WYP Debuts Teevan’s Basra, Stages MockingbirdDate: 25 July 2006
Duncan Preston stars in a stage version of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, John Webster’s revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi receives a new production directed by Philip Franks, and the world premiere of Colin Teevan’s How Many Miles to Basra? features in the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s new autumn/winter season.
In the Playhouse’s Courtyard theatre, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird kicks off the season, running from 13 September to 7 October 2006 (previews from 8 September), in a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Touring Consortium and Watershed Productions. The coming-of-age, social drama has been adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel and provides an insight into small-town America during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
To Kill a Mockingbird stars Duncan Preston (Acorn Antiques, Dinnerladies) as widowed lawyer Atticus Finch, whose children wake up to the prejudice and hypocrisy surrounding them for the first time in their sleepy Alabama town. The play is directed by Michael Buffong.
The literary adaptation is followed, from 28 September to 21 October 2006 (previews from 23 September), by the world premiere of Colin Teevan’s new play How Many Miles to Basra?, directed by WYP artistic director Ian Brown. The play has been adapted for the stage from the acclaimed BBC Radio 3 drama. With the current position of British soldiers in Iraq under constant criticism and review, Teevan’s play goes behind the headlines to give a journalist’s experiences ‘in the field’ a week after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Teevan’s other plays include Buffalo Bill Has Gone to Alaska, IPH, The Walls and The Bee, which opened at the Soho Theatre this summer.
The Wizard of Oz comes to Leeds for Christmas 2006, playing in the Courtyard from 6 December 2006 (previews from 25 November) to 3 February 2007. The stage version of the 1939 MGM film musical based on L Frank Baum’s novel premiered three years ago at Birmingham Rep, where it returned last year. This new co-production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, the Rep’s new artistic director, and designed by Peter McKintosh.
In WYP’s Quarry Theatre, John Webster’s Jacobean tragedy The Duchess of Malfi runs from 25 October to 11 November 2006 (previews from 20 October), directed by Philip Franks (Nicholas Nickleby at Chichester). The play tells of a young widow who marries her steward Antonio against the wishes of her brothers, and the trouble and destruction that ensues as the brothers exact their revenge.
Flat Stanley, based on the popular children’s book by the late Jeff Brown, receives a new stage adaptation care of Mike Kenny as specially commissioned by WYP with Polka Theatre. It premieres in Leeds on 12 December 2006 (previews from 8 December) and continues to 13 January 2007. Stanley is just a normal healthy boy, but since a large notice-board fell on him, he’s been only half an inch thick. Gail McIntyre, associate director of young people’s theatre at the Playhouse, directs.
The Hound of the Baskervilles is brought to the stage in a new version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mystery by David Ives for Peepolykus. The Peepolykus band of three (John Nicholson, Javier Marzan and David Sant) celebrates their tenth anniversary this year. This WYP co-production with Bristol Old Vic and Neal Street Productions, directed by Julian Webber, premieres at the Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre from 15 January to 10 February 2007.
Visiting productions include: Amanda Whittington’s Ladies’ Day, Out of Joint’s The Overwhelming, Foursight’s Thatcher the Musical and National Theatre of Scotland’s The Wolves in the Wall in the Courtyard; and Kneehigh’s Cymbeline in the Quarry.
- by Caroline Ansdell