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World premiere of Howard Brenton play to open new Southampton theatre

Samuel Hodges will direct The Shadow Factory, which is set during the Battle of Britain

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Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
© M. Zhu / Flickr

The world premiere of Howard Brenton's The Shadow Factory will open Southampton's new theatre, the NST City in February.

Directed by Samuel Hodges, artistic director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, the play is set in the autumn of 1940 during the Battle of Britain and is about the devastation reigned on Southampton, the home of the Spitfire.

Hodges said today: "We famously live in a particularly segregated country right now – and our political leaders do nothing to reassure us that cohesion and empathy will be at the forefront. This story is both epic in its power and impact, but also incredibly human."

Brenton added: "We may be uncertain about what is going to happen in the next few years. But our present anxiety pales beside the dire straits the townspeople found themselves in during the September of 1940.

"I've written characters across the generations, with scenes in Government bunkers, the town and partying on the Common as bombs fall. It was an extraordinary display of common determination. If chaos returns to Britain, we should remember its example."

The NST City is part of Studio 144, a new £28m venue in Southampton's city centre. The building will include a 450 seat main house and a 135 seat studio, as well as screening facilities, rehearsal and workshop spaces.

The Shadow Factory runs at the NST City, Southampton from 16 February to 2 March.

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