As we say goodbye to another year, we wanted to take a look back at 2023. Adapted from our #12DaysOfNP on social media, here are 12 things that have made this year extra special at NP!

Starting the year with a bang: The Swearing Jar

We kicked off the year with a tour of Canadian playwright Kate Hewlett's play The Swearing Jar. Filled with folk music and heartbreak, the play brought audiences to tears across the UK during it's rural tour. 

Nuanced for a UK audience, The Swearing Jar welcomed wonderful cast and creative team, and the story's hopeful tone set us on the right track for the rest of the year.

To see more about bringing The Swearing Jar to a UK audience, watch our behind the scenes video.

"It's a story about faithfulness and love and is going to hit every emotional button you own" Ben Macpherson, audience member

Supporting work in the industry

One of the joys about being a leading rural touring company is getting the opportunity to support up and coming artists and small theatre companies produce ground-breaking and special productions.

This year we supported Sheep Soup on their Edinburgh Fringe show House of Life, New Associates alumnus Simon Marshall on his play Bonfire, and fellow Notts ducks Nonsuch Studios on their Christmas cabaret OUTLAWED. Our rehearsal studio has also been packed this year with many R&D weeks for works-in-progress and exciting new projects from the New Associates and beyond.

Our first Open Pitch project of 2023: The Road to Zandra

The Road to Zandra added some pizzazz and sparkle to the first half of the year. Inspired by a true story and written by our very own Jayne Williams, the play follows Mark Preston who conquered his mental ill health through drag. Over thirty years later, he and his
drag persona Miss Zandra have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

After months of conversations over tea and biscuits to form the script, The Road to Zandra was performed at Squire Performing Arts Centre in Nottingham for two nights only in March and April. 

For more on the making of The Road to Zandra, watch the interview with the writer and cast here.

“The Road to Zandra was full to the brim with heart, truthfulness and sequins. What an inspiring project Open Pitch is!” Audience member

The return of an old favourite

We were also thrilled to see that there was going to be a revival of The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse at The Unicorn Theatre this year. Based on the Unicorn Theatre and New Perspectives 2019 production which was adapted by previous New Perspectives Artistic Director Jack McNamara, this version was directed by their brilliant Unicorn Theatre's Artistic Director, Rachel Bagshaw. The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse is currently on until Sunday 31 December.

Bringing We Need New Names to the stage

Along with co-producers Fifth Word, our second touring show of the year brought award-winning novel We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo to theatres across the UK.

Adapted by Nottingham-based playwright Mufaro Makubika and directed by Monique Touko, We Need New Names burrowed into the hearts of the cast, creative team and audiences as it told the emotional and sentimental story of a girl moving from Zimbabwe to the States and the realities of that.

If you want to find out more about We Need New Names, we have a selection of interviews and behind the scenes videos as part of a playlist here.

★★★★ "The significance of this play will remain immeasurable" The Stage

★★★★ "Playful dramatisation" The Guardian

Championing budding talent with New Associates

This year we had a record amount of early-mid career artists as part of the New Associates programme. A big group of associate artists means many hours of support from us to the artists - to put it into perspective, this year we have:
Provided over 75 hours of 1-to-1s
Given 23 days of rehearsal space in kind
Supported 13 DYCP and 6 NLPG applications
Organised 9 online workshops with industry guests 
Hosted 7 reading rooms 
Arranged 6 'go sees' to plays in the region
Facilitated 5 full day workshops 
...and we've still got 3 more months of the programme to go!
Applications for the 2024/25 New Associates programme will open in January 2024. 

Open Pitch short film The Songstress 

For our second Open Pitch project of 2023, we hosted a premiere screening of short film The Songstress. Based on the true experiences of Derby's Donna Briscoe-Greene, The Songstress explores what defines us and reveals the distressing situations you can be put in as a Black woman in the entertainment industry. 

To bring the story to the screen, Donna worked with New Perspectives trustee and poet Ravelle-Sadé Fairman as well as filmmaker Ian Dearman (Scruffy Whippet Media).

To find out more about the premiere screening of the film and story behind the film, read our blog here.

“Being from a Black Caribbean background there’s this kind of notion of not speaking out, not speaking up or being true to your experience. Even with the whole Windrush generation and the issues they had to face. So I was really inspired by Donna’s willingness to share. It’s revolutionary, especially in our community" Ravelle-Sadé Fairman on The Songstress

Journeying across the world with Where I Belong

In August 2023 we released our second podcast project, Where I Belong. Supported by the British Council Arts Digital Collaboration Fund, the podcast series saw us bring together 12 emerging and estabilished writers living in Baghdad and Nottingham to write short stories and poems about life in those two UNESCO Cities of Literature. 

Starting in April 2022, Where I Belong has been focussed on showcasing underrepresented voices and has been developed through online conversations, pairing the writers to explore themes that connect their pieces and places. 

You can listen to Where I Belong on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.

Looking to the future and developing new work

Of course, one of the most exciting things every year is being able to look forward and develop new work that will be produced in the years to come. 

In May we had a script development day for (the) Woman by Jane Upton which was shortlisted for The Bruntwood Prize in 2022. And then, in November, our Artistic Director Angharad Jones spent a week at the National Theatre in London for an R&D of our next rural tour, a co-production with Pentabus to celebrate 100 years of rural touring. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more information coming soon!

Celebrating our 50th anniversary

October 2023 was the start of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Since 1973, New Perspectives has been dedicated to bringing important stories to audiences who don't normally get much opportunity to experience theatre. 

Through the years, we've performed hundreds of plays; supported countless artists and companies within the industry; produced postcard dramas, podcast series and an audiobook; and we've helped community members become first-time artists through Open Pitch. 

We're looking forward to seeing what we can achieve with your help over the next 50 years!

See more on how we're going to be celebrating our 50th in 2024 here.

Final tour of the year: Model Village

We began our 50th anniversary celebrations with a commission from award-winning writer Anita Sullivan designed to excite the imaginations of audiences in rural spaces across the UK. A play that traversed the line between reality and fantasy, Model Village was bizarre, moving and thought-provoking at the same time. 

Directed by Angharad Jones, Model Village presented a meaningful challenge that gave us the opportunity to connect with people in the areas we toured to. As a play with a few interactive elements, our audiences got to vote on which ending they would like to see, were given the opportunity to sing along with the play's final song, and we created a soundscape of pre-recorded conversations with people from the places we toured to about 'What makes a model village?'

To find out more about the making of Model Village, watch our Hidden Perspectives video here.

★★★★★ "Compounding entertainment and food for thought, Model Village embodies its message about the small carrying power" The Indiependent

“A gem of a play” LeftLion 

Finally, a massive thank you to our supporters

Of course, #12DaysOfNP wouldn't be complete without a huge thank you to the people who make New Perspectives who we are: you, our audiences and supporters. 

Because of you, we are able to:

  • Continue making high quality theatre accessible for rural audiences
  • Bring thought-provoking theatre to theatres across the UK 
  • Support the development of early-mid career artists
  • Encourage community members to tell an incredible story creatively
Special thanks to Arts Council England, D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Ian McKellen Producer Grant and Unity Theatre Trust for supporting our work.

As a charity we rely on your support to make this possible so, no matter how big or small, please do consider making a donation

Once again, thank you for helping us make 2023 a massive success for New Perspectives. And we look forward to you joining our 50th
year journey in 2024!