Nuffield to Produce THE SAINTS by Luke Barnes, Aug 1-17
Nuffield will premiere The Saints in August 2014, a newly commissioned play, written by Luke Barnes and directed by Matthew Dunster (Mametz, National Theatre Wales; The Frontline, The Lightning Child, The Globe; Love And Money, Young Vic and Royal Exchange), about the highs and lows of following Southampton Football Club, and in particular, the pivotal role of football within regional cities across the country. Taking place in Nuffield Playing Field, a specially built pop-up theatre which combines outdoor stadium with Jacobean venue, the production explores the unequivocally theatrical experience of attending a football match, from the sense of spectacle and occasion to the intimacy and power of crowd behaviour and the sense of belonging and community this creates.
Scarlett Alice Johnson will play the role of Emily. Scarlett has previously played Vicki Fowler in Eastenders and is more recently known for her leading role as Laura in the BBC series Pram Face. The cast also includes Claire-Louise Cordwell, Tendayi Jembere and Will Stokes.
Sam Hodges, Creative and Executive Director of Nuffield, said:
"As Nuffield and the city celebrate their joint 50th birthday, I can't think of a better party than a project which marries two of its greatest strengths - culture and football, with Southampton's community the essential revellers and guests. For Nuffield, this is the start of a commitment to work in and across the city on a regular basis and to work in and with the community. We're delighted to be partnering with the Saints Foundation on this project and through our portfolio of youth work"
Writer, Luke Barnes, said:
"Theatre is an event and the opportunity to work with one of Britain's best producing theatre companies, on a play about the best sport in the world, about one of Britain's best footballing institutions in a purpose built stadium with one of the best directors in country was something I could never in a million years pass on. It's a privilege and honour to be involved with these people, this project and this city."
Throughout this year, Nuffield has collaborated with the Saints Foundation running a new drama club for young people. The project which runs weekly enables young people from a variety of backgrounds to access drama in a much broader way than is covered in formal education. Nuffield is also working with Saints Foundation choirs, engaging them in performances of The Saints. This community element will be a key part of the production, with the members of the choirs taking the role of football fans and working with the professional team behind the show, including sessions with director Matthew Dunster.
Head of Saints Foundation, Mark Abrahams, said:
"We're delighted to be working with Nuffield on such an innovative project. Football and culture has the unique ability to create profound emotions amongst people, and The Saints will certainly celebrate the impact of both. The personal journey of supporting your Club resonates with all football fans, and we look forward to seeing the play in such an inspirational location."
Nuffield Playing Field is designed by ASSEMBLE architects, the company behind Chichester Festival Theatre's Theatre on the Fly, and will start to be constructed on 30 June. The production is part of the Art at the Heart festival, which runs throughout August and which Nuffield is producing. The festival celebrates the 50th anniversaries of both Nuffield and the City of Southampton.
Michael Thew, Chairman of the Ex Saints Foundation, said:
"30 June sees the start of construction of Nuffield Playing Field, and some of the first construction will be undertaken by some of the ex-players of Southampton Football Club; players including Matt le Tissier, Hughie Fisher and Francis Benali. The Saints is a fantastic way of getting people involved in remembering the history of both the City of Southampton and our great football culture and the club's achievements!"
Tickets can be booked through Nuffield's Box Office: 023 8067 1771 / nuffieldtheatre.co.uk