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Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s Sam Hodges: ‘I want to take work to London but I don’t want to compromise our artistic identity.’

Sam Hodges
Sam Hodges in Rehearsals

Sam Hodges in Rehearsals

NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres new venue is situated in the heart of the city and has a 450-seat main house alongside a 133-seat studio. The inaugural production at NST City is the world première of the Howard Brenton play The Shadow Factory, which is set in 1940 during the Battle of Britain. The production features state of the art technology and video projections by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions. Exciting times.

Samuel Hodges is the creative and executive Director of NST Theatres. How would he describe the past few months? “It turned out to be a quadruple unknown,” he says. “This is a brand-new piece theatre in a brand-new building, there is also the community chorus amongst the state of the art technology – so we went into the process with so many variables. I’m really pleased with how it has come together – Howard has said it is his love letter to Southampton, the birthplace of the Spitfire aircraft.”

So, how is he dealing with the pressure of launching a brand-new venue? “Right now, there is a genuine sense of anticipation around the opening of this building, which has surprised all of us and exceeded all of our hopes. There is a genuine buzz of curiosity and investment. What’s interesting is not only the number of people but the distance they are travelling. In terms of our ability to be more accessible and more visible and be more open to people across the county,” says Hodges.

The Shadow Factory

The Shadow Factory

By contrast, Hodges is deeply aware of the gamble and pressure of getting a show like The Shadow Factory off the ground, not to mention the involvement of a community chorus. Making theatre with local amateur participants doesn’t diminish the art but gives it new purpose. “It has been glorious and exciting,” he says.

“I’m not going to lie, we were given the building far too late and were given the keys just before we started rehearsing the show. As a director you aren’t always sure of the tone of you work, because you are so close to it. I tend to enjoy design and movement. All previews are a time of balancing things. I do feel like we are doing justice to the story,” says Hodges.

His 2018 season, contains some inspiring projects, including co-productions with Theatr Clwyd and English Touring Theatre, while Hodges directs a workshop musical adaptation of cult film Son of Rambow. “It is an ode to the 1980’s – it’s a sort of modern day Oliver Twist,” he says. “It’s a musical I’ve been working on for three years with songwriter Miranda Cooper. It is a Nuffield Southampton Theatres workshop production in association with The Other Palace, London. Essentially an opportunity to workshop for 3 weeks and have public fairings along the way– it might get off book and be fully realised– it’s about getting feedback and having the space to develop it.”

This is the passion that drives Sam. Is he inspired by successes of other regional theatres like Bristol Old Vic? (which currently has two home-grown shows in town The Grinning Man and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.) “Our audience is incredibly diverse; in terms of age and background and embracing new ideas: they are up for it,” he says. “I want to take work to London but I don’t want to compromise our artistic identity. The reason for taking work into London, generally, is about developing the theatre and the cities brand on a national level – the reason I suppose I’m going slowly in that direction is that I want to make sure that by the time we get there is it isn’t by doing a celebrity-led version of the Important of Being Earnest. I do think Bristol are doing excellent work – it’s about work that lifts a theatre and lifts a city,” says Hodges


We talk about the writer/director relationship. I refer to the recent Twitter thread that I started ‘playwrights being told off.’ Does he think playwrights are bullied in the rehearsal room? “No. But I do feel that they can be a very odd and powerless situation for a writer. The sort of unspoken rule of a rehearsal room is that it is the directors room. Howard is an absolute joy: a combination of sage and calm and mischievous. I’d say it is about negotiation. You do worry the writer hates what you are doing – more often they are listening to the rhythm of their own words. I’ll come out of a preview but he’ll just say: ‘That word – needs to go…’ We’ve disagreed on quite a few things but that’s part of the process.”

The Shadow Factory stars Anita Dobson (aka Angie, of EastEnders) wife of rock guitarist Brian May as leading lady. How was it sitting next to a living legend in for the first preview? “Extremely surreal,” he says, laughing. “It’s a different level of legend isn’t it? He was pretty laid back and I think he enjoyed himself. He definitely gave Anita feedback – you always know when your actors have had their other halves in. Brian was the first person to buy a drink from our bar, which was pretty special.”

Craig David was recently announced as a patron of NST, a role that will see him championing the theatre’s work. Why him? “Craig David is Southampton born and bred,” he says when I bring this up. “We are trying to build a local network of support. We are expanding our programme of theatre to include music, amongst other things, within artistic the programme out patrons are figureheads but ideally, they are individuals through which younger audiences can come through the doors and share an affinity with. I must admit I did get a load of text messages after the announcement: Craig David – exclamation mark, exclamation mark, heart emoji. Craig joins our other patron Harriet Walter, I’ve always been a huge fan of Harriett’s and she lives just outside of the city,” says Hodges.

