In Spring 2020 Leeds Playhouse will present a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist.
Bold, brutal and beautiful, this brand new version of Dickens’ novel is adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery with dramaturgical support from Graeae’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey. The play will be directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach.
The production opens at Leeds Playhouse in Spring 2020 ahead of visiting Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East, who are all part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium alongside Graeae, the UK’s leading disabled led theatre company.
Now in its fourth year, Ramps on the Moon is a consortium of seven major UK theatres, plus partner company Graeae, committed to putting D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work. Each year, one consortium organisation becomes the lead producing partner creating a large-scale new production which champions diversity both on and off stage. Previous Ramps on the Moon productions include Our Country’s Good, The Who’s Tommy and The Government Inspector.
Director Amy Leach said “Having watched all of the previous Ramps on the Moon shows, I was excited to think about stories that felt highly theatrical and sensory – that would lend themselves to thrilling and bold, visual and aural storytelling. Oliver Twist is a vivid, dark and visceral story and I am so excited to explore how adding artistic layers of creative sign language, audio description and captioning can enhance the story-telling for all audience members. OliverTwist will give an integrated ensemble cast of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors the opportunity to play a brilliantly varied range of characters and showcase a wide range of talents. I can’t wait to share Bryony’s very special adaptation with audiences around the country.”
Adapter Bryony Lavery said “I've cleared my desk and I'm just about to bury myself in the country with the book of Oliver Twist, a fist full of wonderful old photographs of workhouses, and a notebook stuffed with all the brilliant ideas gleaned from the first Ramps on the Moon workshop. Led by Amy, attended by the theatre legend that is Jenny Sealey and a group of amazingly bendy, articulate, generous actors, the workshop has set me upon the road to rediscovering the text for this exciting, and daunting, writing task. I’m totally thrilled to be working with Leeds Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon on this unique project.”
Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said “After having been part of Ramps on the Moon since the very start and having received some great shows over the previous three years, we’re excited to be taking the lead this time. The production will build on some brilliant work which Amy Leach has been developing at the Playhouse and also brings Bryony Lavery back to Leeds to create another new Dickens adaptation. The prospect of these two terrific artists, working with a fully integrated company and with embedded interpretation, will make a Leeds Playhouse / Ramps on the Moon Oliver Twist very enticing indeed."
Born and raised in a life of poverty and misfortune, orphaned Oliver Twist travels to London on a life-changing adventure. There he meets the Artful Dodger, the terrifying Bill Sykes and the kindly Nancy after joining Fagin's infamous gang.
Every performance of Oliver Twist will feature integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning. The production plays in Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry theatre from 28 February – 21 March 2020 ahead of a UK tour.
For the list of the full cast and creative team, click here.
Oliver Twist, Quarry Theatre, Leeds Playhouse
Fri 28 Feb – Sat 21 March 2020, Press Night Wed 4 March 2020
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk
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