Preview: Nottingham Playhouse's Unlocked Festival

Tuesday 06 October 2020
reading time: min, words

The theatre is back with an absolutely corking three-week festival...


Been missing the theatre? Us too. We’re mega excited to announce that Nottingham Playhouse are launching their Unlocked Festival – a three week celebration of live performance, with a big ol’ focus on the future. 

The festival, which sees the theatre raise its curtain for the first time since March, will have a huge variety of both live and live-streamed work with a programme that features razzle-dazzle world-class performers, local and brilliant East Midlands talent, specially commissioned productions and work in progress.

This summer, in preparation for the temporary reopening, a call was issued by the theatre for a new piece of work by an East Midlands artist/s or company. The entries were of such a heckin’ high standard that the judges decided to award two commissions instead of one.  These are Hand Me Down by hip-hop dance company Leicester based Wayward Thread and Shuck by Nottingham’s own theatre company LaPelle’s Factory. Hand Me Down uses dance and spoken word to tell the story of three friends on opposite sides of British identity who are pulled apart in an increasingly aggressive debate about race, whilst Shuck combines fun with fear to tell the haunting and terrifyingly true tale of a demonic dog that has affected the identity of writer Olwen Davies’s rural East Anglian community for hundreds of years.


In addition to the announcement of the commissions, the Playhouse has also revealed the casting for the world premiere of acclaimed playwright, James Graham’s new work Bubble. Pearl Mackie, who is best known for playing Bill Potts opposite Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who, will join forces with Jessica Raine, who played Jennie Lee in Call The Midwife, to star in this study of love in the time of COVID, in a comedy play that gives two different versions of a relationship coming under the stresses of lockdown – sounds highly relatable if you ask us.

In addition to the new commissions and James Graham’s new play the line-up for the three-week festival includes West End stars Rosalie Craig, Sandra Marvin and Jodie Prenger, East Midlands based writer Naomi Obeng’s new work about mixed-race identity and Mark Gatiss and Jade Anouka reading ghost stories on Halloween. Each of the talents featured has a particular relationship with Nottingham Playhouse and are proper excited about heading back to the main stage.


With social distancing measures in place a strictly limited number of in-person event tickets – with prices ranging from £10 - £25 – will be available to ensure that a safe environment is created for everyone. Aka, if you want to nab those tickets, you better get over to their website quicktime. Fear not if you can’t snag any though, as the events will also be streamed live for audiences to attend virtually, with prices ranging from £8 to £22.50. Our theatres need all the loving we can give them right now, and this festival is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Nottingham Playhouse’s Unlocked Festival takes place from Wednesday 21 October to Saturday 7 November

Nottingham Playhouse website

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