NEWS: Headlong radicalises Pygmalion, premieres Junkyard musical

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Headlong’s Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin announces the company’s plans for the future with an exceptional season of world premieres, re-workings, short films and country wide participation work. Headlong’s two stage premieres will be presented in collaboration with leading UK theatres where the plays will run:

  • Sam Pritchard directs PYGMALION; a radical new co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Nuffield, Southampton featuring an innovative sound score by the award-winning sound designers Ben and Max Ringham
  • Headlong’s Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin directs JUNKYARD, a new musical by Jack Thorne with music by Stephen Warbeck, at Bristol Old Vic

The season features provocative, constantly surprising theatre which addresses urgent questions about the way we live today with vitality, wit and theatrical intelligence. Uniting an eclectic group of theatre-makers with a common aim to challenge the limits of what theatre can achieve, this programme develops Headlong’s commitment to touring the most ambitious theatre to audiences around the UK and across the world.

Jeremy Herrin, Artistic Director of Headlong, said:

“I’m delighted that Headlong can foster so many national conversations. Whether it’s through the new work we produce or the radical reinterpretations of classics we take to our audiences; or through working with The Guardian to support an urgent artistic response to Brexit on a nationwide scale. We hope that our new Headlong Futures pilot project will be a way of creatively empowering under-served communities and encouraging them to share their voices and is in keeping with our mission to make the best theatre we can, theatre that addresses what’s important in a surprising and inspiring way.”

Also announced by the company today:

  • Headlong and leading writers from across the UK respond to Brexit with a series of short films in association with The Guardian and run on the newspaper’s website
  • HEADLONG FUTURES – an ambitious new outreach project in partnership with communities in Bristol, Kent, Durham and London; producing urgent new work about our increasingly fragmented world, who we are and where we will see ourselves in the future
  • Headlong in the West End – 1984 continues at the Playhouse until 29 October 2016 and James Graham’s This House opens at the Garrick in November
  • Chloe Mashiter wins Headlong’s Digital Artist Award
  • Headlong Ahead – The company is committed to working with artists at the cutting edge.  Leading voices in theatre under commission include Jennifer Hayley, Diana Nneka Atuona, James Graham and John Donnelly


By Bernard Shaw
Presented by Headlong, Nuffield and West Yorkshire Playhouse
Directed by Sam Pritchard
Sound Design by Ben and Max Ringham
Designed by Alex Lowde

Friday 3 to Saturday 25 February 2016

‘The science of speech. That’s my profession. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.’ How far do accents define us? Is status still dictated by our mother tongue?

Sam Pritchard directs a radical new staging of Bernard Shaw’s acute comedy Pygmalion, in a co-production between Headlong, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Nuffield, Southampton. The play will open to press in Leeds and then travel to Warwick, Leicester, Cheltenham, Bath, Keswick, Oxford, finishing at the Nuffield, Southampton. More dates to be announced.

Shaw’s celebrated play was first staged over 100 years ago and is recognised as one of the most enduring and perceptive of English comedies. In this audacious new staging, Sam Pritchard playfully carves a contemporary world on stage using sound and video technology which examines class identity and questions how far accents and speech can define us in Britain today.

Sam Pritchard is the Associate Director (International) at the Royal Court and was winner of the JMK Award for Directors in 2012. His credits include Anna (Aix Opera Festival/ENOA Workshop), There Has Possibly Been An Incident (Royal Exchange and Edinburgh St Stephens/Soho Theatre/Berlin Theatertreffen), Buy Nothing Day (Company of Angels) Fireface (Young Vic) and Galka Motalka (Royal Exchange)

Pygmalion continues Headlong’s emerging director’s scheme, this hugely successful model now in its seventh year, allows a director in the early stages of their career the opportunity to present work on main stages across the country. This programme has previously supported work from Simon Godwin, Natalie Abrahami, Robert Icke, Blanche McIntyre, Ben Kidd and Ellen McDougall.

Full tour and casting will be announced shortly.

Junkyard premieres at Bristol Old Vic

Junkyard premieres at Bristol Old Vic


Book and Lyrics by Jack Thorne
Music by Stephen Warbeck
Presented by Headlong, Bristol Old Vic, Rose Theatre Kingston, Theatr Clwyd
Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Designed by Chiara Stephenson

Friday 24 February to Saturday 18 March at Bristol Old Vic

“Who’d want to join in building a f***ing playground. We’re 13 years old”. Jeremy Herrin directs Jack Thorne’s visceral new work, Junkyard, a funny and vivid musical with original score from Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Warbeck, about a miscreant group of teenagers who come together to build an adventure playground. Junkyard is a co-production with Headlong, Bristol Old Vic, Rose Theatre Kingston and Theatr Clwyd. It will open to press at Bristol Old Vic before travelling to North Wales (29 March to 15 April) and Kingston (Wed 19 – Sun 30 Apr).

It’s 1979, and a motley crew of teenagers grudgingly agree to create a junk playground in Bristol under the guidance of the well-meaning Rick. As the playground starts to come to life – it turns from something that means nothing to something that means a lot. And kids that care about nothing, start to care a lot. But darkness has a way of coming back and biting you when you least expect it.

Inspired by the true story behind the Lockleaze playground known as ‘The Vench’, established over 30 years ago and still operating today, Junkyard is a story about Bristol, for Bristol, from BAFTA award-winning writer and Bristolian Jack Thorne

Jack Thorne writes for theatre, film, television and radio. His theatre credits include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hope and Let The Right One In directed by John Tiffany, The Solid Life of Sugarwater for the Graeae Theatre Company, Bunny for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Stacy for the Trafalgar Studios, 2nd May 1997 and When You Cure Me for the Bush. His adaptations include The Physicists for the Donmar Warehouse and Stuart: A Life Backwards for Hightide. On film his credits include War Book, A Long Way Down and The Scouting Book for Boys. For television his credits include The Last Panthers, Don’t Take My Baby, This Is England, The Fades, Glue and Cast-Offs and the upcoming National Treasure. In 2012 he won BAFTAs for best series (The Fades) and best serial (This Is England 88).

Full casting to be announced.

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Press Releases on Twitter
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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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