There is a still a challenge ahead, though, as he says “It’s not always about saying what you want – it’s about delivering what we said we would. One of our main focuses and priorities has been putting together a team that works for what we want to achieve. Which I think we have done. I feel immensely proud of all of our staff.”


The Shadow Factory runs at the NST City, Southampton from 16 February to 3 March.

Box Office 023 8067 1771

Harriet Walter and Craig David announced as new patrons for Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Craig David
Harriet Walter

Harriet Walter

Ahead of the opening of their new venue – NST city, Nuffield Southampton Theatres today announces that Harriet Walter and Craig David will join the theatre as patrons, working alongside Samantha BondLaura CarmichaelTom Hiddleston and Celia Imrie. They also join the recently announced new associates, Inua Ellams and Drew McOnie adding to the breadth of ambassadors for the theatre.

As patrons of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Walter and David will support and champion the upcoming season of work as well as the launch of the brand-new theatre. 

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, commented, ‘’As we prepare to open our brand-new venue – NST City, I am absolutely delighted that Harriet Walter and Craig David will be joining Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Tom Hiddleston and Celia Imrie as patrons of Nuffield Southampton Theatres. They both bring extensive and diverse experience from across the arts making them the perfect pairing to join our team. We have an exciting year ahead of us, so I’m thrilled to welcome Harriet and David’s support ahead of our upcoming season that marks a big leap forward for NST and for the cultural landscape of Southampton.’’

 In addition, NST has also launched the new Founding Friends membership scheme. This gives theatre lovers the rare opportunity to take part in a pivotal moment in NST’s history, enjoying a host of exciting events and benefits. Benefits include a naming inscription on the new donor wall at NST City, bespoke tours of NST City, complimentary tickets, invitations to NST press nights and post-show parties with the cast and opportunities to attend read-throughs, technical and dress rehearsals. For more information on getting involved, please visit: or call 023 8031 5500 x 517.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres Announces 2018 Season including inaugural programming for their brand new venue – NST City

Samuel Hodges
Samuel Hodges

Samuel Hodges

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, today announced their new season for 2018. This announcement also marks the opening of the brand new NST City, NST’s newly built theatre in Southampton’s city centre. Their 2018 season of work will be spread across both the new venue and their original home, NST Campus.

The season is comprised of four world premières: Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory, which launches the new season in NST City; SS Mendi Dancing the Death Drill, adapted from the book by Fred Khumalo and part of 14-18 NOW the UK’s arts programme for the WW1 centenary; a new version of Aristophanes’ comedy Women in Power; and a new musical adaptation of David WalliamsBillionaire Boy.

A bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ classic, A Streetcar Named Desire, is the second production staged in the new venue. Directed by 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner Chelsea Walker, this co-production with Theatr Clwyd and English Touring Theatre opens at NST on 23 March before heading out on a major UK tour.

This is followed by SS Mendi Dancing the Death, adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan and created with the Capetown-based Isango Ensemble, commemorating an untold tragedy from WW1, that took place off the coast of Southampton. The play opens on 29 June, in a co-production with Hackney Empire and co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW. This will be followed by the second Now-Here festival, which this year focuses on historical whitewashing.

Women in Power, inspired by the Aristophanes comedy, Assemblywomen, will feature music, dance, poetry and stand-up comedy, written by a company of leading female voices. NST Associate, Blanche McIntyre returns to NST for the fifth time to direct the production opening on 8 September.

 Tom Burke stars in a co-production of Don Carlos with Exeter Northcott and Rose Theatre Kingston. Friedrich Schiller’s masterpiece, translated by Robert David MacDonald opens on 16 October at Exeter Northcott, 23 October at NST City and 6 November at Rose Theatre Kingston. Gadi Roll directs.

Finally, NST have commissioned the first ever stage adaptation of David Walliams’ bestseller Billionaire Boy. Luke Sheppard (In The Heights, Adrian Mole) directs the production which opens on 19 November. Miranda Cooper, one of the UK’s most successful pop writers of all time, will write the music.

In addition, May brings a workshop musical adaptation of hit cult film, Son of Rambow, directed by Hodges, featuring an original 80s pop soundtrack by Cooper and book by Richard Marsh. This runs at London’s The Other Palace.

NST will also be expanding its core programme to introduce music, film, dance and circus, as well as continuing and expanding its comedy and spoken word strands. To underpin this expansion, NST is excited to announce two new associates to join its existing roster, rising dance star Drew McOnie, will join as Dance Associate and Nigerian poet Inua Ellams joins as Poetry and Spoken Word Associate.

NST will launch a new pop-up music collective, The Space Between Collective, to accompany leading rock and pop acts from around the country. The opening Space Between concert will feature the rock group Band of Skulls.  NST City will also host Blueprint, a new festival of jazz and The Gateway Sessions, regular monthly music events showcasing the very best of local musical talent across multiple genres. Full line-ups will be announced every month.

