Adam Penford announces second Spring Season at Nottingham Playhouse

Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse photo credit Creative by Wren - low res

Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse photo credit Creative by Wren – low res

Nottingham Playhouse has announced Adam Penford’s second season as artistic director, including the return of the hugely popular Wonderland.

Following an exceptionally successful first year in post, Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic director Adam Penford has announced his spring season for 2019, which includes four main stage productions and a refreshed take on the theatre’s approach to working with associate artists.

Nottingham Playhouse’s chief executive Stephanie Sirr said: “We’ve been thrilled with the response to Adam’s fantastic first year as artistic director. A really creative and very ambitious season has truly paid off – we’ve loved audiences’ reactions to the work.

“2019 is already looking like it will have the same high-profile potential and we can’t wait to get started.”

Penford’s hugely ambitious 2018 programme brought some of the UK’s best actors, directors and playwrights to the city and has also provided a platform for Nottingham’s artists and theatre makers. Well received by audiences and theatre critics alike, his debut programme is due to culminate this year with the production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III, which will also be broadcast across the world through National Theatre Live.

Adam Penford said: “Everyone at the theatre has been delighted with the audience response to our 2018 programme. The reaction to the work has been generous and supportive.

“I’m excited our plans for the first half of next year includes four varied main stage shows; a revival, an adaptation of a family novel, a modern classic and a regional premiere.

“We’re also excited to confirm directors for all four shows too; including the return of Matthew Xia – who directed Shebeen for us earlier this year – and two of the most innovative directors in the industry at the moment; Lisa Blair and Adele Thomas.

“The intention is to build upon some of the ideas we introduced with this year, whilst continuing to explore new approaches.

“I hope to always keep the work fresh and innovative, balancing offering a great night out at the theatre, whilst challenging the artists we collaborate with to be bolder and more inventive, attracting the highest quality theatre-makers.”

In February, Adam’s first production of 2019 is the previously announced return of Wonderland by Beth Steel, a gripping play that takes a 360° look at the events of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

Following the success of Holes in the 2018 programme, Penford continues his programming of titles aimed at schools and family audiences. Nottingham Playhouse will produce David Almond’s adaption of his own modern classic novel Skellig, which follows the story of a 12-year-old boy – Michael – whose younger sister is born prematurely. With his parents focusing much of their attention on the newborn, Michael is left to explore the new family home and discovers a creature in its crumbling garage; Skellig.

Fresh from her acclaimed revival of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Lisa Blair is confirmed to direct Skellig, which will look to strike the perfect balance between magic and real life, and take the audience on a visually thrilling journey as the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year story is retold on stage.

Next in the 2019 season will be The Memory of Water; a comedy drama directed by highly acclaimed director and National Theatre, Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe regular, Adele Thomas. The story follows three estranged sisters who return to their childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier award-winning story is a relatable drama about the complexities of family relationships.

Completing the spring line up is the regional premiere of acclaimed American play One Night in Miami…, which will see the return of director Matthew Xia to the Playhouse. The role of soul singer Sam Cooke will be played by Olivier award winner Matt Henry who won best actor for his performance in Kinky Boots.

Also new for 2019 will be Nottingham Playhouse’s approach to working with associate artists. Three exciting appointments have been made: director Matthew Xia, and playwrights James Graham and Amanda Whittington. To open up access to this important new group, the theatre is also advertising for a passionate and dedicated fourth associate artist to join the cohort.

Adam said: “I am over the moon that James, Amanda and Matthew have agreed to join us. Not only are they three of the most acclaimed theatre practitioners working in UK theatre, both James and Amanda also hail from the region.

“The associate artists bring with them a variety of skills, experiences and interests and will act as a diverse sounding board, ensuring Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic decisions are truly representative.

“In 2019 we’ll also be continuing our focus on local artist development through our programme Amplify, which will continue to act as a springboard for East Midlands theatre makers looking to develop their professional careers.”