NED BENNETT’S BOLD NEW INTERPRETATION OF PETER SHAFFER’S ACCLAIMED PLAY EQUUS OPENS IN LONDON AHEAD OF UK TOUR
NATIONAL TOUR OF ETT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR RICHARD TWYMAN’S REIMAGINING OF OTHELLO INCLUDING MULTI-ARTS FESTIVAL THE OTHELLO PROJECT
2017 RTST SIR PETER HALL DIRECTOR AWARD WINNER CHELSEA WALKER’S CONTEMPORARY STAGING OF A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
NATHANIEL MARTELLO-WHITE, NADIR NAHDI AND ELIZABETH FREESTONE ANNOUNCED AS NEW ASSOCIATE ARTISTS
EXPANSION OF ARTIST DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, ETT FORGE
Richard Twyman, Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre, today announces the 2018-19 season ahead of the company’s 25th anniversary in September, with further productions and events to be announced throughout the year. This follows ETT and Mercury Theatre Colchester’s co-production of The Weir collecting the 2018 Manchester Theatre Award for Best Visiting Production on Friday.
The season begins with the previously announced A Streetcar Named Desire directed by 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner Chelsea Walker, a co-production with Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Theatr Clwyd, which opens at Nuffield Southampton Theatres on 28 March 2018 with previews from 23 March prior to a UK tour. This is followed by a revival of Twyman’s critically acclaimed reimagining of Othello (“a marvellous production – one of the best I have seen” Susannah Clapp, The Observer), a co-production with Oxford Playhouse and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (originally co-produced with Tobacco Factory Theatres), which opens at Oxford Playhouse on 20 September 2018, with previews from 18 September prior to a UK tour; and a new production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus directed by Ned Bennett, a co-production with Theatre Royal Stratford East, as part of Nadia Fall’s inaugural season at the theatre. The production opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 21 February 2019, with previews from 15 February, prior to a UK tour.
Richard Twyman said today, “As we approach ETT’s 25th anniversary we look excitedly to the future, re-defining ETT for a new generation of artists and audiences. The first three shows to be announced for 2018-19, will reimagine classic work for audiences throughout the country, and I’m thrilled to be sharing the work of two of the most exciting and accomplished directors to emerge in recent years on main stages across the nation – Chelsea Walker, who directs A Streetcar Named Desire and Ned Bennett, who directs Equus. I’m delighted that alongside the tour of Othello, our nationwide multi-arts festival, The Othello Project, curated by journalist and cultural organiser Abdul-Rehman Malik, furthers our commitment to making work with diverse communities.
Alongside bold productions of seminal plays, reaching over 20 cities nationwide, we will further ETT’s support of new artists and approaches to touring. This year sees the expansion of ETT Forge to a country-wide platform for emerging touring theatre makers; the launch of ETT Forge Associates, our new yearly commitment to grow the touring work of three brilliant companies and producers; and three new Associate Artists joining the company – Nathaniel Martello-White, Nadir Nahdi and Elizabeth Freestone. All three are exceptional artists in their field, original, fearless voices that will help shape ETT’s future.”
To accompany the UK tour of Othello, ETT, alongside journalist and activist Abdul-Rehman Malik,will curate a multi-art festival in response to the production at each venue. The festivals will give a platform to some of the most exciting Muslim artists and writers working in the UK today, shining a light on the contemporary relevance of the play, breaking down barriers to Shakespeare and championing cross-cultural dialogue amongst communities. The project will feature work from spoken word artist, Tanya Muneera Williams and is presented in association with Amal – a project of the Said Foundation. Further details about the festivals will be announced soon.
ETT announces three new Associate Artists joining the company in its anniversary year, Nathaniel Martello-White, Nadir Nahdi and Elizabeth Freestone. Nathaniel Martello-White is a playwright and actor, whose play Torn was staged at the Royal Court in 2016 in a production directed by Richard Twyman, and who will support the development of new voices at ETT. Nadir Nahdi is a filmmaker and the founder of BENI, a You Tube channel highlighting young people from diverse backgrounds, who previously worked with ETT on The Othello Project and will help to shape the company’s digital strategy. Director Elizabeth Freestone is the former Artistic Director of Pentabus and a Mentor for Women in the Arts, she brings with her a wealth of experience in touring, specifically to rural communities.
