres is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity, receiving additional core funding from the University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council.


In 1940, with the nation’s future hanging in the balance, men and women toiled 17 and 18 hours a day in Southampton to produce desperately needed Spitfire fighters. In September the Supermarine factory at Woolston was heavily bombed. Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production, immediately ordered a complete dispersal of the entire Supermarine works with many local garages and large store premises being requisitioned to help continue production.

Today Southampton City College’s Marine Skills Centre occupies most of the former Woolston Supermarine Works.


Studio 144 is led by Southampton City Council and has been supported by Arts Council England through their National Lottery-funded Capital programme, alongside the University of Southampton and Southampton Cultural Development Trust.  The project was born of the partners’ belief in the power of the arts to transform people, places and communities, and an understanding that cultural infrastructure capital is an important part of this.

The opening of Studio 144 is a high-profile addition to Southampton’s cultural scene and will be a keystone in the city’s tourism offer. The arts venue will employ around 100 staff, have a joint annual turnover of over £5 million, and will attract around 350,000 people a year. It is estimated that the development will drive an additional £21 million of visitor spend in the city each year.


Nuffield Southampton Theatres announces Autumn Season

Samuel Hodges
Samuel Hodges

Samuel Hodges

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Sam Hodges, today announced NST Campus’ Autumn season, featuring a varied programme of high quality touring work including West End hits People, Places & Things and Hetty Feather. The season is announced as NST moves closer to the opening of NST City, their newly acquired theatre in Southampton’s city centre arts venue.

The Autumn season presents work from some of the UK’s best touring theatre companies opening with 1927’s Golem by Suzanne Andrade, which incorporates handmade animation, claymation and live music, opening 12 September.

This is followed by Graeae’s hit punk rock musical, Reasons to be Cheerful, a gritty coming of age tale featuring hits from Ian Dury and the Blockheads. All performances include captioned dialogue, BSL-interpreted songs and audio description.

 In October Bristol Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton present a new version of Harold Pinter’s classic, The Caretaker, directed by Christopher Haydon; following this is Fuel’s adaptation of the infamous coastal myth, The Hartlepool Monkey, created by Gyre & Gimble.

 Opening at NST on 7 November is Headlong’s critically-acclaimed People, Places and Things, written by Duncan Macmillan and directed by Jeremy Herrin, the production premièred in 2015 at the National Theatre ahead of a sell-out West End run.

 Also in November, Frantic Assembly and State Theatre Company South Australia present Andrew Bovell’s Things I Know To Be True, co-directed by Scott Graham and Geordie Brookman.

 Concluding the season is Rose Theatre Kingston’s Olivier Award nominated production of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather. This West End hit directed by Sally Cookson opens at NST this December for a 7 week Christmas run.

 Director of NST, Sam Hodges, said today, “This autumn, as we get closer to moving into our new theatre in the heart of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter; NST City, we feel excited to build the reputation of NST Campus as a home for the country’s most important and innovative touring theatre companies. What better way to signal this, than welcoming Headlong, Frantic Assembly, 1927, Fuel and Graeae.”

 A 1927, Salzburg Festival, Theatre de la Ville Paris & Young Vic co-production presents


Written and directed by Suzanne Andrade

 Film, animation and design by Paul Barritt

 12 – 16 September

 The danger lies not in machine becoming more like man but in man becoming more like machine.

Like a giant graphic novel burst into life, 1927 invites you to take a step through the looking glass into a dark and fantastical tale of an extraordinary ordinary man.

 Blending 1927’s synthesis of handmade animation, claymation, live music and performance Golem is a dystopian fable for the twenty first century, which cleverly and satirically explores one of the great questions of the modern world – who or what is in control of our technologies?

 Golem is the follow up to 1927’s hit international shows The Animals and Children took to the Streets and The Magic Flute(created in collaboration with Komische Opera Berlin).

 A Graeae Theatre Company production in association with the Belgrade Theatre


Book by Paul Sirett

Music by Ian Dury & the Blockheads

Directed by Jenny Sealey

 26 – 30 September

 It’s 1979: Labour loses to the Tories, strikes rock the nation. Ultimate fans, Vinnie and his mates would do anything to see Dury at the Hammersmith Odeon, only the gig is sold out. One night of frustration becomes something else entirely…

Featuring Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ greatest hits including ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll,’ ‘Sweet Gene Vincent,’ ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ and ‘Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick.’

 A punk rock musical and gritty coming of age tale, which leaves audiences shouting for more.

All performances include captioned dialogue, BSL-interpreted songs and audio description.

 Recommended 14+

A Bristol Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton co-production


By Harold Pinter

Directed by Christopher Haydon

 10 – 14 October

 Aston welcomes the homeless Davies into his dilapidated flat, sheltering him from the violence of the streets. Recognising an opportunity, Davies attempts to leave his past behind and start afresh. But what is he being offered? Friendship? Shelter? A job? Or a home?

 Harold Pinter‘s 20th century masterpiece explores everyone’s search for a sense of belonging in a world where the line between truth and reality is constantly in flux.

Directed by Christopher Haydon (Grounded, Twelve Angry Men), this bold new production sets the paranoia of living in an ever-changing landscape against our own politically and culturally uncertain times.

Produced by Fuel in association with Stratford Circus Arts Centre


By Gyre & Gimble

 Written by Carl Grose

 31 October – 1 November

 An adventure story for sea dogs, landlubbers, children and adults alike.

 A French ship runs aground off the coast of England. Only a cabin girl and the ship’s mascot, a chimpanzee, survive. But the townsfolk mistake the monkey, in its military uniform, for a spy, and condemn him to a life-or-death trial. What will the verdict be?

