Theatre company Headlong has come together with leading playwrights to create a series of short digital plays exploring our rapidly evolving world.
Under the title of Unprecedented: Real-Time Theatre From a State of Isolation, it will be performed by a cast of more than 20 UK actors and Headlong will make them available to stream online in April.
The plays will respond to how our understanding and experiences of community, education, work, relationships, family, culture, climate and capitalism are evolving on an unprecedented scale. The series will ask how we got here and what the enduring legacy of this historic episode might be.
The writers involved are:
April De Angelis (My Brilliant Friend; The Village)
Josh Azouz (The Mikvah Project; Buggy Baby)
Deborah Bruce (The Distance; The House They Grew Up In)
John Donnelly (The Pass; The Knowledge)
Clint Dyer (Death of England)
Jennifer Haley (The Nether; Sustainable Living)
Sami Ibrahim (Two Palestinians Go Dogging; Wind Bit Bitter, Bit Bit Bit)
James Graham (Ink; Quiz; Coalition; Brexit: An Uncivil War; Labour of Love)
Charlene James (Cuttin’ It; Tweet Tweet)
Jasmine Lee-Jones (seven methods of killing kylie jenner)
Duncan Macmillan (People, Places and Things; City of Glass; Rosmersholm; 1984; Lungs)
Nathaniel Martello-White (Torn; BLACKTA)
Chloë Moss (This Wide Night; The Gatekeeper)
Prasanna Puwanarajah (Nightwatchman; Patrick Melrose; Doctor Foster)
Tim Price (Salt, Root, Row; The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning).
They are being produced with Century Films, working with several directors and a team of freelance creatives. Using digital conferencing technology, they will combine live and pre-recorded material. Rehearsals are to be run digitally. Further details will be announced shortly.
Jeremy Herrin, artistic director and CEO of Headlong, said: “At Headlong, we’ve been trying to process the disruption and, like many of us in the theatre industry, we have been trying to cope with the closure of shows, and the challenges facing future productions.
“In these uncertain times we want to engage with our family of artists – our playwrights, directors and actors and other creatives – and provide them with a platform to share their insight, wisdom, humour, anger, fear and optimism or whatever else they’ve got at this pivotal moment. Theatre is a way of processing contradictions meaningfully, and I hope that this project will help artists and audiences alike find connection and meaning in their isolation, and provide an uplifting and perhaps inspiring diversion.”
Holly Race Roughan, associate artistic director at Headlong, added: “In this extraordinary time, we at Headlong are humbled to be collaborating with some of the country’s most imaginative writers to process what is happening to us and around us in real time.
“Playwrights from all generations and backgrounds are urgently responding to the crisis to help us and our audiences make sense of our world transformed. We will be rehearsing digitally and streaming directly to homes in isolation around the world. Our quest is to connect a population in isolation through a series of short dramas.”
Brian Hill, managing director of Century Films, said: “I’m very excited to be working with the team at Headlong and to show how a collaboration of storytellers from the worlds of theatre, film and television can produce brilliant work that addresses the current crisis.”