News: new audio-digital theatre platform SOUND STAGE launches

New audio-digital theatre platform SOUND STAGE to premiere new plays from Mark Ravenhill, Roy Williams, Timberlake Wertenbaker and John Byrne

Pitlochry Festival Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in collaboration with Naked Productions are thrilled to announce Sound Stage – a new immersive audio digital theatre which from late March will premiere 8 new plays written by amongst others Mark RavenhillRoy Williams, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and John Byrne.

 Sound Stage is an exciting new audio-digital venture, designed by theatre makers and leading technologists, giving audiences a unique and engrossing online theatre experience of new plays from the best in British theatre which in the future Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh hope to produce on stage.

Sound Stage will operate an online booking system for all productions. Just like booking a ticket for the theatre, audiences will be able to book ahead for a performance and time of their choice.

The first season will feature 8 new co-productions from Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh –  and will open with the world premiere of Angela – Mark Ravenhill’s first autobiographical play which explores the way culture high and low had impacted his mother’s life and that of his family. Mark Ravenhill’s previous plays include Shopping and F***ing (Out of Joint and Royal Court Theatre) and The Cut (Donmar Warehouse).

The opening  season will also feature new plays by Roy Williams (Death of England and Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads, National Theatre; John Byrne (The Slab Boys, Traverse Theatre and Tutti Frutti, BBC Scotland), who will premiere his  first new play since Nova Scotia at the Traverse Theatre in 2008; Timberlake Wertenbaker (Our Country’s Good, National Theatre and Broadway);  Lynda Radley (The Interference, Edinburgh Fringe)  Jaimini Jethwa (The Last Queen of Scotland, Dundee Rep ); Frances Poet (Ghost Light, National Theatre of Scotland) and Gary McNair (Locker Room Talk, Traverse).

Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre said:

“Pitlochry Festival Theatre is thrilled to share the news about Sound Stage. The original idea came from my experience last year making the audio premiere of Adventures with the Painted People with David, Polly, and the rest of the Naked Productions Team. The quality we could produce remotely blew me away and made me think this is how we can make great work during lockdown. However, this did not solve the problem of how much audiences and the theatre industry as a whole were missing the experience of going to the theatre itself… and so Sound Stage was born. With Sound Stage audience members can come together for the experience of not only listening to exceptional new audio plays written by some of the UK’s best-known playwrights but also the experience of ‘attending’ a virtual theatre. From entering the theatre  itself and being ushered to your seat, to meeting people in the interval and staying afterwards to listen to a post-show discussion, Sound Stage will be an exciting new theatrical experience for everyone.

In these difficult times, the pandemic has caused so many to feel isolated and we hope Sound Stage may help ease this feeling by giving people the opportunity to meet new people who share a love of theatre and audio plays. For everyone involved in Sound Stage we know we need to keep growing the cannon and offering artists the opportunity to make exciting new art and we hope that Sound Stage will do this by showcasing the incredible talent the UK has to offer.”

David GreigArtistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh said:

Sound Stage developed from my own experience of making an audio play remotely during the early COVID-19 lockdown with Naked Productions and Elizabeth from Pitlochry Festival Theatre. It was such a joy for me to be able to fully realise a story – with all the imagination sparking power that audio work brings –  from my own home. That is why I am thrilled that The Lyceum will be working together with our partners to make eight fully realised new plays for audio. As the country stays at home during the early Spring, we will be creating thrilling drama from our back cupboards and kitchen tables, for a season that will offer audiences a delicious taste of new plays for their ears.”

Eloise Whitmore, Managing Director and Lead Sound Designer, Naked Productions said:

“Naked Productions Limited has a long track record of making work with theatres for BBC radio. We loved working with David Greig, Elizabeth Newman  and the team at  Pitlochry Festival Theatre on the BBC Radio 3 debut of David’s new play Adventures with Painted People in 2020. From that collaboration, Sound Stage was born. Working with our colleagues to design and build a new digital performance space for theatre audiences to access PFT and The Lyceum’s work is an exciting new departure for audio too. We are delighted to be working with Sound Stage on so many fantastic dramas, celebrating new writing in the UK, in a dynamic new fusion of theatre and audio skills.  We are proud to be collaborating with our theatre colleagues to make great audio drama, delivering for the national audience, to the highest standards in these difficult times.”

Playwright Roy Williams said:

“Writing a new play for Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre to produce on Sound Stage is an extremely exciting project to be undertaking. Sound Stage itself is a really great idea; it is going to help audiences engage with more new writing and it will also give audiences a chance to connect with each other tooMy play will explore the special relationship between USA and UK through a specific cultural as well as personal perspective.  COVID-19 has meant so much theatre work world-wide has been cancelled or postponed which has been really hard for everyone. So, it is fantastic to know that no matter what happens, these plays will in 2021 for audiences.”

Made possible through support from Creative Scotland and Resilience Funding from the Scottish Government, Sound Stage will open on Friday 26 March with the premiere of Mark Ravenhill’s new play AngelaTickets will go on sale on Sunday 14th February.

Further details about the plays and casting for the opening Sound Stage season will be announced in the coming weeks.

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