A brand new dance programme will see the world-renowned Hofesh Shechter Company perform in Southampton for the first time, alongside Sleuth, a new show by NST’s new resident dance company, ZoieLogic.

The nascent film programme will feature an event cinema strand, including NT Live screenings, and a new season of Best of Bollywood, with entries voted for in a regional competition.

Finally, NST are proud to open a new studio theatre as part of NST City, which will feature the very best studio scale theatre from all over the country two of which, Palmyra and Noisy Holiday, were supported through NST’s artist development programme, Laboratory.

NST are also delighted to announce a new partnership with Digital Theatre +, which will feature the creation of new digital content and documentary, educational workshops and screenings, and a commitment to pool resources in order to innovate in the field of digital storytelling.

NST will continue to build and grow its artist development programme, Laboratory, providing local and national opportunities through scratch performances, research and development support and the Laboratory Associates scheme now going into its third year, which uniquely attaches a director, producer and full design team to the theatre in order to create peer-to-peer relationships.

Following the appointment of Annelie Powell as Head of Casting, NST will look to establish a pool of local professional actors and will be running auditions for actors who currently live in the post code areas of SO, PO and BH. NST will also be interested to hear from professional actors who are originally from the area but no longer live locally. Full detail will be available on our website in mid December.

 Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, said today ‘’2018 is an exciting year for the theatre as we open Southampton’s brand new city-centre theatre, NST City, a second venue to build on the success of NST Campus. I am very proud of our inaugural season that features four world premieres, international collaborations, both new talent and household names, untold local stories of national significance, and a brand new programme of studio theatre, music, comedy, film, circus and dance across our two venues.

This season marks a seismic step change for NST and for the city of Southampton’s cultural life. It is a season which champions new work, in the knowledge that theatre can respond most urgently to the world we live in today. A season which looks back to ancient Greece, to 16th century Spain, to both World Wars, and even to 1980s Reading in order to talk about what’s important today. It asks questions about historical whitewashing, about consent, about community, and about faith. It’s going to be a big year.”


 NST City

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres production


Written by Howard Brenton

Directed by Samuel Hodges

7 February – 3 March 2018

Press Night: 15 February 2018

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.

Jackie is the third generation of Dimmock at her family-run laundry. Polly is the first and only draughtswoman in the Spitfire design office. How will each woman forge her own path in this evolving landscape?

From the ashes, a story of chaos, courage and community spirit emerges.

One of Britain’s greatest living playwrights, Hampshire-born Howard Brenton, tells the remarkable and little known story of how Southampton stepped up when the chips were down.

This spectacular world première 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.

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 include Dedication – 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.


NST City

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Theatr Clwyd and English Touring Theatre co-production

Supported by a grant from The Royal Theatrical Support Trust


by Tennessee Williams
Directed by 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Winner Chelsea Walker

 23 – 31 March & 5 – 16 June

Press night: 28 March

 “Every man is a king.” Stanley is no exception.

Until one summer, when his sister-in-law Blanche comes to stay.

Anxious, seductive and fiercely clever, Blanche is just about keeping it together.

But her arrival threatens Stanley’s entire way of life.

As the summer heats up, and the games turn savage, a burning desire threatens to tear their world apart.

A bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ timeless classic, this is a raging portrayal of what it means to be an outsider, in a society where we’re all desperate to belong.

After the run at Nuffield Southampton Theatres, A Streetcar Named Desire goes on tour to Theatre by the Lake, Malvern Theatres, Bristol Old Vic, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Oxford Playhouse and Theatr Clywd before returning to Southampton.

Supported by a grant from The Royal Theatrical Support Trust.

 Tennessee Williams (1911 – 1983) was one of the greatest American playwrights. His principal works include A Streetcar Named Desire (Pulitzer Prize), The Glass Menagerie (New York Critics’ Circle Award), The Rose Tattoo (Tony Award for Best Play), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Pulitzer Prize), Suddenly Last Summer, Sweet Bird of Youth, Orpheus Descending and The Night of the Iguana (New York Critics’ Circle Award).

Chelsea Walker directs A Streetcar Named Desire as the winner of the 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award. She directed the first major revival of Low Level Panic by Clare McIntyre at the Orange Tree earlier this year. Her previous directing credits include P’yongyang by In-Sook Chappell and Chicken Dust by Ben Weatherill (Finborough Theatre), Klippies by Jess Sian (Southwark Playhouse) and Lean by Isley Lynn (Tristan Bates). She has also assistant directed on Wild by Mike Bartlett (Hampstead Theatre), Routes by Rachel de-lahay (Royal Court) and The Little Mermaid, adapted by Joel Horwood (Bristol Old Vic). She was a runner up in the JMK Young Directors’ Award 2016, is a director on the Old Vic 12, and is a script reader for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Royal Theatrical Support Trust

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) operates an annual award scheme for up-and-coming theatre directors, the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme. The Scheme provides a rare opportunity for an up-and-coming director who succeeds in a competitive process to direct a fully-funded production of a play as part of a main season of productions at a British regional theatre. The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme is designed for the benefit of directors who have already built up a track record of professional directing experience and who are ready for the opportunity provided by the Scheme to progress to directing a production in the main house, or a comparably high-profile auditorium, of a regional theatre.

