Gill Comes Home to Riverside to Mark BirthdayDate: 6 August 2009
Riverside Studios is staging a play by its founding director Peter Gill for the first time in nearly 30 years to mark the playwright's 70th birthday. The York Realist, directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, opens on 23 September 2009 (preview 22 September) and continues until 11 October.
Gill was appointed the first artistic director of Riverside Studios when it became an arts centre in 1976, following the BBC's departure from the venue (it had been used as a film and then television studio since 1933). His first production was a critically acclaimed version of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, and he enjoyed a successful four-year tenure before being appointed an associate director at the National Theatre, where he went on to establish the NT Studio in 1985.
His own plays include Cardiff East, Kick for Touch, Certain Young Men, Small Change and Another Door Closed, currently receiving its world premiere at the Theatre Royal Bath (See News, 17 Mar 2009).
The York Realist premiered in 2001 at The Lowry, produced by English Touring Theatre, and went on to be performed at Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Court and subsequently transferred to the Strand Theatre. Set on the brink of major social change in the early 1960s, the play is the poignant love story of two young men from diverse backgrounds - one a farm labourer, one a theatre director - who are pulled apart by cultural barriers and family allegiances.
The production is presented by Good Night Out Presents, resident company of the Cock Tavern Theatre, and directed by artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher. It's designed by Kate Guinness, with lighting by Steve Lowe.
Peter Gill will participate in a post-show discussion with the director on 30 September, and on 2 October Guardian critic Michael Billington and Bush artistic director Josie Rourke will lead a discussion on the theme of 'Class and Theatre'.