York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Derby Theatre and Mercury Theatre, Colchester are delighted to announce a new partnership to develop theatre for younger audiences. The companies will commission and co-produce an original mid-scale production each year from 2019-2022, which will play in all the consortium venues as well as touring nationally.
Next year the theatre companies will launch the consortium with the premiere of Sabrina Mahfouz’s new adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s acclaimed novel Noughts & Crosses. The production will be directed by Esther Richardson, Pilot Theatre’s Artistic Director, and follows on from Pilot and York Theatre Royal’s acclaimed production of Brighton Rock.
Told from the perspectives of teenagers, Noughts & Crossesis a captivating love story set in a racially segregated society teetering on a volatile knife edge. The play will premiere with a two-week run at Derby Theatre from the 1-16 February 2019 and will then embark on a national tour.
Pilot’s Artistic Director Esther Richardson said:
“In the current climate, it is more important than ever that there’s a space in mainstream theatre for relevant contemporary work for young audiences. We are so thrilled and excited to be working with these excellent companies from across the country on a bold programme of new work.”
Sarah Brigham (Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Derby Theatre) said:
“We are delighted to be working with Pilot Theatre on this exciting new adaptation of Noughts and Crosses. It is a seminal book for young people, with many adults loving it also, and Pilot are an exciting company under the visionary direction of Esther Richardson, so we look forward immensely to launching this fresh new production.”
Playwright Sabrina Mahfouz added:
"As a young adult, Noughts & Crosses showed me the power storytelling can have in highlighting injustice in the world, so it is a complete honour to now be adapting the legendary Malorie Blackman's words for the stage, alongside the bold vision of Pilot Theatre and partners."
In Spring 2020 the consortium will follow up Noughts & Crosses with the second of their four planned productions, Alex Wheatle’s Crongton Knights.
Schools workshops and outreach projects, along with free digital learning resources, will be available alongside each of the productions.