Karr Kennedy and Rachel Burbridge during acting rehearsals of Coram Boy

Coram Boy: The Story So Far

Friday 12th July 2019

We’re busy preparing for our biggest-ever live community production: Coram Boy.

In August, we’ll take over the city’s esteemed Albert Hall with a company of 100 local performers and creatives. The first performance is just weeks away, so we’re taking a look behind the scenes at rehearsals, and what the story’s all about.

How it all began…

Over 300 people auditioned in March 2019, following our open call for actors and singers. Applicants ranged from ages 12 to 80, and from a diverse range of jobs, including nurses, care workers and bus drivers. They came from far and wide across Nottinghamshire, and for many, it is their first time performing publically.

The play is being directed by Adam Penford, and continues our long-standing tradition for making ground-breaking theatre with – and for – local people.

Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Coram Boy is our most ambitious and exciting community project to date. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to be involved and had to make some tough decisions during the audition process. The cast reflects the diversity of our region with participants of all different ages and backgrounds.”


Rehearsals have been brilliant, and the journey of both cast and choir members has been followed through our regular video posts.

Adam added: “It’s been so much fun watching them bond and work together to create this complex and moving production. Their work ethic and enthusiasm has infected the whole organisation.”

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook regular updates and to see photos as we approach the opening performance.

What’s the play about?

Based on the award-winning novel by Jamila Gavin, Coram Boy tells the tale of Aaron and his best friend Toby. Both are wards of Thomas Coram’s famous Foundling Hospital, which, during the eighteenth century, took in children whose mothers were unable to care for them.

However, as the story unravels, the boys uncover the dark underbelly of Georgian society and the gruesome truth behind the infamous ‘Coram men’ who pretended to work for the hospital.

George Frideric Handel conducted annual performances of The Messiah to raise vital funds for the Foundling Hospital, and his music is central to the plot of the play. Internationally acclaimed organist John Keys will perform on the Albert Hall’s famous Grade II listed Binns Organ, alongside a string quartet and community choir.

The end result

The production promises to be incredible, and will run for just five performances between Wednesday 7 and Saturday 10 August 2019. Tickets are on sale now.