English Touring Theatre has announced its Spring 2017 season, which features the world première of Silver Lining, a new comedy written by comedienne and presenter Sandi Toksvig, and a tour of the critically acclaimed Olivier Award winning Shakespeare’s Globe production of Nell Gwynn, starring Laura Pitt-Pulford in the title role. It is the final season under the stewardship of Director Rachel Tackley, who is leaving the company to become Executive Director of Chichester Festival Theatre. Richard Twyman takes over, having been Associate Director (International) of the Royal Court Theatre since 2013.
Silver Lining, directed by Rebecca Gatward, is a co-production with Rose Theatre Kingston, where it opens on 8 February before touring to New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, Oxford Playhouse, Cambridge Arts Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Theatre by the Lake, York Theatre Royal and the Lowry, while Nell Gwynn opens at the Lowry on 1 March before performances at Theatre Royal Brighton, Malvern Theatre, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, The Grand Blackpool, Edinburgh Kings Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath.
Tackley commented: “When I was given Silver Lining by the amazing Sandi Toksvig I found myself laughing out loud by page two. It puts strong, resilient woman centre stage and presents some fabulous parts for older actresses, this was clearly an opportunity not to be missed! It’s funny, beautiful and thought-provoking.”
She continued: “Following this will be a UK tour of Olivier Award-winning Best New Comedy, Nell Gwynn, as part of the National Touring Group (NTG). The NTG was set up by ETT with regional partners in order to bring large scale ambitious and engaging theatre to audiences across the UK. After catching a very early preview of Nell Gwynn, I thought it fitted the bill perfectly. It’s fun, clever and was a great success in the West End, I am confident that audiences nationwide will love it too.
“Written by two supremely talented women, both plays are lively and witty and are the perfect note for my time as Director of English Touring Theatre to end on. It’s been a real joy and I eagerly look forward to Richard Twyman’s first season as Director of the company.”
Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, Emma Rice, said: “I couldn’t be more delighted to see Jessica Swale’s witty, saucy and tender Nell Gwynn tour with English Touring Theatre. Jessica’s spectacular comedy is simply irresistible and brings a lost world of theatre, monarchy and politics to such vivid life, that I was transported from the off. Joyful, surprising and delicious, I hope that as many audiences as possible can experience this landmark production. Here’s to Nell and all the power, passion and pleasure she brings. The UK is in for a treat!”
Images: Justin Van Vliet | BBC