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Archive for the ‘“Unprecedented”’ Category
  Nicole   May 01, 2020

THE GUARDIAN – More than 50 of the biggest acting names in the UK, including Gemma Arterton, James Norton, and Lennie James, have signed up to appear in a series of digital plays written in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unprecedented: Theatre from a State of Isolation will feature more than 10 new plays, which will be rehearsed and filmed using digital conferencing technology and come from playwrights, including James Graham and April De Angelis.

The series of plays is curated by Headlong, Century Films and BBC Arts, and “explores our rapidly evolving world”, while responding to “how our understanding and experiences of modern Britain are evolving during the crisis”.

Other names working on the project include the Mighty Boosh actor Julian Barratt, Rory Kinnear, Meera Syal and Alison Steadman. The plays will be broadcast by the BBC as part of its Culture in Quarantine initiative and will be available to stream from May.

Headlong’s artistic director, Jeremy Herrin, said: “I’m finding that making these shows is a way of processing all the contradictions of this alarming historical moment. At a time when we are all feeling isolated, creating a community around this project feels like a soulful thing to do. We can actually be supportive of our family of freelance artists and create decent work whilst doing so. Personally, I’m finding it a great distraction at a time when the iniquities in our society are being shockingly exposed.”

A statement said that the Unprecedented series will “ask how we got here and what the enduring legacy of this historic episode might be”. The new works will aim to “give an immediate insight into this extraordinary communal experience”.

In a blogpost about its Culture in Quarantine series, BBC Arts director Jonty Claypole said it would be a “virtual festival of the arts” rooted in the experience of isolation. “All this will be done hand-in-hand with the wider arts and cultural sector through coverage and collaboration,” he said.

The BBC announced a number of other theatre productions as part of Culture in Quarantine, including streams of Mike Bartlett’s play Albion, which has had two runs at the Almeida, Emma Rice’s Wise Children and half a dozen Royal Shakespeare Company productions.

Other online initiatives triggered by the Covid-19 outbreak include the National Theatre’s decision to stream some of its most popular plays for free during the lockdown. The National Theatre at Home programme started with One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden, which was watched in more than 200,000 households when it went out on the evening of 2 April.

Other productions to be streamed by the NT include Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Treasure Island, which is available until Thursday, and the 2017 Twelfth Night, with Tamsin Greig as Malvolia. More titles are to be announced.