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On the day that theatres across the country begin to emerge from a year of darkness, Nottingham Playhouse reveals its full programming for a bright Summer ahead.  The cornucopia of treats on offer comprises both digital and live performances, moving from socially distanced seating to a fully reopened auditorium from July.


Highlights include -

  • Pam Gems’ sensational and emotionally-charged play PIAF, starring West End star Jenna Russell.
  • An enchanting outdoor production of Shakespeare’s magical masterpiece THE TEMPEST.
  • Louis Doherty’s one-man fantasy adventure BOAR,performed in Nottingham Playhouse auditorium foran in-person audienceand streamed live to a digital audience as part of the ongoing Spring Loaded Festival.
  • THE GREATEST PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, a universal love story that celebrates the human race in all its glorious messiness, confusion and joy starring Julie Hesmondhalgh

· Theatre for and by young people from MAY FAMILY FEST weekend to NT CONNECTIONS FESTIVAL 2021

  • STREET FOOD POP-UPS in the theatre forecourt

Nottingham Playhouse today announces a packed Summer programme as the theatre reopens its doors to the public.  With an eclectic collection that welcomes both live and digital audiences, the shows and events on offer embrace musical, classical and contemporary work, both inside the theatre and outdoors, this celebration of live work includes something for everyone

Adam Penford, Artistic Director for Nottingham Playhouse, says:

“Although we've been making work throughout the pandemic, we're on tenterhooks to welcome a live audience back into the venue - the first time since October and particularly after our pantomime, Cinderella, wasn't able to play to a live audience. Piaf is a vibrant, life-affirming story, with wonderful music, about overcoming the obstacles life throws at you - the perfect show for this summer.”

As part of the ongoing Spring Loaded Festival, on Thursday 27 May Lewis Doherty’s BOAR hits the stage and marks the first return of audiences in person to Nottingham Playhouse since last Autumn.  Welcome to the Kingdom of Skadi. A place of adventure, a distant land where pirates, bounty hunters and thieves do battle in a world on the brink of destruction.With the King’s daughter captured by an evil dragon, who will survive in this quest of epic proportions and formidable consequences? Armed with just himself and a chair, Doherty presents this one-man fantasy adventure tale. Prepare for arrows to roll and heads to fly in this action packed hour of swords, sorcery and swill!

From 29 -30 May FAMILY FEST returns to Nottingham Playhouse with a packed programme of activities for kids of all ages to enjoy. In person workshops range from drama to dance, drawing to drumming and there’s also an online library full of fun for the family.

Following a sell-out run in 2019, a thrilling new version of Sophie Ellerby’sLIT has been specially filmed on the Nottingham Playhouse stage for a digital audience.  The play explores the turbulent teenage years of a girl looking for love in all the wrong places, and reunites director Stef O’Driscoll with rising star Eve Austin – reprising her role as Bex following a nomination for Best Actress in a New Play (Broadway World Awards). LIT becomes available online from 1 June with a Watch Party launch that evening. 

From June 3 to 5 June NT CONNECTIONS FESTIVAL comes to Nottingham Playhouse. Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the UK’s most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow.  Over three days, six companies of young people will take over the whole Nottingham Playhouse building, with many activities and sessions to get involved in. With a fun photo booth, Q&As with industry professionals, workshops, poster walls, pop-up stages, professional headshots/photographs and chill out spaces, and performances on the Playhouses’ stage, this is set to be a celebration of the power of live theatre and a showcase for the names of the future.

In mid- June from 15 to 19,Nottingham Playhouse hostsTHE GREATEST PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.  A universal love story that celebrates the human race in all its glorious messiness, confusion and joy, the production stars BAFTA nominated Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Broadchurch).A man wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains he can see no signs of life at all…other than a light in the house opposite where a woman in an over-sized Bowie T-shirt stands, looking back at him.  In 2018 the play won the coveted Stage Edinburgh Award Winner and was an Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show.

NOTTINGHAM PUPPET FESTIVALcomes to Nottingham Playhouse on June 26 with Ditto Theatre’s production of ROCKET GIRL. This exciting visual street theatre – staged around Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror outside Nottingham Playhouse – isa stunning exploration the wonders of space travel and our galaxy presented through the movement, play and puppetry.

Nottingham Playhouse’s major Summer production is PIAF which runs from July 2– 17. The auditorium is transformed into a Parisian cabaret club for Pam Gems’ sensational and emotionally-charged play starring Tony nominee Jenna Russell.  The production explores the highs and lows of the enigmatic yet fragile life of French chanteuse Edith Piaf and features some of her most famous songs, including La Vie en Rose, Hymne à l’amour and Non, Je Ne RegretteRien. Directed by Nottingham Playhouse Artistic Director Adam Penford, this is a co-production with Leeds Playhouse.

Nottingham Playhouse goes outdoors from August 4 - 7with Shakespeare’s magical and enigmatic play, THE TEMPEST.  Adapted and directed by Nottingham Playhouse Head of Participation Martin Berry, this open-air theatre experience will transport the audience to a land of mischief and mayhem. When sorceress Prospero uses her powers to conjure an almighty storm, the survivors of a shipwreck are left deserted on a remote island… or so they think. The group soon discover an enchanting world of fairies and mythical beasts awaits them in this tale of feuding families and falling in love. Using just a few props and some speedy costume changes, our cast of four Nottingham actors bring to life all of the mad-cap characters in this action-packed, 80 minute version of Shakespeare’s final play.

Back by popular demand on 7 September the celebrated Reggae show RUSH returns. The production tells the story of Reggae from the arrival of the Windrush Generation from Jamaica – bringing their stories, history and music with them to the present day, showing how the music evolved through the decades to take the world by storm. Narrated by comedian John Simmit, the show features ska, rock steady, calypso, gospel, lovers rock, dancehall and reggae – all played live by the JA Reggae Band. Rush features music from the likes of Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Toots & The Maytals, Prince Buster, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Lord Kitchener, Millie Small and many more.

Rounding off Summer at Nottingham Playhouse, on 8 September comes the eagerly awaited MAJOR LABIA, rescheduled from the 2020 Unlocked Festival.  Major Labia is a comedy collective of witty women. Here to tackle inequality through vaginal comedy, performers Gemma Caseley-Kirk and Narisha Lawson, both Creative Associates at Nottingham Playhouse and graduates of the BAFTA-winning Television Workshop explode onto stage to to make your funny bones gyrate. To watch your bike tyres inflate. So grab a mate, jettison the hate and be sure to hydrate!

Throughout the whole Summer period from May 29 through to September, street food pop ups will

available on the Nottingham Playhouse forecourt.

All performances will take place in accordance with the social distancing rules and follow government guidelines for the safety of audiences, creatives and staff in place at the time of the performance.

Tickets, further information and details regarding accessible performances can be found at:

Press can request review tickets by emailing


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