The company also announces the expansion of ETT Forge, including the launch of ETT Forge Associates, a scheme designed to establish a deep rooted and meaningful relationship with three exceptional companies or individuals each year from across the UK who are looking to grow in scale and ambition, building stronger national relationships. This year’s ETT Forge Associates are Antic Face, Common and Alison Holder.
The expansion of ETT Forge broadens the reach of the programme regionally and enhances the support available to companies and producers with a proven commitment to touring. Through skills workshops and peer to peer networking opportunities, online resources, development time in ETT’s studios and curated industry sharing’s, ETT Forge provides a toolkit to support the future of touring in the UK. The new scheme opens for registration today, Monday 12 March, and will be open to all UK based companies and producers who can demonstrate a commitment to touring their work.
An English Touring Theatre, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Theatr Clwyd co-production
Supported by a grant from The Royal Theatrical Support Trust
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
by Tennessee Williams
Director: Chelsea Walker; Designer Georgia Lowe
UK tour 23 March – 16 June 2018
Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire is directed by 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner Chelsea Walker with a cast including Nicole Agada (Woman/Nurse), Will Bliss (Steve), Dexter Flanders (Mitch), Kelly Gough (Blanche), Amber James (Stella), Patrick Knowles (Stanley), Maria Louis (Eunice) and Joe Manjón (Pablo/Doctor/Paperboy).
The second production in the inaugural season at NST City, A Streetcar Named Desire opens at Nuffield Southampton Theatres on 28 March with previews from 23 March, running until 31 March. The production will tour the UK with English Touring Theatre ahead of opening at Theatr Clwyd, where it plays from 15 March until 2 June, before returning to NST City.
“Every man is a king.” Stanley is no exception.
Until one summer, when his sister-in-law Blanche comes to stay.
Anxious, seductive and fiercely clever, Blanche is just about keeping it together.
But her arrival threatens Stanley’s entire way of life.
As the summer heats up, and the games turn savage, a burning desire threatens to tear their world apart.
A bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ timeless classic, this is a raging portrayal of what it means to be an outsider, in a society where we’re all desperate to belong.
After the run at Nuffield Southampton Theatres, and preceding a run at Theatr Clwyd, A Streetcar Named Desire tours to Theatre by the Lake, Malvern Theatres, Bristol Old Vic, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Cambridge Arts Theatre and Oxford Playhouse before returning to Southampton.
Chelsea Walker directs A Streetcar Named Desire as the winner of the 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award. She directed the first major revival of Low Level Panic by Clare McIntyre at the Orange Tree Theatre last year. Her previous directing credits include P’yongyang by In-Sook Chappell and Chicken Dust by Ben Weatherill (Finborough Theatre), Klippies by Jess Sian (Southwark Playhouse) and Lean by Isley Lynn (Tristan Bates Theatre). She was also the Assistant Director on Wild by Mike Bartlett (Hampstead Theatre), Routes by Rachel De-Lahay (Royal Court Theatre) and The Little Mermaid, adapted by Joel Horwood (Bristol Old Vic). She was a runner up in the JMK Young Directors’ Award 2016, is a director on the Old Vic 12, and is a script reader for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
English Touring Theatre, Oxford Playhouse and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory present
By William Shakespeare
UK tour 18 September – 24 November 2018
Director: Richard Twyman; Designer: Georgia Lowe; Creative Advisor: Abdul-Rehman Malik
Following a critically acclaimed Bristol and London run, English Touring Theatre revives Richard Twyman’s vital production of Othello in a co-production with Oxford Playhouse and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory. The production opens at Oxford Playhouse on 20 September and tours to Harrogate Theatre, Cast in Doncaster, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, The New Wolsey Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre and Lighthouse Poole.
Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most startlingly contemporary plays – a masterful depiction of a life torn apart by prejudice.
Venice; a western colonial power employs the newly-married Othello, a Muslim general, to lead their army against the impending Turkish invasion. The strain of fitting into a society riven by discrimination and fear soon take their toll. Manipulated by Iago, Othello’s life quickly unravels as he turns on everything he holds dear.
Originally co-produced with Tobacco Factory Theatres.