The Scheme involves a collaboration between the RTST and a regional theatre selected by the RTST. The RTST makes a significant grant to the participating regional theatre to be applied towards the costs of the Award winner’s production. It is a condition of the grant that the regional theatre facilitates the implementation of the Scheme and the realisation of that production.

This year, the RTST ran the Scheme with Nuffield Southampton Theatres.  At the end of a rigorous competitive process, Chelsea Walker was selected as the winner of the 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award by a highly distinguished panel of panel of theatre professionals comprising Sam Hodges (Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres), Howard Brenton, Tamara Harvey (Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd), Patricia Hodge, Stephanie Street, Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre) and Danny Lee Wynter.  Walker won the opportunity to direct A Streetcar Named Desire.  The RTST is making a significant grant to Nuffield Southampton Theatres towards the production costs.

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres workshop production in association with The Other Palace


Book by Richard Marsh

Music by Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler; Lyrics by Miranda Cooper and Richard Marsh

Adapted from the film by Garth Jennings, Nick Goldsmith and Paramount Pictures

Directed by Samuel Hodges

22 May – 2 June

At The Other Palace, London

 Son of Rambow is a work in progress production working with feedback from the audience each day.

Winter 1982. Two boys are about to form an unlikely friendship.

 Will Proudfoot is a member of the Plymouth Brethren, forbidden from watching TV or films. Lee Carter is the wild child, school trouble-maker. When Lee blows Will’s mind with a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood, this unlikely pair collaborate on a homemade sequel.

Their movie changes the lives of all around them. Will’s recently-widowed mum, Sarah, begins to question her faith as family friend Joshua confesses his love for her. Lee’s brother Barry fights for the love of his girlfriend Tina, who must choose between Barry, University or the French exchange sexpot, Didier.

Based on the cult hit film, Son of Rambow is a heart-warming and hilarious story about two boys with a big video camera and even bigger ambitions. Set to an original 80s pop soundtrack from two of the UK’s most successful pop writers, Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler.

Nick Coler is a British songwriter. His credits alongside Miranda Cooper include 35 top 10 hits for acts such as Girls Aloud, The Sugababes, Gabriella Cilmi, Alesha Dixon and numerous other artists. In addition, he co-wrote a song with Alastair Lloyd Webber for Starlight Express as well as numerous films and TV shows including Wayne’s World where he wrote Feed my Frankenstein. He has also been nominated three times for an Ivor Novello Award and has won producer of the year.

Miranda Cooper is a British songwriter. Her credits alongside Nick Coler include writing for Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, Alesha Dixon, Gabriella Cilmi, and Kylie Minogue. Cooper’s songs have spent more years on the UK chart than any other female songwriter in history, and she has penned four number one hits – Round Round, Sound of the Underground, Hole in the Head and The Promise.

 Richard Marsh is a writer and performer. His one-man play Skittles was commissioned for Radio 4 as Love & Sweets, and won Best Scripted Comedy in the BBC Audio Drama Awards. Dirty Great Love Story won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to Bristol Old Vic, Soho Theatre and 59E59 Theatres, NYC, and most recently to the Arts Theatre. Wingman played to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe before touring the UK and to LA, and is in development for TV. He wrote the Radio 4 poetry comedy series Cardboard Heart and his poetry can currently be heard in the national tour of Tango Moderno. He is a former London poetry slam champion and was a member of Theatre503’s 503/5 writers group.


NST City

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Isango Ensemble, Repons Foundation and Hackney Empire


Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary

The world première of


by Gbolahan Obisesan with Isango Ensemble

Adapted from the book by Fred Khumalo

Directed by Mark Dornford-May

29 June – 14 July

Press night: 4 July

Most had never seen the sea, many couldn’t swim, few returned.

 January 1917, 823 South African men board the SS Mendi in Cape Town, volunteers for the British Army bound for the Western Front. Through a tragic twist of fate, Pitso Motaung finds himself aboard.

Months later, the ship sails off the coast of Southampton. Heavy pre-dawn fog shrouds the impending disaster. The collision comes with such force the SS Mendi sinks in minutes. By the time rescue arrives it is too late for most.

Paris, 1958. Two men are dead in a restaurant, attacked by the head waiter Pitso Motaung. Dark memories etched in Pitso’s mind are resurfacing decades later to devastating effect.

Dubbed the ‘Black Titanic’, the sinking of SS Mendi was one of the worst maritime disasters in the 20th century in UK waters. Yet, a startling story of hope and courage emerges. Brought to life, with live music by the critically acclaimed Cape Town based Isango Ensemble and part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s Cultural Programme for the First World War Centenary.

