Staffordshire’s New Vic Theatre will produce an innovative season of work, reimagining some iconic stories, to reopen their newly refurbished auditorium and safely invite in-person audiences back to performances this autumn.
Theresa Heskins, Artistic Director of the New Vic Theatre said: “The New Vic hasn’t been closed over the summer: our education and outreach teams have been working hard to support our local communities during this challenging time. It feels very special now to be welcoming those communities back into the extraordinary New Vic building. Whether on stage, in the community, or online, we’ve embraced the opportunity to think differently about the way we make and present work. It’s been an unsettling year for everyone; with our Housewarming season, I’m hoping the New Vic can help spread a little joy this autumn.
The story of the Staffordshire Hoard is such an important part of our national and local heritage. It has changed our understanding of history, and new discoveries have been made since 2015. This feels like the right time to reignite the magic provided by the Hoard, offering audiences nationally and locally an insight into the treasure’s history and its impact on us today. I’ve updated our documentary-drama Unearthed, and am looking forward to producing digital versions of the micro plays which some of the country’s most talented writers created for the New Vic during development at the National Theatre Studio.
Whilst I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to bring our planned production of Beauty and The Beast to life on stage this year, the experience of Christmas at the New Vic will be just as magical. Audiences will be able to experience our wonderful theatre like never before in Coppelia – A Mystery. At its heart, this is a story about love and happiness, which I think is what we all need a little of right now.”
The theatre will reopen their newly refurbished auditorium in October with Ghostlight. Inspired by the theatre tradition of the ghost light – a light left on in an empty auditorium to signal that audiences will return – this dynamic light and sound installation will combine with a collage of voices from favourite New Vic shows, celebrating the ‘ghosts’ of shows past, and the thought of shows in the future. As audiences walk through the space, this evocative installation will reveal the completed auditorium following the theatre’s major refurbishment project, which has been carried out over the summer.
Hoard: Rediscovered will digitally reimagine some of the pieces from the theatre-in-the-round’s 2015 Staffordshire Hoard Festival, to bring a taster of this innovative festival back to the stage. Originally developed with the support of the National Theatre Studio during the New Vic’s tenure as an affiliate company, the Staffordshire Hoard Festival celebrated the story of the discovery of Anglo-Saxon treasure in the Midlands. Hoard: Rediscovered will include a digital staging of New Vic Artistic Director Theresa Heskins’ documentary-drama Unearthed and a selection of micro plays from some of the country’s most talented writers.
The New Vic’s previously announced production of Beauty and The Beast will be rescheduled to Christmas 2021. In its place, across the festive season, the theatre will stage Coppelia – A Mystery; an innovative socially distanced performance based on the story of Coppelia that invites audiences on a journey around the theatre’s spaces.
With the Housewarming Season, the theatre offers audiences the opportunity to rediscover performances at their own pace. With a mix of digital offerings culminating in live performances across the festive season, the New Vic will entice audiences with stories of local pride and national significance.
The Housewarming Season goes on sale on Tuesday 22 September.