Richard Twyman is Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre for which he has directed Othello (also Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory/Tobacco Factory Theatres). Prior to this he was Associate Director (International) at the Royal Court Theatre between 2013-2016, where his directing work included Torn, Harrogate (also HighTide and UK tour), You For Me For You, Fireworks, The Djinns of Eidgah and PIIGS. His other theatre credits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Tokyo) Henry IV Pt II (RSC), Ditch (Old Vic Tunnels and HighTide), Dr Marigold & Mr Chops (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre) and Give Me Your Hand (Irish Rep, New York – nomination for the Drama Desk Award 2012 for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Experience). Between 2003 and 2008 he worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was Associate Director to Michael Boyd on the multi-award winning Histories Cycle and for which he directed Henry IV Pt II.
English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East present
By Peter Shaffer
UK tour from 15 February 2019
Director: Ned Bennett
Award winning director Ned Bennett brings Peter Shaffer’s psychological thriller Equus to the stage in a bold new production of the critically-acclaimed classic. The co-production with Theatre Royal Stratford East opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 16 February before embarking on a UK tour, with venues and dates to be announced.
When teenager Alan Strang’s pathological fascination leads him to blind six horses, psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive behind the boy’s violent act. As Dysart delves into Alan’s world of twisted spirituality, passion and sexuality, he begins to question his own sanity and motivations in a world driven by consumerism.
Sir Peter Shaffer’s (1926 – 2016) plays include The Salt Land, The Prodigal Father, Balance of Terror, Five Finger Exercise (Evening Standard Drama Award), The Private Ear, The Public Eye, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Black Comedy, White Lies, The Battle of Shrivings, Yonadab, The Gift of the Gorgon, Lettice and Lovage and Amadeus (Evening Standard Drama Award and Tony Award for Best Play). His plays adapted for film include Five Finger Exercise, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equusand Amadeus (Academy Award for Best Picture), for television The Salt Land and Balance of Terror,and for radio The Prodigal Father and Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing?. In 1994, Shaffer was Visiting Professor of Contemporary Drama at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. He was awarded the CBE in 1987 and was knighted in 2001.
Ned Bennett directs Equus. He is an award-winning theatre director, who trained at the Royal Court, the National Theatre and LAMDA. His work includes the Evening Standard Award-winning An Octoroon, which opened at the Orange Tree Theatre in Spring 2017 and will transfer to the Dorfman in Summer 2018, and Buggy Baby which opened at the Yard Theatre in March of this year. He directed the Bruntwood Prize-winning Yen at the Manchester Royal Exchange which transferred to the Royal Court in 2016, and Pomona which was commissioned by the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and transferred to the Orange Tree, and then to the National Theatre. Pomona and Yen won Bennett the UKT Best Director award 2015. Pomona won four Off-West End awards: Best Director, Best Production, Best New Play and Best Lighting Design.
English Touring Theatre
English Touring Theatre is one of the UK’s leading touring companies, winning the UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production in 2014, 2015 and 2016. ETT works with exciting artists to stage an eclectic mix of new and classic work for audiences throughout the UK and overseas; theatre that is thrilling, popular and engaged in the contemporary world. At the heart of everything ETT does is the passionately held belief that everyone, wherever they are in the country, deserves to have access to world class theatre. In 2017 ETT toured to 40 venues throughout the UK, with productions including Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living, Richard Twyman’s critically acclaimed production of Othello and the 20th anniversary tour of The Weir, which finished its nationwide tour this year, winning the Manchester Theatre Award for Best Visiting Production. 2018 sees the company celebrate its 25th anniversary.
ETT Associate Artists
Nathaniel Marthello-White’s first play Blackta was produced at the Young Vic in a sold-out (and extended) run directed by David Lan, for which Nathaniel was nominated for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright. Torn, his second play, was produced at the Royal Courtdirected by Richard Twyman. He wrote and directed a short film Cla’am for Acme Films/ Creative England/ BBC Films, which premiered at SXSW 2017, where it was nominated for a Grand Jury Award. The film went on to win Best UK Short at London’s Raindance Festival.
