Pentabus Theatre Company and New Perspectives Present CROSSINGS

As we approach the centenary of the Armistice of 1918, leading rural touring companies New Perspectives and Pentabus have joined forces for the first time to explore the legacies of conflict and the unexpected stories that emerge from war. Shifting between 1919 and 2019, this subversive piece of new writing by award-winning Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan looks at solace across the century: those who have found refuge in the English countryside from more recent conflicts in Sarajevo, and those who turned to women's clothing to escape the bravado and brutality of military life in the WW1 trenches.

Crossings is inspired by real-life occurrences of cross dressing in the military, and on conversations with Bosnian and Baltic communities in rural areas that the show will tour to.

In 1919, Badgersbridge Village Hall is Margaret's domain and the last place she expected to come face to face with Grace; a cross-dressing soldier who knew and loved Margaret's brother. Through this chance meeting their two lives collide resulting in an unlikely pairing that will change the course of both of their futures. Fast forward to 2019. Sean can't find his mother to meet Mirjana from the care company, here to help her stay in her own home. Mirjana is from Sarajevo, but has lived in the village since escaping the war there as a teenager. The village hall has been her solace and proves an unlikely link between them.

Deirdre Kinahan is an Irish playwright currently under commission to Manhattan Theatre Club (New York), Fishamble Theatre Company (Ireland), The Old Vic (London), and Solas Nua Theatre Company Washington DC. Her work for stage includes her Fringe First winning Halcyon Days (2013), and her radio work includes A Bag of Ballyfinch Place (BBC).

With ninety years of experience of theatre-making between them, this will be the first collaboration between East Midlands company New Perspectives and West Midlands company Pentabus, two of the top theatre companies creating work for rural touring.

Artistic Director of New Perspectives Jack McNamara said, "Pentabus and New Perspectives have had strong affinities for decades, and a partnership between us feels long overdue. We are thrilled to finally be collaborating with this exceptional playwright to explore an alternative take on the legacy of WW1. It is a story that challenges the masculine stereotype of the returning veteran whilst also reminding us of war's persistent presence in the modern day."

Artistic Director of Pentabus Theatre Company Sophie Motley added, "I'm really thrilled that we are working in collaboration with New Perspectives. Rural touring is the mainstay of our work, and sharing the breadth of the Midlands as well as touring nationally is a feat. We're looking forwards to sharing Deirdre Kinahan's delicate, touching, gently challenging piece of work with village hall audiences all over the country."

Pentabus is a Shropshire based company and is the only professional theatre company in the UK whose vision is singularly rural. The company tours new plays about the contemporary rural world to new audiences in village halls, fields, festivals and theatres, telling stories with local relevance and national impact. Over four and a half decades they've produced 170 new plays, reached over 550,000 audience members, won a prestigious South Bank Show award for their show about racism, a Fringe First for their play about climate change and were the first to live stream from a village hall. They have hosted an annual writer in residence since 2014 who have gone on to be commissioned by the Royal Court, Birmingham Rep, Royal Welsh College and the Bush.

New Perspectives is an East Midlands based company with over 40 years' experience of touring high quality productions to venues of all sizes across the UK, from mid-scale theatres to village halls. With a strong rural core, they create productions to fit spaces of any size in order to bring new work that is unexpected and thought-provoking to a wide range of audiences. Since 2012, they have been led by Artistic Director Jack McNamara whose productions include The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh and Soho Theatre), The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin (Brits Off Broadway, New York and UK tour), and Darkness Darkness (Nottingham Playhouse co-production). They are currently touring the Stage Award winning The Fisherman and A Fortunate Man, both of which had highly successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs this year.

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