On Monday 21 January, we welcomed the entire company of Touched to the building for the first day of rehearsals. They were joined by the writer Stephen Lowe, as they prepared to stage his play for the first time since its premiere at Nottingham Playhouse 40 years ago.
Touched is firmly rooted in its sense of place, and many Nottingham locations are mentioned in the play. Stephen himself is from Sneinton, and based his play on stories his mother told him about the city during the war. The characters in Touched live on the terraced streets of the city, work in the Boots factory and picnic up at Colwick Woods, and it therefore seemed like the best way to kick-off the rehearsal process was to visit the locations that play such a key role.
The first stop on the Touched trail was to visit Stephen’s childhood home on Hardstaff Road in Sneinton.
L-R: Chloe Harris (Betty), George Boden (Johnny), Elizabeth Rider (Mam), Vicky McClure (Sandra), director Matt Aston, writer Stephen Lowe, Sarah Beck-Mather (Bridie), Esther Coles (Mary), Ian Kirkby (Harry), Aisling Loftus (Joan), Luke Gell (Keith).
Sandra (Vicky McClure) lives in an unnamed terraced street in Sneinton, alongside her sister Joan (Aisling Loftus) and her friend Mary (Esther Coles). The play begins here, as the women anticipate the announcement on the radio that victory has been declared in Europe.
The next location took the company to the top of Colwick Wood, which rises up to the east of the city. Several scenes are set in Colwick Woods, including the final scene, where everyone gathers for a picnic on VJ day. It was hardly picnic weather on the day of the Touched company’s visit, as a heavy fog had descended and the famous view of the city below was obscured!
All photos by Nathan Rose
Now the company are busy in the rehearsal room, as our production team works hard to source props and build sets that will evocatively recreate war-time Nottingham on stage. Touched runs at Nottingham Playhouse from Fri 17 Feb – Sat 4 Mar 2017. Tickets are selling fast – click here to book today.
Do you or any family members have memories of war-time Nottingham?
For the show’s programme, we’d like to collect some stories about the city from this time from our audience members. If you have anything you’d be happy to see printed in our show programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 0115 947 4361 and ask for Sinéad in Marketing.