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Adam Penford announces first season at Nottingham Playhouse

Adam Penford, artistic director designate of Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse is delighted to announce Adam Penford’s first season as Artistic Director, including multi-award winning drama The Madness of George III starring Mark Gatiss.

Nottingham Playhouse’s new Artistic Director, Adam Penford, has announced an ambitious programme for his first year in post, bringing some of the UK’s best actors, directors and playwrights to the city as well as providing a platform for Nottingham’s artists and theatre makers.

Nottingham Playhouse’s Chief Executive Stephanie Sirr said; “This season marks the launch of a new era for Nottingham Playhouse – we’re very pleased to welcome Adam and tremendously excited by the wonderful season he has put together.”

Adam’s return to his home town of Nottingham follows an incredibly successful career directing for some of the UK’s most exciting theatres including the National Theatre, The Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Watermill Theatre, and Found111.

In his new role, Adam has revealed a total of eight brand new productions for the Playhouse’s main stage, as well as announcing a new production for the Neville Studio and a series of initiatives to support artist development and new writing. The 2018 programme also has a strong focus on accessibility.

“Ultimately, the Playhouse belongs to the community and our audiences. They own it. That’s what we have to honour and that’s what makes it such an exciting place,” said Adam.

Not only is 2018 my first year, it’s also the Playhouse’s 70th anniversary, an important milestone for us all and a great opportunity to take risks and produce shows that open up the theatre to new audiences.

“I think many people come to the theatre because it offers them a window onto the world, or for escapism, or to expand their horizons and challenge their ideas. So alongside local stories we’ll also be presenting work that looks at the world through a wider lens.”

In February, Penford’s first production as Artistic Director is Wonderland by Beth Steel, a gripping play that takes a 360° look at the events of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

Featuring creative use of audio description, captioning and British Sign Language interpretation, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, a co-production with UK Theatre Award 2017 nominated initiative Ramps on the Moon, follows in March.

Based on his own award-winning novel, Louis Sachar’s family show Holes provides a quirky adventure for Easter. Completing the Spring line up is the world premiere of Shebeen – a new play by Nottingham writer Mufaro Makubika and directed by Matthew Xia – that sees a forbidden party in 1958 St. Ann’s, under threat from the police.

The Autumn will see an ultra-stylish new production of the hit Broadway musical Sweet Charity, directed by Bill Buckhurst and featuring choreography by Alistair David. This is followed by Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport, telling the poignant story of a child refugee sent to England in the months leading up to World War II.

Mark Gatiss as King George in The Madness of King George III

The culmination of the Autumn’s main stage programme will be Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III starring Olivier award-winner Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who, Wolf Hall).

Commenting on the production, Mark Gatiss said: “It’s a wonderful play with an epic feel and yet Alan Bennett makes it into a rather touching domestic drama too. 

“For me, working with Adam was a major part of why I was attracted to the production. I hope people have a great time. It’s a very funny play and deeply moving, I’m thrilled to be doing it.”

Adam’s first year is rounded off with a panto: Kenneth Alan Taylor’s Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.

The Playhouse is also developing a new intergenerational project Being Old, directed by Fiona Buffini that will culminate in a film screening in the Neville Studio.

Adam has also announced the first Neville Studio production under his tenure as Artistic Director: Lava by James Fritz, co-produced with Associate Artists Fifth Word.

Fiona Buffini, Associate Director, said: “Lava is our fourth collaboration with Fifth Word, reflecting our commitment both to staging excellent new writing and to helping local companies develop.”

The commitment to new writing is complemented with a reinvigorated artist development programme called Amplify that is designed to provide a pathway of opportunity to assist artists through their career. The programme includes advice surgeries, workshops, feedback on performances, as well as development time, Scratch Nights and the annual Playground Festival in the Neville Studio, alongside the Playhouse’s Associate Artists scheme.

Fiona continued: “The Neville Studio provides a home to great theatre, dance and performance that is produced both locally and nationally. It provides a space for artists to develop their work, and for local people of all ages to take part in a wide range of creative activities.”

As well as announcing new productions and the Amplify artist development programme, Adam is also on the hunt for homegrown acting talent.

He said: “We’re immensely proud that Nottinghamshire has produced and is home to a huge number of talented actors. As we begin a fresh chapter, we’re looking to expand our casting pool for future projects by meeting a host of local talent.”

General auditions are open to performers who have trained or worked professionally. Applicants must be over 18, either born, raised or currently living in Nottinghamshire and available on the following dates:

London based performers: Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 October.

Nottinghamshire based performers: Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 October.

To apply, send CV and headshot or Spotlight link for the attention of Vicky Richardson, Casting Director to casting@nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk by: Tuesday 3 October.

For more information visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

Posted on 26 September 2017

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