Nottingham's tram, Highfields Park (University of Nottingham), the Malt Cross, the Hemlock Stone and Bradgate Park in Leicestershire are the focus of a new writing project in the East Midlands. Nottingham-based touring theatre company, New Perspectives, has recruited five East Midlands-based writers to create 10 minute monologues or dialogues shaped by an East Midlands location of their choice.
Entitled The 'Haunts' project, it is inspired by the legendary playwright David Rudkin who wrote an epic cycle of ten audio plays set in locations across the UK called PlacePrints.
Described by the Observer as "Britain's greatest living dramatic poet," Rudkin's works tells a story that haunts the location in question. PlacePrints marked a culmination of Rudkin's fifty year dramatic exploration of place through his ground breaking work in theatre, film, television and radio.
In 2015 New Perspectives staged Here We Stay, the first of the PlacePrints works, which was performed in Eyam Parish Church, Derbyshire, to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the outbreak of the plague in the village.
The five local writers are:
JFW Nutt, Leanne Moden & Lucy Colgan (from Nottingham), Jo Woolaston (Leicester) and Susan Hennessy (Lincoln). Each will receive expert supervision from David Rudkin himself and professional dramaturg William Drew as well as one-to-one mentoring and workshops with other industry experts.
The final pieces will be recorded and performed by professional actors, made available as podcasts on New Perspectives' website and then offered to audiences in the chosen locations as site specific audio walking tours.
Theresa Keogh, New Perspectives' Associate Director, says: "We often take our local surroundings for granted and don't take the time to reflect on why they're important, what they mean to us, and why we visit them. Linking new writing to well-known places helps reinforce the importance of the place. These new short pieces will shed new light on well-known landscapes and destinations and journeys."
The new works will be ready for audiences to listen to in July. The Haunts project will run for the next three years as part of New Perspectives' ongoing Artistic Development programme, Emerging Perspectives, which aims to support and nurture East Midlands creatives. 5 new writers will join the programme each year, eventually building a large collection of works based on local places.