 The legend of The Hartlepool Monkey has survived the test of time, capturing the imagination of people of all ages for over 200 years. A boisterous crew tell this timely tale through spirited sea shanties and mischievous puppetry from Gyre & Gimble (War Horse, Running Wild).

 Recommended 10+

A Headlong, National Theatre, HOME and Exeter Northcott co-production


By Duncan Macmillan

 Directed by Jeremy Herrin

 7 – 11 November

 An intoxicating play about surviving in the modern world.

 Emma was having the time of her life. Now she’s in rehab.

 Her first step is to admit that she has a problem. But the problem isn’t with Emma, it’s with everything else. She needs to tell the truth. But she’s smart enough to know that there’s no such thing. When intoxication feels like the only way to survive the modern world, how can she ever sober up?

 People, Places & Things is now on tour following a critically-acclaimed, sold-out season at the National Theatre and in London’s West End.


 A Frantic Assembly and State Theatre Company South Australia production


By Andrew Bovell

 Co-directed by Scott Graham and Geordie Brookman

 14 – 18 November

 As beautifully touching as it is funny and bold, Things I Know To Be True tells the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations.

 Bob and Fran have worked their fingers to the bone and with their children ready to fly the nest, it might be time to relax and enjoy the roses. But the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths.

 Featuring Frantic Assembly’s celebrated physicality (Othello), Things I Know To Be True is a complex and intense study of the mechanics of a family that is both heartbreakingly poetic and brutally frank.

 Recommended 14+            

Nuffield Southampton Theatres in association with Kenny Wax, William Archer and Novel Theatre present a Rose Theatre Kingston Production


By Jacqueline Wilson

 Adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves

Directed by Sally Cookson

 21 November 2017 – 7 January 2018

 With beautiful storytelling, spectacular circus skills, original songs and live music, this critically acclaimed five-star production is set to be the perfect family treat this Christmas.

 Hetty Feather is set in Victorian London and tells the story of an orphan, born in 1876 who is left by her mother at the Foundling Hospital for abandoned children. This strict Victorian institution can’t contain Hetty and she sets off on daring adventures including running away to the circus. Huge-hearted and headstrong, she’s a great heroine, searching for her true home and the identity of her real mother.

 The critically acclaimed 2016 touring company will return. Hetty Feather is played by Pheobe Thomas, known for BBC’s Holby City and directed by Sally Cookson (Peter Pan and Jane Eyre, National Theatre, Stick Man, Scamp Theatre and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Kenny Wax Family Entertainment).

From best-selling children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, this Rose Theatre Kingston production in association with Kenny Wax, William Archer and Novel Theatre, this Christmas brings thrillingly to life on stage, the adventure of plucky Hetty Feather at NST Campus.

Shh…Bang! a new dance-theatre show for young children comes to Southampton


Shh…Bang! a delicate and playful dance-theatre performance for children and their adults comes to Nuffield Southampton Theatres on 12 June.

Shh…Bang! follows two characters on a journey through a world filled with Boings, Whooshes, Tick-Tocks and Cacophony!  Their journey is punctuated by silence, and as they are wrapped up in stillness, they learn to listen to that silence.

The show is inspired by how sound is generated. The research and development for Shh…Bang! has been in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University of Southampton. The result is a beautiful performance, which focusses on a series of sounds, and takes the audience on an exciting journey and embraces the pleasure of silence.

Peut-Être Theatre is led by Artistic Director Daphna Attias. Driven by a desire to create unforgettable early theatrical experiences for young audiences, their shows effectively combine the visual, the physical and the musical.

Peut-Être Theatre has created seven productions to date. (This is a That 2008, The Bug and the Butterfly 2010, Draw me a Bird 2011, The Tin Soldier 2012, Clunk 2014 and Dare to Sea 2014. Shh…Bang! 2015 is their most recent show).

Tickets are available from the Box Office 023 8067 1771 or online at



Director : Daphna Attias
Movement Director: Ayse Tashkiran
Lighting & Set Design : Jackie Shemesh
Music : Yaniv Fridel & Niall Kearney
Dramaturgy : Richard Shannon
Costume & Props : Jenny Hayton
Production Manager : Faith Rowley
Cast : Maya Politaki and Anna Woolhouse

Dates: 12 June 2017

Tickets: £8.00

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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…


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

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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


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+


Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Monday 6 – Saturday 25 March

Box office: 023 8067 1771

Nottingham Playhouse

Tuesday 28 March – Saturday 8 April

Box office: 0115 941 9419


Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Tuesday 9 May – Saturday 20 May

Box office: 01604 624 811


West Yorkshire Playhouse

24 May – Saturday 10 June

Box office: 0113 213 7700


NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres: cast announced for 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).


Saturday 4 to Saturday 25 February 2017

West Yorkshire Playhouse

Tickets: 0113 213 7700

Tuesday 28 February to Friday 3 March 2017

Warwick Arts Centre

Tickets: 024 7652 4524

Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 March 2017

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Tickets: 0151 709 4776

Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 March 2017

Leicester Curve Studio

Tickets: 0116 242 3595

Tuesday 28 March to Saturday 1st April 2017

Cheltenham, Everyman Theatre

Tickets: 01242 572573

Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 April 2017

Bath Theatre Royal

Tickets: 01225 448844

Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 April 2017

Oxford Playhouse

Tickets: 0186 530 5305

Tuesday 25 April to Saturday 13 May 2017

NST Campus, Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Tickets: 023 8067 1771


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.


 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


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

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.


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                                                              
 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.