Nottingham Playhouse Spring 2020 Graphic

REVEALED: Nottingham Playhouse announces Spring 2020 season

Monday 23rd September 2019

Nottingham Playhouse has announced its spring 2020 season, which includes musical legends, TV stars, gripping new writing, hilarious comedies and a brand-new musical.

New announcements include:
• TV and theatre star Jenna Russell to bring a musical legend to life in Piaf
• New play First Touch to tackle the footballing world’s child sex abuse scandal
• Hilarious, quick-witted comedy Moonlight and Magnolias
• Tickets now on sale for performances of Oliver Twist – the latest tour from the Ramps on the Moon consortium
• The creation of new West End musical Identical – based on novel The Parent Trap.

Tony-nominated and Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell (EastEnders and Sunday in the Park with George) will be taking to the stage in Piaf in May 2020. She will bring to life the sensational, world-renowned Edith Piaf, whose most famous songs include La Vie en Rose and Je Ne Regrette Rien. Pam Gems’ play explores the extraordinary life led by Piaf – from singing in the streets to becoming one of France’s biggest international stars.

Piaf is a co-production with Leeds Playhouse and will be directed by Adam Penford (An Enemy of the People, The Madness of George III). Nottingham Playhouse will also transform its auditorium into a Parisian bar, with the opportunity to book cabaret-style seating for performances.

Adam Penford, Artistic Director for Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Nottingham Playhouse produced Piaf in the 1980s and I’m thrilled to be bringing this lively play back to the theatre. It takes a real star to capture the legend that is Edith Piaf and Jenna Russell is one of the UK theatre’s most beguiling actor-singers. She has a unique talent for bringing fragility, spirit and charisma to every role she tackles. Nottingham’s in for a magical night at the theatre.”

In February there will be also be a new production of farcical comedy Moonlight and Magnolias. When the producer of Gone with the Wind scrapped the script three weeks into filming, he tasked a new director and screenwriter to create a new one. Hilariously they only had five days to achieve cinematic magic, and this play speculates what happened behind the locked doors of an office with just peanuts and bananas for food.

The play will be directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward (director of Groan Ups in the West End, a new play by the award-winning team behind The Play That Goes Wrong), who previously worked on Nottingham Playhouse’s Shebeen as dramaturg.

*Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, commented: * “With this season we’re proud to showcase the range of fascinating stories that we will bring to life here in Nottingham – from showcasing major new talent to reviving absolute classics.”

After previously announcing it had commissioned new writing from stage and screenwriter Nathaniel Price (Noughts and Crosses, BBC and Tin Star, Sky) Nottingham Playhouse can now confirm First Touch will make its stage debut in June.

It’s 1980 and Clayton James, a 17 year-old Nottingham lad, seems to have the world at his feet after being offered a professional contract at a First Division football club. During an era of racism, hooliganism and Thatcher’s administration, his dual-heritage family are facing an uncertain future and Clayton’s success may hold some relief. However, when his former coach suddenly re-enters his life, Clayton is forced to confront a past he had tried to bury.

The summer will also see the world premiere of a ‘twinsational’ new musical, destined for London’s West End. Identical will be co-produced between Nottingham Playhouse and Kenny Wax Ltd (producer of the ‘Goes Wrong‘ shows and the new musical phenomenon SIX) and directed by the Olivier and Tony award-winning Sir Trevor Nunn (responsible for some of the greatest hits in the world, including Les Misérables, Starlight Express, Cats and Sunset Boulevard).

Identical is based on the novel The Parent Trap by Erich Kastner, which inspired Disney films featuring Hayley Mills in 1961 and Lindsay Lohan in 1998. It tells the story of twin girls separated at birth, reunited by chance at a summer camp 10 years later. In an attempt to re-join their divorced parents, they decide to exchange identities.

The new show features music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, (the multi award-winning writers of the Olivier award-winning National Theatre hit Honk!, who also created a new score for the international smash-hit Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins), with a book by Stuart Paterson.

*Producer Kenny Wax says: *“It’s a wildly ambitious project which will stand or fall on whether we can cast identical twins who the audience cannot tell apart. Without that, there will be no show. So our challenge over the next nine months is to scour the country and leave no stone unturned until we find our Lottie and Lisa.”

Auditions for identical twins will take place in London on Saturday 5 October and in Nottingham on Saturday 26 October.

William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice will also be brought bang-up-to-date in the first ever co-production between Nottingham Playhouse and Lakeside Arts. The play – directed by Martin Berry – will be transported to the modern-day Goose Fair, delivering a tale of greed, poverty and personal vendetta with no-nonsense Nottingham spirit.

In April, Nottingham Playhouse will welcome a new adaptation of Oliver Twist, as part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium. The play, based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, will be brought to life with creative sign language, audio description and captioning – placing D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the heart of the project.

Ramps on the Moon is a consortium of seven major UK theatres plus partner company Graeae. Each year, one of the organisations creates a new large-scale production which champions diversity both on and off stage, most recently Nottingham Playhouse’s production of Our Country’s Good in March 2018. 2020 is the turn of Leeds Playhouse and Oliver Twist will be adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery and directed by Amy Leach.

Director Amy Leach, said: “Oliver Twist will give an integrated ensemble cast of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors the opportunity to play a brilliantly varied range of characters and showcase a wide range of talents.”

Tickets for Michael Morpurgo’s award-winning Private Peaceful are also on sale, with performances running from March. The new adaptation by Simon Reade, which has been written for an ensemble of actors, follows the Peaceful brothers, Tommo and Charlie, after they both fall for the same girl just as the Great War begins. The production will be directed by Anna Ledwich (Kiss Me, Trafalgar Studios and No One Will Tell Me How to Start A Revolution, Hampstead Theatre).

It has now been announced that Private Peaceful will travel to Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre for performances between Tuesday 21– Saturday 25 April, and Plymouth’s Theatre Royal 28 April – 2 May.

Arriving in Nottingham in March is Poet in da Corner by Debris Stevenson – one of Nottingham Playhouse’s former associate artists. It tells the story of how a young girl’s life is changed after she is given Dizzee Rascal’s ground-breaking album Boy in da Corner. This dynamic production combines music, dance, spoken word – and features grime MC Jammz and SS Vyper. Poet in da Corner will be directed by Ola Ince, is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and the Royal Court Theatre, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, in association with Nottingham Playhouse and Leicester Curve.

Continuing Nottingham Playhouse’s link to emerging artists, Amplify Festival will take February by storm – with a line-up of fresh new work from some of the region’s most exciting new artists. The festival is produced by Amplify – Nottingham Playhouse’s Artist Development Programme, and will include a programme of workshops led by the industry’s most-prominent practitioners.

Holes will also return to Nottingham Playhouse in February. Based on the award-winning novel and the Hollywood blockbuster, the production was hailed as “a fast-paced and inventive family show” by The Stage when it was first produced by the Playhouse back in spring 2018. It now returns as part of a UK tour that will tell the story of Stanley Yelnats, who is cursed with bad luck and sent to a labour camp for a crime he didn’t commit.

A new term of Nottingham Playhouse’s Classes and Courses will start after a successful debut this year. Eleven classes, led by industry professionals, will take place between February and April. The quirky and unique sessions range from song writing and stage fighting to prosthetic makeup and ballroom dancing.

Nottingham Playhouse Spring 2020 shows are on sale to Playhouse Pass members from Monday 23 September 2019, following a launch event held in the Playhouse’s auditorium. Tickets will go on general sale from Monday 7 October 2019.