50 Years at Wellington Circus: The Noughties

2000 Joe McGann features in Croft’s British premiere production of Brian Friel’s Wonderful Tennessee; Philip Franks directs Kiss of the Spider Woman; Nottingham Playhouse becomes the UK’s first full member of the European Theatre Convention

2001 The Playhouse premieres Steven Berkoff’s Ritual in Blood and Giles Croft directs the first European production of Robert Lepage’s Polygraph; Stephanie Sirr joins the Playhouse as Chief Executive; the unveiling of Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror on the redeveloped forecourt attracts international attention

2002 Giles Croft directs the world premiere of Rat Pack Confidential, a musical exposé destined to tour the UK and run at London’s Whitehall Theatre

2003 Designed to address the paucity of Black Theatre in regional repertory theatres, the Eclipse Theatre initiative is launched at Nottingham Playhouse with a revival of Errol John’s seminal drama Moon on a Rainbow Shawl

2004 A Passage to India, the Playhouse’s tour with Shared Experience, reaches as far as New York; Richard Baron directs Clive Francis as Prospero, as well as Francis’ innovative new adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles; Giles Croft is elected Vice-Chair of the European Theatre Convention

2005 Andrew Breakwell’s production of The Railway Children and Croft’s revival of Arnold Wesker’s Chicken Soup with Barley both transfer to London; Alan Dossor directs a hit in Old Big ’Ead in The Spirit of the Man, Stephen Lowe’s fantasy comedy about the recently deceased Brian Clough

2006 Adrian Noble directs Rosamund Pike in Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke, which transfers to London’s Apollo Theatre; Tracy Beaker Gets Real attracts huge audiences and begins a tour of 32 venues; Philippe Petit jets in to help Giles Croft stage the story of his unauthorised high wire walk between the WTC’s twin towers in To Reach the Clouds, prefiguring the Oscar-winning Man on Wire

2007 The TMA pronounces Nottingham Playhouse the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre; its UK premiere production of The Burial at Thebes (Seamus Heaney’s version of Antigone) returns to sell out a Barbican transfer and is invited to play at two of America’s most prestigious arts festivals the following summer

2008 As Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company celebrates its diamond jubilee, Giles Croft’s world premiere production of All Quiet on the Western Front and Shared Experience’s epic adaptation of War and Peace both meet acclaim on UK tour; Kenneth Alan Taylor marks his 25th consecutive pantomime by returning as Widow Twankey in Aladdin

2009 Already a success in Nottingham and at the Edinburgh Fringe, Steven Berkoff’s staging of On the Waterfront enjoys a hit West End transfer; Simon Shepherd, Philip Franks and Norman Pace appear in Our Man in Havana before embarking on a UK tour