HighTide Festival Riding High in HalesworthDate: 25 March 2011
Halesworth in Suffolk has an arts centre, The Cut, which offers a mixture of programmes, including theatre. Since 2007 it has also been home to HighTide, a theatre festival now under the patronage of directors Sam Mendes, Stephen Daldry, Nicholas Hytner and Richard Eyre and actress Juliet Stevenson.. The programme for the 2011 festival has just been announced; it runs from 28 April until 8 May and offers some interesting premières.
The first of these is Dusk Rings a Bell by Stephen Belber, a young American playwright whose theme is the attempt to re-ignite a romance from two decades past. Then Andrew Motion, the former poet laureate, makes his début as a playwright with a controversial work about the war in Afghanistan. Incoming tells the story of a soldier killed in Afghanistan, his grieving widow and their young son. It is a powerful examination of the disturbing issues surrounding war and how hard it can be for those left behind.
This will be followed by Nicked, a musical with words by the performance poet [Richard Marsh,] and with an original, urban soundtrack by Natalia Sheppard. It’s directed by Pia Furtado.,This has Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, as its central character and a supporting cast of other well-known politicians. A brazen, political, intelligent and infectious show which offers politics you can dance to says the publicity. The question is – will any of them come to see themselves on stage?
The final new play of the season is Midnight Your Time by Adam Brace. It reunites the entire creative team behind HighTide's Stovepipe, the festival’s most successful production to date. It will star Diana Quick. The festival’s director Steven Atkinson this has taken his staging from last year of Lidless by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig to London’s Trafalgar Studios. He must surely be hoping for a similar outcome from this year's HighTide.