News: Frank Skinner And Barbara Nice To Write Plays

News: Frank Skinner And Barbara Nice To Write Plays

Frank Skinner and Barbara Nice are among the talents who have been commissioned to write plays for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The 12 new commissions are titled The Park Bench Plays – a series of site-specific micro-plays that illuminate, interrogate and even celebrate today's socially distanced world.  

Brainchild of The REP's Artistic Director Sean Foley, this series of brand-new commissions will bring together the work of some of UK theatre's biggest writing talents and comedians alongside emerging playwrights to create a suite of new plays. 

The list of writers also includes Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (A Kind of People/Khandan), Rachel De-Lahay (The Westbridge/Circles), David Edgar (Nicholas Nickleby/Pentecost), Robin French (Cuckoo/Rebel Music), Tanika Gupta (Lions and Tigers/The Empress), Bryony Lavery (Frozen/The Lovely Bones), Sabiha Mank (The REP Discovery Artist), Amerah Saleh (Author 'I Am Not From Here'/Commonwealth Games Handover Poet), Liam Steel (Director/Adaptor – Peter Pan/The Wizard of Oz) and Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials/Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) & Lettie Precious (This Is Us/The Break – BBC 3). 

The ten-minute-long plays have been written to be performed in pop-up locations throughout Birmingham - at bus stations, community centres, parks, public squares, foyers and train stations – surprising and delighting commuters, shoppers, residents and others going about their daily business in the city and its environs. 

The series of plays will be directed by The REP's Artistic Director, Sean Foley, Deputy Artistic Director, Amit Sharma and Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje. 

The REP's Artistic Director, double Olivier Award-winning Sean Foley said; “The Park Bench Plays will bring together the work of some of the UK's biggest writing talents for an exciting and diverse collection of micro-plays. 

“Considering the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry, we at The REP feel it is important to continue to employ artists and create work for audiences. 
 
“From comic to serious, tragic to hysterical, this collection of two-hander plays take ordinary and everyday conversations and make them extraordinary and timeless – they all have a sense of fun and provide a living snapshot of our socially distanced, somewhat disturbed world. 
 
“We look forward to sharing this extraordinary collection of works with audiences when the time is right to do so in the future and to continuing working with this wonderfully eclectic set of writers.” 

Britain's Got Talent star Barbara Nice has been commissioned under her real name of Janice Connolly.

Frank Skinner commented: “I'm really properly excited to be part of this project with The REP. I've had some life-changing experiences on park benches in the West Midlands but I'm hoping this one will be a bit easier on the elbows.” 

Skinner's previous play Nina's Got News premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018. At the time he said: "Thirty years in comedy and I never knew I was only one encouraging phone call away from writing a play. I put down the receiver and picked up my laptop. Suddenly, I feel like a man of the theatre. I am hankering for a fedora". 

 

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