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RARE BIRDS to Receive Workshop Production

RARE BIRDS to Receive Workshop Production

North East poet Natalie Scott has been awarded Arts Council funding to develop her collection of dramatic monologues RARE BIRDS - VOICES OF HOLLOWAY PRISON for the stage. Scott will workshop the piece with director Simon Greiff, and a team of award-winning composers and West End actors, culminating in a special showcase sharing at Soho Theatre on 17th May.

Devised and directed by Greiff, RARE BIRDS creatively re-imagines the story of Holloway Prison's first one hundred years through the voices of prisoners, staff and others connected to its history, in order to explore some of the injustices of the penal system during this period. The piece will bring to life well-known voices such as Ruth Ellis, Sylvia Pankhurst, Albert Pierrepoint, Emily Wilding Davison, WT Stead and Edith Thompson, plus a host of lesser-known names, to tell Holloway's rich and gripping story in an unforgettable new way.

RARE BIRDS features new songs, based on the poems, by an eclectic award-winning group of composers including Rebecca Applin, Pippa Cleary, Jen Green, Kate Marlais, Grant Olding, George Stiles, Tim Sutton, Sarah Travis, Michael Webborn (who also MDs), Caroline Wigmore and Laurence Mark Wythe.

The stellar cast includes Olivier-nominee Rachel John (Hamilton), Martyn Ellis (Twelfth Night), Danielle Hope (Snow White), Wendi Peters (Quartet), Oliver Savile (Wicked) and Simon Thomas (Eugenius).

On receiving the award, Natalie said, "I was astonished, delighted and very grateful to receive more funding to realise this stage of the project. The poems were written with performance in mind, so it's great that they will get to tread the boards. I was keen to work with Simon as we shared a vision for the project from the outset. I'm so excited that some of the poems will be musicalised...and can't wait to hear the songs!"

Simon said, "On reading Natalie's extraordinary collection of poems I instinctively felt that we had to bring these fascinating stories to life, and by creating a theatrical setting (using music, speech and movement), the memories and experiences of these historic, incredible people can live on in front of our very eyes."

Individual poems from RARE BIRDS have received competition accolades and publication in over fifteen international literary journals. Award-winning independent publisher Valley Press will release the collection later this year.

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