Since 2001 Isango Ensemble has toured its productions to Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Singapore, Turkey, Japan, Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the United States. Productions include The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso which had two runs in the West End; uCarmen which toured to many of the world’s major festivals; The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo featuring Mozart’s score transposed for an orchestra of marimbas, which won both an Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and the Globes de Cristal for Best Opera following a sold-out season at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; Venus & Adonis in partnership with Shakespeare’s Globe and in 2016 A Man of Good Hope co-produced by Young Vic, Royal Opera, Repons Foundation, BAM and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. Films created by the ensemble include uCarmen eKhayelitsha which won the Golden Bear at The Berlin International Film Festival as well as many other Best Feature Awards.

Gbolahan Obisesan is Genesis Fellow of the Young Vic Theatre and is under commission to Eclipse Theatre Company. Previous credits include How Nigeria Became: A Story, And A Spear That Didn’t Work (Unicorn Theatre), We Are Proud To Present… (Bush Theatre), Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic / Edinburgh Festival) and Mad About The Boy (Edinburgh Festival and UK tour). He was one of the six writers and the only British writer on Rufus Norris’ Feast, commissioned by the Royal Court and The Young Vic for their World Stages London which was produced at The Young Vic, he also directed four plays as part of The Bush Theatre’s epic 66 BOOKS project which ran at the Bush and Westminster Abbey. Other directing credits include SUS (Young Vic and UK tour – Jerwood Award for directing) and he was Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio and resident director for the Fela! (National Theatre). Associate Director credits include The Way of The World, and Julius Caesar (RSC).

Fred Khumalo is the author of the novels Bitches Brew, which was a joint winner of the 2006 European Union Literary Award, and Seven Steps to Heaven. His memoir, Touch My Blood, was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-fiction in 2007, and his most recent book, #ZuptasMustFall and Other Rants, was published in 2016. His short fiction has appeared in various anthologies, literary journals and magazines.

Mark Dornford-May is co-founder and Artistic Director of Isango Ensemble and has worked in South Africa with members of the company since 2000. He has directed all of Isango’s stage productions including The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso, The Snow Queen, Der Silbersee, The Beggars Opera – Ibali Loo Tsotsi, Carmen, The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo, A Christmas Carol – iKrismas Kherol, Aesop’s Fables, La Boheme – Abanxaxhi, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Izigwili Ezidlakazelayo, Venus and Adonis; and the films he has directed are uCarmen eKhayelitsha, Son of Man, Unogumbe – Noye’s and Breathe – Umphefumlo.

SS Mendi Dancing the Death Drill is co-commissioned by 1418NOW: WW1 Centenary Arts Commissions, Repons Foundation, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Hackney Empire, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.


NST City

Now-Here: Hidden Histories

Supported by Black History Month South

10 – 12 July

An annual festival of performance, exhibitions, storytelling, music, workshops and lunch time talks. Now-Here returns to explore the themes from NST’s production of SS Mendi, a story hidden for decades underplaying the contribution the Commonwealth countries made to the First World War.

Hidden stories of race, the whitewashing of history, those forgotten and celebrating the reclamation of identity and people’s true place in history.


NST City

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres production


Created by an Assembly of Women

Based on Assemblywomen by Aristophanes

Directed by Blanche McIntyre

8 – 29 September

Press night: 13 September

350 BC. Athens.

The country is in political turmoil. Recent wars and alliances have left Athenians no option but to take the most extreme action. The most radical… a government of women.

Praxagora masterminds and leads a daring coup d’etat, outlining her utopian vision of total equality to her crowd of cross-dressing collaborators. A world where power imbalance is eradicated and with it, debt, greed, theft, and…also marriage, love and consent. Oh, and camping.

NST Associate Blanche McIntyre returns to Southampton to direct this raucous comedy with songs, dance, music and women taking the lead.

Blanche McIntyre directs. Previous credits for Nuffield Southampton Theatres include Noises Off, Tonight at 8.30 and The Nutcracker.

Other theatre credits include The Norman Conquests (Chichester Festival Theatre), Titus Andronicus and The Two Noble Kinsmen (RSC), Welcome Home Captain Fox! (Donmar Warehouse), The Oresteia (HOME Manchester), As You Like It and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe), Arcadia (Ambassador Theatre Group), The Seagull (Headlong), Accolade (St James Theatre), Repentance/Behind the Lines (Bush Theatre), Ciphers (Out of Joint), The Birthday Party (Manchester Royal Exchange), Foxfinder, Accolade and Moliere or The League of Hypocrites (Finborough Theatre), Liar Liar (Unicorn Theatre), The Only True History of Lizzie Finn and Open Heart Surgery (Southwark Playhouse), The Seven Year Itch (Salisbury Playhouse), When Did You Last See My Mother? (Trafalgar Studios); and for film as a writer, The Hippopotamus.