Nadir Nahdi is the founder of BENI, a YouTube Channel highlighting young people from diverse backgrounds through meaningful and unique content. His YouTube channel aims to celebrate the power of human connection, as he presents his fans with an intimate insight into misrepresented people and their cultures. After finishing his MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics, Nadir spent time working in London for Chatham House and Amman for the United Nations. He then did a U-turn and began working for various media start-ups and other YouTube channels, with the plan to build a career using digital platforms to combat misunderstanding and promote diversity.
Elizabeth Freestone is a British director whose current productions include Henry V (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory) and The Rape of Lucrece (Gate Theatre, Dublin). From 2012-16 she was Artistic Director of Pentabus Theatre Company, for whom she commissioned and directed many new plays and created a pioneering playwriting programme. World premières include As The Crow Flies by Hattie Naylor, Here I Belong by Matt Hartley, The Lone Pine Club by Alice Birch, Each Slow Dusk by Rory Mullarkey, Milked by Simon Longman and In This Place by Lydia Adetunji. Her previous directing credits include Here Lies Mary Spindler, The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes, The Comedy of Errors and The Rape of Lucrece (RSC), House and Garden (Watermill), The Duchess of Malfi, Doctor Faustus, The School for Scandal and Volpone (Greenwich Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe and European tour). Elizabeth has also worked as Artist in Residence and Director on Attachment at the National Theatre Studio and as Senior Reader at Hampstead Theatre and the RSC. Elizabeth is a Mentor for Women in the Arts, supporting female students in emerging leadership roles, and is also a Board Member for the National Rural Touring Forum. She did a major study on the gender imbalance in theatre published in The Guardian and has also written pieces about the impact of live-streaming on live theatre, the funding disparity between urban and rural companies, and the importance and difficulties of touring.
ETT Forge Associates
Antic Face was founded by Co-Artistic Directors Emma Hall and Charlie Parham. The company was formed with twin aims: to redress a gender imbalance that persists in all fields of theatrical practice and to provide a collaborative platform for young people seeking to enter the profession in any capacity. With a strong focus on the text, the company is committed both to revisiting the classics and bringing them to a young audience, and to promoting new writing.
Alison Holder is an independent producer with her own audio production company, LunAH Productions. She is also company producer for Helen Chadwick Song Theatre and is currently based at the Bush Theatre. Current projects include Booby’s Bay (Finborough Theatre, Wardrobe Theatre), TRUTH (Birmingham Rep and National tour) and audio project Barnardo’s Black History. Previously Alison has worked with The Shout (Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival) and has also worked in various positions at the Almeida Theatre and Young Vic under the artistic directorship of Michael Attenborough and David Lan respectively.
COMMON is an arts organisation which exists to support the UK theatre industry in achieving greater socio-economic diversity, and ensure that artists from working-class backgrounds have equal opportunity to build sustainable careers in theatre. Through direct engagement with working-class artists across the country, they identify structural barriers that these artists face, which can be directly attributed to their socio-economic status. They then collaborate with partner organisations to create practical opportunities aimed at supporting the professional development of working-class artists in specific regions. Their support gives artists, who may not have the resources to do so independently, the crucial skills and experience they need to build progressive and sustainable careers in theatre, helping make the arts more accessible to those from less advantage backgrounds. COMMON is led by David Loumgair, a working-class theatre director and production dramaturg from the Scottish Borders, alongside Executive Producer Ailbhe Treacy.
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – 2018
23 – 31 March
Theatre By the Lake, Keswick
3 – 7 April
10 – 14 April
Bristol Old Vic
17 – 21 April
New Wolsley Theatre, Ipswich
24 – 28 April
Cambridge Arts Theatre
1 – 5 May
8 – 12 May
Theatr Clwyd, Mold
15 May – 2 June
5 – 16 June
OTHELLO – 2018
18 September – 22 September
25 – 29 September
Cast in Doncaster
2 – 6 October
Lawrence Batley Theatre
9 – 13 October
Everyman Theatre Cheltenham
16 – 20 October
Box Office: 01242 572573 /
Oldham Coliseum Theatre
23 – 27 October
Wolsey Theatre Ipswich
30 October – 3 November
Warwick Arts Centre
6 – 10 November
Box Office: 024 7652 4524 /
20 – 24 November
EQUUS – 2019
Theatre Royal Stratford East
15 February – 23 March
Further dates and venues to be announced.