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WUTHERING HEIGHTS Will Open at Royal & Derngate Ahead of a Spring Tour

Performances are from 24 Apr - 6 May.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Will Open at Royal & Derngate Ahead of a Spring Tour

Inspector Sands will tour their first mid-scale show in 2023 - a brand new contemporary adaptation of Emily Brontë's WUTHERING HEIGHTS, at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from 24 Apr - 6 May, with a National Press Night on Friday 28 April ahead of a UK tour, playing Oxford, London, Warwick and Newcastle.

Channelling Emily Brontë's piercing wit and fierce emotion, Inspector Sands present a retelling of this classic story of obsessive love and revenge in a thrilling new version for our times, drawing out themes of intergenerational trauma, radicalisation, and social exclusion...confronting audiences with urgent questions and home truths.

Told through the eyes and memories of housekeeper Nelly, alone in her kitchen during a long night of the soul, haunted by the story she relives again and again.

This new Inspector Sands' adaptation has been conceived and developed by founding members Lucinka Eisler and Ben Lewis with the script written by Ben Lewis and the production directed by Lucinka Eisler (Inspector Sands' Co-Artistic Director), the work has been a live collaboration from the outset. Designer Jamie Vartan (Evening Standard Award nominee for Misterman at the NT), will be bringing the moors and manors to life with integral sound design by Elena Peña (Misty, Bush and West End).

Lucinka Eisler said, "The show is ostensibly set in the 1750s of the story, but it is its contemporary resonances we are most drawn to, so the visual world, script and physical language all have a playful nod to a contemporary perspective on this classic. Brontë's novel illustrates the way violence, beliefs and family dynamics are passed down from generation to generation. In turn we look at the way the story we have inherited from Brontë speaks to the huge risks of ignoring history.

We're interested in treading the line between darkness and comedy where the most human of experiences seem to lie.

Elena's highly-charged sound design is central to the show's language, with a rich score composed of contemporary music and original soundscapes - it's a character in its own right! The experience will be highly sensory, with the violence in the novel transposed through live foley sound (played out on stage as part of the action) and the characters' internal worlds spilling out into the vast weatherscapes of the Yorkshire moors."

Inspector Sands was founded in 2005 and have become known for their irresistible mix of comedy and pathos in their detailed exploration of human behaviour. Their work integrates heightened fourth wall realism with a more expressionistic theatrical form, often using direct audience address and drawing strongly on elements of visual and sound design. Their work is entertaining and has wide appeal whilst also pushing the boundaries of form: a combination the company are thrilled to be bringing to a larger canvas. Exquisitely crafted physical performances and fearless comedy have been at the heart of Inspector Sands' work, allowing them to create an intimate relationship with a broad range of audiences. The company have previously performed at The National Theatre, Almeida, Lyric Hammersmith, Bristol Old Vic (Mayfest), Traverse, Southbank Centre, Summerhall, London International Mime Festival and BAC.

Ben Lewis said, "An 1848 review dismissed Wuthering Heights as "a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors" and whilst the centuries may have diminished its shock value, the novel is certainly weirder, more violent and complex than you'd expect a beloved classic and set-text staple to be.

While we absolutely want our version to be clear, accessible and engaging, we also want to capture some of that visceral, radical energy. Emily Brontë fearlessly challenges the power structures of gender, class, race, faith and our relationship with the natural world. This is not the bodice-ripping love story to which it can sometimes feel reduced: it is a portrait of an isolated rural community over time. And ultimately it's a story of the fundamental human need for love and belonging, and the tragic consequences of their absence."

China Plate have been long term producers and collaborators with Inspector Sands and are pleased to be continuing their collaboration with this exciting opportunity to upscale Inspector Sands' work. China Plate works with artists, venues, festivals and funders to develop, make and present engaging, adventurous and accessible new work. China Plate and Inspector Sands are co-producing Wuthering Heights and are joined by Royal & Derngate, Northampton (as part of Made in Northampton) and Oxford Playhouse.

James Dacre, Artistic Director, Royal & Derngate, Northampton said, "Over the past four years it has been thrilling to collaborate with Inspector Sands, one of the most innovative, provocative and skilful companies we've worked with. We're so proud that they will be the fifth independent theatre company making their MainStage debut at Royal & Derngate this season and look forward to sharing their unique interpretation of Wuthering Heights with audiences in Northamptonshire and on tour across the UK. And we can't imagine working with any better co-producing partners on this project than the brilliant China Plate and Oxford Playhouse."

Ed Collier, Co-Artistic Director, China Plate said, "It is vital that companies like Inspector Sands are given the funding and opportunity to develop work for the mid scale. The touring landscape in the UK is tough and the whole industry is still feeling the effects of the pandemic, all venues are under pressure. We are grateful and encouraged by the fierce support we've received from our co-producers The Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Oxford Playhouse and our touring partners during these turbulent times. We can't wait to bring Inspector Sands' multi-layered and innovative style to audiences across the UK."

Jamie Chapman Dixon, Interim CEO, Oxford Playhouse said, "Oxford Playhouse is incredibly excited to be teaming up with China Plate, Inspector Sands and Royal & Derngate to bring this fresh new take on Wuthering Heights to the stage. This is a project close to all of our hearts, and we cannot wait to share it with our audiences."

Full casting to be announced.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS is a China Plate, Inspector Sands, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Oxford Playhouse Co-Production.

Developed with UCLCulture, Bristol Old Vic Ferment, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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