ALITD

STAGE PREMIERE CELEBRATES CENTENARY OF FIRST UK RADIO PLAY

Comedy caper A Leap In The Dark will receive its stage premiere at the New Vic this February and will celebrate the centenary of the UK’s first ever radio play being broadcast.

Originally commissioned by BBC Radio Four, A Leap In The Dark, written by Emmy award-winning writer Ron Hutchinson, will have its stage premiere at the New Vic Theatre from Friday 9 February to Saturday 2 March, directed by Caroline Wilkes*.

This sophisticated comedy caper celebrates the 100th anniversary of the UK’s first ever radio play and charts the (almost) true story of how radio plays came to be.

Cedric Maud’s a man with a plan. He and his assistant Grace believe a play made specially for the wireless could be just the thing to entertain listeners and put the newly formed BBC on the map.

With the broadcast date fast approaching, they ask an impresario with a reputation for producing ‘avant-garde’ theatre to direct the programme. He’s not sure how a play could work without a set and costumes and with the audience unable to see the actors, but he knows he’s not letting the job go to that upstart Noël Coward. So, supported by his wife’s unique brand of guidance, he sets to work. Will they be able to find a writer willing to take the job? Will the actors be able to hold the listeners attention with only their voices? And how will audiences know what on earth is going on?

A Leap In The Dark’s cast of eight includes faces familiar and new to the New Vic including Suzanne Ahmet (Marvellous, New Vic and @sohoplace, Around the World in 80 Days, New Vic and Royal Exchange Manchester, UK tour) as May Playfair; Angela Bain (The D Road, Claybody Theatre, Inherit The Wind, I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire, New Vic) as Lady Hartley/Mrs Stanley; Madeleine Leslay (The Archers, BBC Radio 4, The Mousetrap, West End) as Rita Hartley/Madge/Danish Actress; Alyce Liburd (Song of the Sytch, Claybody Theatre, The Great Gatsby, Grosvenor Open Air Theatre Chester) as Grace; Perry Moore (Tom, Dick and Harry, New Vic and Alexandra Palace, Marvellous, New Vic and @sohoplace) as Cedric Maud; Ben Norris (The Archers, BBC Radio 4, The Choir of Man, West End) as Richard Hughes/Hector; Robert Pickavance (A View From the Bridge, York Theatre Royal and Royal & Derngate Northampton, The Grand Gesture, The Canterbury Tales, Northern Broadsides) as Mr Bigsby/Mr Billingsby/Jimmy/Commissionaire; and Andrew Pollard (Tom, Dick and Harry, New Vic and Alexandra Palace, Around the World in 80 Days, New Vic, UK tour, Broadway and Asolo Rep, Florida) as Nigel Playfair.

Theresa Heskins, New Vic Artistic Director said: “I was on a long drive, with the radio on for company as ever, and was lucky enough to hear Ron Hutchinson’s play celebrating the birthday of BBC Radio Drama. A Leap In The Dark gave me a fascinating insight into how a new artform had come about, and I was delighted when Ron agreed to reimagine the play for the stage. A hundred years since that first play was broadcast I’m delighted that we can celebrate our great national treasure, the BBC, and the art of radio drama.”

A Leap In The Dark takes to the stage at the New Vic from Friday 9 February to Saturday 2 March 2024. Tickets are on sale now, priced from £10.00. For more information and to book call the Box Office on 01782 717962 or purchase them online at newvictheatre.org.uk.

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