National Theatre receives £1.25million to further Theatre Nation Partnership in Wolverhampton and selected cities!

National Theatre receives £1.25million to further Theatre Nation Partnership in Wolverhampton and selected cities!

The National Theatre is to receive £1.25million from Arts Council England to extend its successful Theatre Nation Partnerships Programme over the next three years. The National Theatre will triple this investment in the programme, with almost 90% spent outside of London directly in partner areas, including Wolverhampton.

The next phase of TNP is set to deliver targeted work in 17 Levelling Up for Culture Places identified by Arts Council England including Wolverhampton, Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent, North Devon, Peterborough, Wigan, Rochdale, Doncaster, with the potential to reach wider audiences through digital and audience reach to a further 24 Levelling Up Places.

Theatre Nation Partnerships works to build engagement in theatre with audiences, schools and community groups in 13 areas in partnership with 13 organisations across England.

Since 2017, the programme has engaged with over 222,000 participants, audiences and artists, delivered four schools tours reaching over 27,000 pupils, created three Public Acts performances in collaboration with local community organisations and toured productions including War Horse, Macbeth and Hedda Gabler to multiple partner venues. As part of the work delivered in these areas, over 340 artists have employed across all partner venues.

As part of the next phase of TNP, a new touring production Shut Up, I’m Dreaming will visit 55 secondary schools across the country for 11 weeks from January 2023, reaching over 12,000 students. Devised and directed by The PappyShow following residencies in three schools in Sunderland, Wolverhampton and Wakefield to bring young people’s voices into the heart of the creative process, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming explores the ambitions, hopes and feelings of the next generation in an uncertain world. The touring production is accompanied by a post-show Q&A, teaching resources and professional development workshops for teachers.

A new Theatre Nation Partnership production of Roy Williams’ award-winning play Sucker Punch, produced by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, will be touring nationally to TNP organisations from March 2023. Sucker Punch is a bruising and funny play, winner of the Alfred Fagon Award, which explores being young and black in the 80s.

Already announced, an epic multi-version production of The Odyssey will be retold in five episodes created and performed by artists and communities in Doncaster, Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent and Trowbridge to mark the fifth anniversary of Public Acts, the National Theatre’s nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. The final episode will be performed as a full-scale musical production on the Olivier stage at the NT featuring community performers from all four partner organisations as well as members recruited through partners Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Trybe House Theatre in London.

The recently announced national tour of the acclaimed National Theatre production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane will also visit five Theatre Nation Partner venues, including Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in 2023.

Following its successful pilot, 40 schools are now taking part in Speak Up, a new nationwide project for schools in our partner areas including Wolverhampton, which sees young people working in collaboration with local artists and teachers to lead creative projects in response to issues that are most important to them. Speak Up will extend to a total of 55 schools including new areas of Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent and North Devon in January 2023.