Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, today announces their new season for 2018. This announcement also marks the opening of the brand new NST City, NST’s newly built theatre in Southampton’s city centre. Their 2018 season of work will be spread across both the new venue and their original home, NST Campus.
The season is comprised of four world premières: Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory, which launches the new season in NST City; SS Mendi Dancing the Death Drill, adapted from the book by Fred Khumalo and part of 14-18 NOW the UK’s arts programme for the WW1 centenary; a new version of Aristophanes’ comedy Women in Power; and a new musical adaptation of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy.
A bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ classic, A Streetcar Named Desire, is the second production staged in the new venue. Directed by 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner Chelsea Walker, this co-production with Theatr Clwyd and English Touring Theatre opens at NST on 23 March before heading out on a major UK tour.
This is followed by SS Mendi Dancing the Death, adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan and created with the Capetown-based Isango Ensemble, commemorating an untold tragedy from WW1, that took place off the coast of Southampton. The play opens on 29 June, in a co-production with Hackney Empire and co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW. This will be followed by the second Now-Here festival, which this year focuses on historical whitewashing.
Women in Power, inspired by the Aristophanes comedy, Assemblywomen, will feature music, dance, poetry and stand-up comedy, written by a company of leading female voices. NST Associate, Blanche McIntyre returns to NST for the fifth time to direct the production opening on 8 September.
Tom Burke stars in a co-production of Don Carlos with Exeter Northcott and Rose Theatre Kingston. Friedrich Schiller’s masterpiece, translated by Robert David MacDonald opens on 16 October at Exeter Northcott, 23 October at NST City and 6 November at Rose Theatre Kingston. Gadi Roll directs.
Finally, NST have commissioned the first ever stage adaptation of David Walliams’ bestseller Billionaire Boy. Luke Sheppard (In The Heights, Adrian Mole) directs the production which opens on 19 November. Miranda Cooper, one of the UK’s most successful pop writers of all time, will write the music.
In addition, May brings a workshop musical adaptation of hit cult film, Son of Rambow, directed by Hodges, featuring an original 80s pop soundtrack by Cooper and book by Richard Marsh. This runs at London’s The Other Palace.
NST will also be expanding its core programme to introduce music, film, dance and circus, as well as continuing and expanding its comedy and spoken word strands. To underpin this expansion, NST is excited to announce two new associates to join its existing roster, rising dance star Drew McOnie, will join as Dance Associate and Nigerian poet Inua Ellams joins as Poetry and Spoken Word Associate.
NST will launch a new pop-up music collective, The Space Between Collective, to accompany leading rock and pop acts from around the country. The opening Space Between concert will feature the rock group Band of Skulls. NST City will also host Blueprint, a new festival of jazz and The Gateway Sessions, regular monthly music events showcasing the very best of local musical talent across multiple genres. Full line-ups will be announced every month.
A brand new dance programme will see the world-renowned Hofesh Shechter Company perform in Southampton for the first time, alongside Sleuth, a new show by NST’s new resident dance company, ZoieLogic.
The nascent film programme will feature an event cinema strand, including NT Live screenings, and a new season of Best of Bollywood, with entries voted for in a regional competition.
Finally, NST are proud to open a new studio theatre as part of NST City, which will feature the very best studio scale theatre from all over the country two of which, Palmyra and Noisy Holiday, were supported through NST’s artist development programme, Laboratory.
NST are also delighted to announce a new partnership with Digital Theatre +, which will feature the creation of new digital content and documentary, educational workshops and screenings, and a commitment to pool resources in order to innovate in the field of digital storytelling.
NST will continue to build and grow its artist development programme, Laboratory, providing local and national opportunities through scratch performances, research and development support and the Laboratory Associates scheme now going into its third year, which uniquely attaches a director, producer and full design team to the theatre in order to create peer-to-peer relationships.
Following the appointment of Annelie Powell as Head of Casting, NST will look to establish a pool of local professional actors and will be running auditions for actors who currently live in the post code areas of SO, PO and BH. NST will also be interested to hear from professional actors who are originally from the area but no longer live locally. Full detail will be available on our website in mid December.
Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, said today, “2018 is an exciting year for the theatre as we open Southampton’s brand new city-centre theatre, NST City, a second venue to build on the success of NST Campus. I am very proud of our inaugural season that features four world premieres, international collaborations, both new talent and household names, untold local stories of national significance, and a brand new programme of studio theatre, music, comedy, film, circus and dance across our two venues.
This season marks a seismic step change for NST and for the city of Southampton’s cultural life. It is a season which champions new work, in the knowledge that theatre can respond most urgently to the world we live in today. A season which looks back to ancient Greece, to 16th century Spain, to both World Wars, and even to 1980s Reading in order to talk about what’s important today. It asks questions about historical whitewashing, about consent, about community, and about faith. It’s going to be a big year.”