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Samantha Bond, Tom Hiddleston Among Nuffield's Associate Actors; 2014-15 Season to Feature Coen Brothers' THE HUDSUCKER PROXY

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Samantha Bond, Tom Hiddleston Among Nuffield's Associate Actors; 2014-15 Season to Feature Coen Brothers' THE HUDSUCKER PROXY

Nuffield Creative and Executive Director, Sam Hodges, announces the company's 50th anniversary season marked by the appointment of a team of new Associate Actors, to join the current team of Associates.

Nuffield's new Associate Actors are Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Tom Hiddleston and Celia Imrie. Samantha Bond originally found fame on Nuffield's main stage in the world premiere of Daisy Pulls It Off before it transferred to the West End and Laura Carmichael, who made her West End debut in 2012, is from Southampton and starred in Nuffield's 2008 production of The President's Holiday. The Associate Actors will act as ambassadors for the company and support the new vision for Nuffield as the leading producing theatre company in Southampton.

Samantha Bond said: "I spent the most glorious nine months at the Nuffield Theatre in 1982-83. I am thrilled to now be an Associate Actor and look forward to supporting Sam Hodges and the Company at the beginning of their next 'awfully big adventure!' Happy 50th birthday!"

Tom Hiddleston said: "Sam Hodges has made an extraordinary habit of revolutionising theatre-making in my generation. He founded the HighTide Festival, a crucial platform for new writers to produce and present their first plays, and revitalised the Criterion Theatre in the West End with exciting new programming. His first season at Nuffield has been unerringly strong. The work speaks for itself. Nuffield feels revitalised with fresh, new creative ambition. It's going from strength to strength and I am proud to support it every step of the way."

Celia Imrie said: "I am very flattered to be invited to be an Associate Actress of Nuffield, I am looking forward to being a part of an adventurous new chapter where we can do work that has never been seen before, and give the audiences delicious surprises along the way."

The new season features four new commissions, including the world premiere of the stage adaptation of the classic Coen Brothers' film The Hudsucker Proxy. The new play has been adapted by Simon Dormandy and will be co-directed by Dormandy and Toby Sedgwick, in a co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, where it will transfer following its Nuffield run. Nuffield's new partnership with Royal & Derngate, Northampton, sees writers and composers co-writing new Christmas shows for the two venues, with comedy writer Georgia Pritchett (The Thick of It, Veep) paired with musical composer Dougal Irvine to write a fresh, irreverent and funny version of The Snow Queen for Christmas 2014. Ella Hickson (Wendy and Peter Pan, Boys) has also been commissioned to write a new show based on the legends of Merlin which will come to Nuffield in Christmas 2015.

The critically acclaimed Nuffield production of Caryl Churchill's A Number, directed by Nuffield Associate Michael Longhurst and designed by Nuffield Associate Tom Scutt, will transfer to the Young Vic in London in April, after returning to Nuffield for a limited two week run, launching the return of Nuffield's 'pop-up' studio space, designed to sit on the main stage. Following the success of the space in February 2014, Nuffield will mount a season of studio work in February and March 2015, featuring the return of the Fulcrum Festival, a development programme aimed at supporting the creation of small-scale work, and high quality touring work, to be announced later in the year.

The new season begins on 1 August with The Saints, a newly commissioned play about the highs and lows of following Southampton Football Club, written by award-winning young playwright Luke Barnes and directed by Matthew Dunster, exploring the pivotal role of football within regional cities across the country. The play will be the flagship production of the Art at the Heart festival, a collaboration between Southampton's leading arts organisations, produced by Nuffield and will take place at Nuffield's specially commissioned pop-up venue in Southampton city centre, Nuffield Playing Field, designed and built by ASSEMBLE architects.

The Festival will also see the world premiere of a new adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's short story The Best Christmas Present in the World. The adaptation written by Oliver Birch will be performed by Hampshire Youth Theatre, the county's annual prestigious youth theatre programme, run by Nuffield.

Nuffield Youth Theatre will return to the Nuffield main stage in June 2015, with a production of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, performing both parts in repertory over the course of three weeks.