NST City

An Exeter Northcott, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston co-production


Written by Friedrich Schiller

Translated by Robert David MacDonald

 Directed by Gadi Roll

 23 October – 3 November

‘Love is only known by him who hopelessly persists in love.’

Don Carlos faces the most profound of dilemmas.

In a cruel twist of fate, his former fiancé and the love of his life, Elizabeth, has recently become his stepmother. His father and usurper is the tyrannical Philip II.

Abandoned by both man and decree, Don Carlos must fend for himself.

But one man, Rodrigo Marquis of Posa, has never forgotten the childhood act of sacrifice that the Prince made on his behalf. Dreaming of freedom for his people, Rodrigo becomes an unlikely power broker in the King’s duplicitous court.

A double edged story of loyalty, love and friendship, and the abuses of power and statesmanship, Don Carlos is as resonant today as it was at the time.

Starring Tom Burke, Israeli theatre director Gadi Roll brings his trademark dynamic imagery and haunting soundscapes to Schiller’s masterpiece.

Press night: 15 October at Exeter Northcott

Friedrich Schiller’s (1759 – 1805) principal works for the stage include The Robbers, Intrigue and Love, The Wallenstein Trilogy, Mary Stuart and William Tell.

Robert David MacDonald (1929-2004) was a playwright, translator and director. He was co-director of the Citizens’ Theatre Company, Glasgow and wrote fifteen plays for the company including Dracula, Camille, De Sade Show, Chinchilla, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Summit Conference, A Waste of Time, Don Juan, Webster, Anna Karenina, and Conundrum. As a translator he translated/adapted over seventy operas and plays from ten different languages, including such operas as, The Threepenny Opera (Glasgow/ENO North), Tamerlano, Flight from The Harem, The Barber of Seville, Aida (WNOC), Marschner’s Vampire!, Cosi Fan Tutti (Hintlesham); and plays, Figaro, Orpheus, The Human Voice, Conversation at Night, Achterloo, Shadow of Angels, The Balcony, The Blacks, The Screens, The Government Inspector, Tasso, Faust I & II, Brand, Hedda Gabler, Maskerade, The House of Bernada Alba, School for Wives, DonJuan, Enrico Four, Phedra, Mary Stuart, The Seagull, Round The World in Eighty Days, Lulu and Clavigo.

Tom Burke plays Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa. His theatre work includes The Deep Blue Sea, The Doctor’s Dilemma (National Theatre), Reasons to be Happy (Hampstead Theatre), Reasons to be Pretty, Macbeth (Almeida Theatre), Design for Living (The Old Vic), for the Donmar Warehouse, Creditors (also New York, winner of the Ian Charleson Award) and The Cut, and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe). His television work includes Strike, The Musketeers, War and Peace, Utopia, The Hour and Great Expectations; and for film, The Libertine, The Enlightenment, The Collectors, Donkey Punch, Telstar, Chéri, An Enemy to Die For, Cleanskin, Only God Forgives, The Invisible Woman and The Hooligan Factory.

Gadi Roll has directed over sixty productions for the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Teatr Polski, Wroclaw, American Repertory Theatre Boston, Stari Teatr Krakow, Habima National Theatre, Cameri and Beit-Lessin Theatres Tel Aviv, Jerusalem Khan Theatre, Haifa Theatre and Beer-Sheva Theatre, Israel. Credits include Iphigenia at Aulis, The House of Bernarda Alba, Les Parents Terrible, Don Juan Comes Back from the War, Pains of Youth, Romeo and Juliet, The Duchess of Malfi, Measure for Measure, ‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore, The Robbers, Don Carlos, Spring Awakening, Waiting for Godot, 1913, The Park, Quei Oust, A View from the Bridge, The Lady from the Sea, No End of Blame, Amadeus and Saved.


NST Campus

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres production

The World Première of


Adapted from the book by David Walliams
Music and Lyrics by Miranda Cooper

Directed by Luke Sheppard

19 November – 6 January 2019

Press night: 28 November

Imagine being the wealthiest child in the land!

One-day factory worker Len Spud invents a new loo roll “Bum Fresh – wet on one side, dry on the other.” The wiping-wonder is an instant hit. Len, and his son Joe, become overnight billionaires, turning their lives upside down.

Whilst Mr Spud spends, spends, spends on fast cars, 100-inch TVs, and lavish gifts for his glamorous new girlfriend, Sapphire Diamond, Joe is left to fend for himself.

In the unforgiving world of the school playground, things are about to get more complicated. With his new best friend, Bob, at his side, Joe navigates an assault course of school bullies and dangerously inedible canteen food.  To make matters worse, is the impossibly pretty new girl Lauren all that she appears to be?

But can money really buy happiness? This hilarious new musical adaptation is a triumphant treat for the whole family, based on the bestselling book by David Walliams, and presented by the NST team following their award-winning “whisker – licking treat” Fantastic Mr Fox.

