Nottingham Playhouse next week presents its 50th anniversary revival of Tennessee Williams’ classic 1955 melodrama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the first production in its “around the world in 143 days” themed autumn/winter season, which also features a number of premieres.

Considered one of Williams' masterpieces, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is set in a Mississippi plantation house at the time of ailing Big Daddy's birthday party, an event which sets the scene for family recriminations and revelations. His son Brick, a former college sports star, is more upset about the death of his friend Skipper than the disintegration of his marriage to a sexually frustrated wife Maggie.

At Nottingham, Richard Baron directs the “scandalous” original version of the play, which is rarely performed though it was the one preferred by Williams himself. Dugald Bruce-Lockhart plays Brick with Lesley Harcourt as Maggie and Aaron Shirley as Big Daddy. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof runs at Nottingham from 2 to 24 September 2005 and then tours to Belgrade’s Coventry Theatre (28 September to 15 October) and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum (22 October to 19 November).


Back in Nottingham, the season continues with the UK premiere of 1001 Nights Now, for which nine writers of Middle Eastern origin have each written a story about refugee experiences. Alan Lyddiard directs the devised piece which will embark on a nationwide tour following its Nottingham run from 30 September to 15 October 2005.

Seamus Heaney’s 2004 translation of Sophocles’ Antigone, The Burial at Thebes, commissioned for the centenary of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, will receive its UK premiere at the Playhouse from 4 to 19 November 2005. It will be followed by panto legend Kenneth Alan Taylor returning for the 22nd year with Jack and the Beanstalk for a Christmas run from 25 November 2005 to 21 January 2006.

In the New Year, in a collaboration with London’s Sadler’s Wells, Nottingham resents the dance theatre piece, Tag - Me Versus the City, directed and choreographed by Jonzi D and running from 31 January to 4 February 2006. The season of in-house productions concludes with Robin Kingsland’s new stage adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel set in the German trenches of the First World War All Quiet on the Western Front. Directed by Playhouse artistic director Giles Croft, it runs from 10 to 25 February 2006.

- by Terri Paddock