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Nottingham Stages Three Premieres, More Clough

By • West End
Nottingham Playhouse will present three world premieres – including a new play inspired by the Beatles’ White Album - as part of its spring/summer 2006 season.

At a press event held in London this week, artistic director Giles Croft and chief executive Stephanie Sirr presented the theatre’s plans alongside members of the creative teams for the three new pieces.

Robin Kingsland’s new stage adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front kicks off the schedule from 14 to 25 February 2006 (previews from 11 February). First published in 1928 and made into a film the following year, Remarque’s novel details the loss of youth and innocence behind enemy lines. Croft, who will direct the production, said: “It is profoundly moving and this is a really imaginative interpretation.”

The White Album, inspired by the Beatle’s seminal album, tracks one man’s journey through love and suicide, to the music of the legendary Sixties band. Michael Pinchbeck, who wrote The White Album, which runs from 22 March to 8 April 2006 (previews from 18 March), said: “I just thought it would be great to base a show around these amazing songs, but it’s in no way a homage to the album or a compilation musical. It is a play about a man who is going to commit suicide. We follow his journey through the songs to reach that point at the end of the album, following the needle round the disk and spinning off to tell stories as it goes.”

The third premiere, To Reach the Clouds, is adapted from the book by French aerialist and anarchist Philippe Petit, who tightrope-walked between New York City’s Twin Towers. The show’s sound designer and movement director, Matthew Bugg, said: “It is just an amazing story, and there’s that balance between total anarchy and basically criminal activity with this beautiful artistry.” The production runs from 21 June to 8 July 2006 (previews from 17 June).

In addition to the three new works, Spirit of the Man, the story of football legend Brian Clough, returns to the venue from 17 May to 10 June 2006, with a special gala performance on 16 May, following a regional tour. Stephen Lowe’s play premiered at the Nottingham Playhouse in June 2005 (See News, 3 Jun 2005), with Colin Tarrant starring as Clough.

Tarrant, who will reprise his performance for the new run, said: “Cloughie was a member of the national family, much like Ronnie Barker and George Best. He was a genuine football hero, and a genuine working class hero.” The tour opens on 1 March 2006 at Leicester Haymarket and then visits Cornwall, Richmond, Billingham, Brighton, Mold, Sunderland, Birmingham and Hull before returning home.

Speaking at the London press event, Croft said the fact audience numbers had increased at the venue proved people are willing to try new shows and don’t just want revivals. He added the season will be “really distinctive and profoundly exciting.”

- by Caroline Ansdell


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