Sam Hodges said: "For our 50th birthday season, we wanted to programme work which reflects our ambitions for the next half century. It's a season which places a strong emphasis on commission and new work, a season which develops new partnerships with some of the country's leading theatres, which marks what I hope will be the start of a regular presence for our work in London, and a season of work which speaks to the city - whether directly, through a play about its football club (The Saints), or psychologically, through a play which speaks to its industrial past and legacy, a play about man versus big business (The Hudsucker Proxy). It crucially continues our commitment to make work beyond our main house with not only the return of our bespoke small-scale studio but the installation of a new open-air, mini stadium in the city centre, to host our summer festival of work. In both cases, our ambition to create sustainable, long-term new dimensions for Nuffield work which can and will return."

This autumn will see a host of leading touring companies visit Nuffield, including: Headlong's hit West End production of 1984, Frantic Assembly's Othello and ATC's production of David Greig's The Events.

This season also sees the launch of Nuffield's new Artist Development programme, Nuffield Laboratory. This programme will support artists to create exciting new work through creative residencies and will offer masterclasses with world-class creatives, mentoring and development opportunities with Nuffield's Associate Directors, Designer and Writer, and an annual programme of scratch nights and networking events. Through Nuffield Laboratory, the company will also develop a range of new pieces of theatre inspired by scientific research, in collaboration with University of Southampton researchers.

Nuffield has once again received Arts Council England National Portfolio status and will receive £1.6m of funding over three years from 2015 - 2018. Nuffield has also been successful in its capital bid for £180,000 which will be spent on the redevelopment of the theatre's backstage and technical areas in 2014.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: "This award will help Nuffield carry out the essential work needed to produce high quality contemporary theatre for audiences in Southampton and further afield. By investing £180,000 through our National Lottery-funded Capital programme, we are helping to secure the future for the organisation."

PLEASE NOTE: Priority booking for Nuffield Friends and Members will open on Monday 14 July. Tickets will go on general sale for Nuffield Guest productions from 14 July and Nuffield productions from Thursday 24 July.

NUFFIELD PRODUCTIONS:

The Saints

By Luke Barnes

Directed by Matthew Dunster

Produced by Nuffield

Dates: 1 - 17 August 2014

Venue: Nuffield Playing Field, Guildhall Square

Tickets: £15.00; concessions available

The Best Christmas Present in the World

By Michael Morpurgo; adapted by Oliver Birch

Directed by Max Lindsay

Produced by Hampshire Youth Theatre (Nuffield)

Dates: 14 - 16 August 2014

Venue: Nuffield Playing Field, Guildhall Square

Tickets: £12.50; concessions available

The Snow Queen

By Hans Christian Andersen; adapted by Georgia Pritchett

Co-produced by Nuffield and Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Dates: 27 November 2014 - 4 January 2015

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

Tickets: £10.00 - £22.00

A Number

By Caryl Churchill

Directed by Michael Longhurst

Designed by Tom Scutt

Co-produced by Nuffield and Young Vic

Dates: 30 March - 11 April 2015 Dates: April 2015

Venue: Nuffield Theatre Venue: Young Vic, London

Tickets: £15.00 Tickets: From £10

The Hudsucker Proxy

Adapted by Simon Dormandy from the Coen Brothers' film

Co-produced by Nuffield and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Dates: 4 - 30 May 2015 Dates: TBA

Venue: Nuffield Theatre Venue: Liverpool Playhouse

Tickets: £10.00 - £25.00 Tickets: TBA

His Dark Materials

By Philip Pullman, adapted by Nicholas Wright

Directed by Max Lindsay

Produced by Nuffield Youth Theatre

Dates: 22 June - 11 July 2015

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

NUFFIELD GUEST COMPANIES:

The Events

By David Greig

Directed by Ramin Gray

An ATC Production

Dates: 18 - 20 September 2014

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

Tickets: £10.00 - £25.00

Three Men in a Boat

By Jerome K Jerome

Adapted and directed by Craig Gilbert

An Original Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds production

Dates: 30 September - 4 October 2014

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

Tickets: £10.00 - £25.00

1984

By George Orwell

A new adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan

A Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre co-production

Dates: 7 - 11 October 2014

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

Tickets: £10.00 - £25.00

Othello

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Scott Graham

A Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth Production

Dates: 14 - 18 October 2014

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

Tickets: £10.00 - £25.00

Charlie & Lola's Best Bestest Play

Watershed Productions present the BBC Worldwide and Polka Theatre production based on the characters created by Lauren Child adapted by Jonathan Lloyd

Dates: 29 October - 1 November 2014

Venue: Nuffield Theatre

Tickets: £12.00, family ticket £40.00

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

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