English Touring Theatre and NTG to Launch 2014 UK Revival Tour of Globe's IN EXTREMIS
English Touring Theatre has announced its partnership with 8 major large scale venues to form the National Touring Group (NTG). The NTG will tour three large scale, high quality productions between 2014-2016, especially to areas of low cultural participation and who rely on touring for their arts provision. All three tours will be remounts of critically acclaimed work which audiences nationwide would not otherwise have the chance to see. NTG, led by ETT, applied and won a grant of £1.14m from ACE to carry out this work.
After a highly successful UK tour of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre production of Anne Boleyn in 2012 (co-produced with The Globe Theatre itself), the group were determined to continue providing their audiences with this kind of ambitious work, and carry on the momentum that this tour created in building drama audiences throughout the country.
The NTG has announced that its first tour will be Shakespeare's Globe Theatre's critically acclaimed production of Howard Brenton's In Extremis, the love story of Abelard and Heloise, which will play at venues across the UK in Spring 2014. In Extremis will reunite the original creative team (also responsible for Anne Boleyn) including director John Dove and designer Michael Taylor. First produced by the Globe in 2006, and revived thanks to popular acclaim in 2007, this retelling of the story of Abelard and Heloise received an initially limited run.
The NTG venues are the Blackpool Grand, Darlington Civic Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Theatre Royal Brighton, Marlowe Theatre Canterbury, Malvern Theatres and the Wolverhampton Grand.
ETT Director Rachel Tackley said about the announcement: "ETT is thrilled to be leading this major new initiative in giving audiences nationwide the chance to see work of outstanding quality and ambition. The formation of the NTG is a natural progression in our relationships with these much loved venues and audiences, and we very much look forward to giving a further life to shows which deserve to be seen across the country."
Full details about the tour and casting to be announced.
The National Touring Group (NTG), a consortium of major regional theatres and a producer, will work together to produce and tour ambitious high quality, large scale drama to audiences across England, particularly to some geographic areas of low cultural participation. By developing audiences it will make touring more sustainable for the future.
The NTG is a network of eight presenting venues and one producing company; none of these venues is funded to produce theatre and they came together as the NTG to take ownership of the work presented to their audiences, and to give their audiences access to work that they would otherwise not have the chance to see. The NTG will seize this opportunity to bring large scale, bold work to these audiences.
All NTG productions will be remounts of existing work which has received an exceptional response from audiences and critics but which has not yet toured. The NTG will bring this work to a wider audience, giving audiences nationwide the opportunity to see drama of this quality, stature and scale. The further exploitation of this successful work will ensure that it reaches the maximum number of people, providing a financially efficient collaboration between producers, promoters and presenting venues.
NTG successfully applied for an Arts Council England (ACE) grant of £1,140,587, awarded as part of ACE's sixth funding round of its Strategic Touring Programme of 2012-13.
The NTG members are:
ETT - Under the leadership of Rachel Tackley, English Touring Theatre is the UK's leading touring theatre company, working nationally and internationally to present stimulating and ambitious theatre to the widest possible audience. ETT works with leading directors, actors and artists to stage a broad repertoire from classics to completely new work; theatre that is vivid, popular and, above all, entertaining. The company carries out the majority of its work on the mid-large scale and is dedicated to uniting large audiences in the experience of theatre. Its membership of the NTG will be an integral part of that identity and is entirely in line with ETT's recognised status as a company which is passionate about regional audiences and national touring.
Blackpool Grand - The Blackpool Grand seats 1053 and presents comedy, musicals, dance and variety performances throughout the year. Following a hugely enthusiastic response to Anne Boleyn, the theatre welcomes this opportunity to be able to provide audiences with three more years of fantastic theatre.
Darlington Civic Theatre - Darlington Civic Theatre is an 893 seat receiving house, equipped to take mid and mid-large scale touring productions. It is the only theatre of its size in the Tees Valley and a very significant proportion of its audience is drawn from Teesside, identified by ACE as an area of lesser engagement.
Hall for Cornwall - Hall for Cornwall (HfC) is Cornwall's only large scale (969 capacity), purpose built theatre. Opened in 1997 using National Lottery funding, HfC brings high quality touring performances west of Plymouth and into Cornwall, enriching the culture of the region and giving Cornish residents and visitors access to a spectrum of local, national and international artistry
Cambridge Arts Theatre is avenue which presents a variety of drama. It is the only presenting venue in the region and therefore is the sole drama provider for audiences living within its catchment area.
Theatre Royal Brighton - The 976 seat Theatre Royal Brighton is the South Coast's most prestigious theatre and is widely recognised as one of the country's leading venues. Anne Boleyn helped the theatre reach new audiences, a momentum it hopes to build on with further NTG productions.
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury - The (new) Marlowe Theatre's policy aims to broaden the programme, include high quality innovative work, and develop and increase audiences with an emphasis on younger people and the disadvantaged. With an auditorium of 1200 seats, excellent acoustics, and a sense of intimacy and close engagement throughout, there is considerable opportunity to expand and develop The Marlowe's drama programme. Working with the NTG will help achieve this through the accessible style of the company's work and its innovative approach to play choice, as illustrated by this project. There is a lack of high quality touring plays to help venues develop audiences so being part of the NTG would be a welcome addition to The Marlowe's programme.
Malvern Theatres - Malvern Theatres is an unsubsidised venue which provides a programme of dance, cinema, theatre, comedy and music for its community, housed in one large scale theatre and one flexible space. The venue's experience of presenting Anne Boleyn suggests there is a huge appetite for this kind of work within the local audience.
Wolverhampton Grand is a 1200 seat venue which presents a range of touring productions, including theatre, musicals and comedy. Membership of the NTG will give audiences consistent opportunities to revisit the theatre and give the venue the chance to build its drama audience.