David Walliams is a global phenomenon in the world of children’s literature with worldwide sales of over 19.5 million books in more than 53 languages. He is the first children’s author to spend 100 weeks in the number one position in the UK children’s book charts, beating his nearest rivals by over 20 weeks. Three of his books have been awarded Children’s Book of the Year at the National Book Awards. Additionally, The Boy in the Dress, Ratburger, Mr Stink and Gangsta Granny have all been adapted for TV. As well as being a bestselling children’s author, David is one of Britain’s most popular writers and comic actors. Along with Matt Lucas, he created the BAFTA award-winning Little Britain which also played to over 1 million people on tour across the UK, Ireland and Australia. He starred in the Agatha Christie TV series Partners in Crime and as Frankie Howerd in the biopic Rather You Than Me. He is also a judge on one of the biggest shows on TV, Britain’s Got Talent.

Miranda Cooper is a British songwriter. Her credits alongside Nick Coler include writing for Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, Alesha Dixon, Gabriella Cilmi, and Kylie Minogue. Cooper’s songs have spent more years on the UK chart than any other female songwriter in history, and she has penned four number one hits – Round Round, Sound of the Underground, Hole in the Head and The Promise.

Luke Sheppard directs. His credits include The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Age 13 ¾ The Musical (Menier Chocolate Factory), Working, Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), Jersey Boys (international tour), Murder for Two, Oliver! (Watermill Newbury), In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse and King Cross Theatre – winner of 3 Olivier Awards), Peter and the Starcatcher (Theatre Royal Northampton), Night Must Fall (Salisbury Playhouse), Stig of the Dump (Arts Theatre), The History Boys (South Hill Park), 101 Dalmatians (Castle Theatre) and Soho Cinders (Arts Ed). As Associate Director, Sheppard has worked on Singin’ in the Rain (Palace Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre) and Matilda (RSC) and as Assistant Director on Into The Woods (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).



NST Youth Theatre provides the opportunity for young people to work with professional theatre makers as part of NST’s main house programme. This season’s productions include:

Love and Information

By Caryl Churchill

Directed by Max Lindsay

NST City

18 -20 January
by Chris Thompson

NST City

5-7 April

 Much Ado about Nothing

By William Shakespeare

NST City

19-21 July


Visiting productions include the award-winning musical Teddy, presented by Sarah Loader for Snapdragon Productions in association with The Watermill Theatre, and directed by Eleanor Rhode, opening on 26 February; Gecko’s production of The Wedding by Amit Lahav opening on 6 March; Birdsong Productions Ltd in association with Original Theatre’s production of Sebastian Faulks’ hit Birdsong; and a Lyric Hammersmith and Filter Theatre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Direct from the Edinburgh Fringe comes the Wardrobe Ensemble, Royal & Derngate Northampton and Shoreditch Town Hall co-production – Education Education Education as well as Ockham Razor Production’s circus piece Tipping Point.

 Studio productions include an ARC Stockton Production of Instructions For Border Crossing written and performed by Daniel Bye; Your Best Guess written and performed by Chris Thorpe – a Mala Voadora and Chris Thorpe production in association with ARC Stockton; The Believers Are But Brothers written by Javaad Alipoor; John Osborne’s Circled in the Radio Times; Quarter Life Crisis written and performed by Yolanda Mercy; and Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’s Palmyra, developed with support from Croquis_BCN (Barcelona), Bristol Ferment, MAYK, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Ovalhouse and HOME.

NST City will also stage two dance productions, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre’s production of Sleuth and Clowns / New Creation by Hofesh Shechter. NST Campus will also stage two family productions, the Curve and Rose Theatre Kingston co-production of George’s Marvellous Medicine and an MEI Theatrical and Polka Theatre production, Sarah and Duck. In addition, music acts performed in the theatre will include Band of Skulls with The Space Between Collective, The Gateway Sessions, showcasing the very best of local music talent and Blueprint a new festival of jazz.

 Listings                                                                                              Nuffield Southampton Theatres

NST Campus, University Rd, Southampton, SO17 1TR

NST City, Above Bar Street, Guildhall Square, Southampton, SO14 7DU

Twitter: @nstheatres

Facebook: /nstheatres

Box Office: 023 8067 1771

Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm

Saturday: 10am – 4pm



The Shadow Factory

NST City

7 February – 3 March

Press night: 15 February


A Streetcar Named Desire

NST City

23 – 31 March & 5 – 16 June

Press night: 28 March


SS Mendi, Dancing the Death Drill

NST City

29 June – 14 July

Press night: 4 July


Son of Rambow The Musical

Workshop at The Other Palace, London

22 May – 2 June


Women in Power

NST City

8 – 29 September

Press night: 13 September


Don Carlos

NST City

23 October – 3 November

Press night: 15 October at Exeter Northcott


Billionaire Boy

NST Campus

19 November – 6 January 2019

Press night: 28 November



Tom Burke leads the company of Don Carlos as the centrepiece of Exeter Northcott Theatre’s 50th anniversary season

Tom Burke
Tom Burke

Tom Burke

Artistic and Executive Director of Exeter Northcott Theatre Paul Jepson today announced a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos with Tom Burke leading the company as Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa. Gadi Roll’s production is presented in a co-production with Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston. The production is the centrepiece of the Exeter Northcott’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The production opens in Exeter on 16 October, with previews from 11 October and runs until 20 October 2018 ahead of performances in Southampton and Kingston. The production reunites Burke and Roll following their previous collaboration on Don Juan Comes Back From the War at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.

