Nottingham Playhouse opens it new spring/summer 2003 season tonight (7 February 2003) with a revival of Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, the first production from Eclipse Theatre, a major UK-wide black theatre initiative.

Moon on a Rainbow Shawl is the story of life on a Caribbean island in the 1950s and the protagonist Ephraim's struggle to leave. Trinidadian writer Errol John won the 1956 Observer play competition with this offering. The new production is directed by Paulette Randall whose recent work has included King Hedley II at Birmingham Rep and London's Tricycle Theatre. The 13-strong cast features Ram John Holder, best known for playing Pork-pie in the TV comedy Desmond's.

The Eclipse Theatre is inspired by the findings of the Eclipse report, issued after the June 2001 conference held in Nottingham to develop strategies for combatting racism in theatre. Moon on a Rainbow Shawl is the first of three major black productions that will be produced over the next three years by Nottingham Playhouse in conjunction with Ipswich's New Wolsey theatre and the Bristol Old Vic. The play opens in Nottingham, running from 7 to 22 February, ahead of a regional tour.

Back at the Playhouse, the spring/summer season continues, from 26 February to 8 March 2003, with a re-staging of artistic director Giles Croft's 2001 production of Robert Lepage's Polygraph (See News, 2 Nov 2001). Lepage's film noir tells of a murder case that haunts the lives of three people.

Polygraph is followed by Playhouse associate director Richard Baron's revival of Tom Stoppard's surreal comedy, Travesties (2 to 17 May) and then Croft's premiere production of The Day That Kevin Came by local writer Andy Barrett. In a Nottinghamshire ex-mining village turned upside-down by the filming of a Byron bio-pic, local tongues are wagging about the possibility of Kevin Costner playing the lead.

The last of Nottingham's in-house contributions to the season's programme is The Silver Sword, Ian Serrallier's fact-based story of life during and after the Second World War. Directed by Andrew Breakwell in his first main-stage production, it runs from 26 June to 12 July 2003.

There are also a number of visiting productions including three one-man shows from Stephen Berkoff (Shakespeare's Villains, Requiem for Ground Zero and One Man) and the RSC's adaptation of Salman Rushdie's literary epic, Midnight's Children.

- by Hannah Khalil