Don Carlos, son and heir to the tyrannical Philip II, is desperately in love with his stepmother, Elizabeth, to whom he was once betrothed. To resolve his all-consuming passion, Carlos enlists the help of his closest friend. Enter Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, who dreams of freedom for his people and becomes an unlikely power broker in the King’s duplicitous court.

Written just two years before the French Revolution, Schiller’s Don Carlos engages with themes of justice, equality, freedom of expression and conscience, religious bigotry and state persecution and is as relevant today as ever.

Paul Jepson said today, “I first met Tom when I directed him at RADA, and it’s wonderful to reunite for our major new revival of Schiller’s masterpiece Don Carlos in a co-production with Nuffield Theatres Southampton and Rose Theatre Kingston.  It is an incredibly resonant play given the intolerance in the contemporary world. Gadi’s production is at the heart of our 50th anniversary season, and forms a major part of our produced programme.”

Tom Burke commented, “Don Carlos is a play that speaks for today – it’s themes as relevant now as when Schiller wrote it. Gadi Roll and I are thrilled to open the production with Paul and the team at the Northcott ahead of performances in Southampton and Kingston.”

Friedrich Schiller’s (1759 – 1805) principal works for the stage include The Robbers, Intrigue and Love, The Wallenstein Trilogy, Mary Stuart and William Tell.

Robert David MacDonald (1929-2004) was a playwright, translator and director. He was co-director of the Citizens’ Theatre Company, Glasgow and wrote fifteen plays for the company including DraculaCamilleDe Sade ShowChinchillaNo Orchids For Miss BlandishSummit ConferenceA Waste Of TimeDon JuanWebsterAnna Karenina, and Conundrum. As a translator he translated/adapted over seventy operas and plays from ten different languages, including such operas as, The Threepenny Opera (Glasgow/ENO North), TamerlanoFlight From The HaremThe Barber Of SevilleAida (WNOC), Marschner’s Vampire!, Cosi Fan Tutti(Hintlesham); and plays, FigaroOrpheusThe Human VoiceConversation At NightAchterlooShadow Of AngelsThe BalconyThe BlacksThe ScreensThe Government Inspector, TassoFaust I & IIBrandHedda GablerMaskeradeThe House Of Bernada AlbaSchool For WivesDon JuanEnrico FourPhedraMary StuartThe SeagullAround The World In Eighty Days, Lulu and Clavigo.

Tom Burke plays Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa. His theatre work includes The Deep Blue Sea, The Doctor’s Dilemma (National Theatre), Reasons to be Happy(Hampstead Theatre), Reasons to be Pretty, Macbeth (Almeida Theatre), Design for Living (The Old Vic), for the Donmar Warehouse, Creditors (also New York, winner of the Ian Charleson Award) and The Cut, and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe). His television work includes Strike, The Musketeers, War and Peace, Utopia, The Hour and Great Expectations; and for film, The Libertine, The Enlightenment, The Collectors, Donkey Punch, Telstar, Chéri, An Enemy to Die For, Cleanskin, Only God Forgives, The Invisible Woman and The Hooligan Factory.

Gadi Roll has directed over sixty productions for the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Teatr Polski, Wroclaw, American Repertory Theatre Boston, Stari Teatr Krakow, Habima National Theatre, Cameri and Beit-Lessin Theatres Tel Aviv, Jerusalem Khan Theatre, Haifa Theatre and Beer-Sheva Theatre, Israel. Credits includeIphigenia at AulisThe House of Bernarda AlbaLes Parents TerribleDon Juan Comes Back From the WarPains of YouthRomeo and JulietThe Duchess of MalfiMeasure for Measure‘Tis a Pity She’s a WhoreThe RobbersDon CarlosSpring AwakeningWaiting For Godot1913The ParkQuei OustA View from the BridgeThe Lady from the SeaNo End of BlameAmadeus and Saved.

Exeter Northcott Theatre

11 – 20 October 2018

Press night: 16 October

Box Office: 01392 726363

Nuffield Southampton Theatres

23 October – 3 November

Box Office: 023 8067 1771

Rose Theatre Kingston

6 – 17 November

Box Office: 020 8174 0090

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