BBC Arts announces more plays adapted for the screen and radio as part of Lights Up; a festival of UK theatre that brings together productions that were either closed, or never even opened to the public, due to Covid-19. Continuing its Culture in Quarantine initiative – bringing arts and culture into the nation’s homes – BBC Arts has partnered with theatres across the country to produce this unprecedented season of plays for audiences at home.
Tuesday 16 March marks the anniversary of theatres having to close exactly a year ago, with many productions that were years in the making never reaching the stage. These include the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale. The play was scheduled to run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Summer 2020 then on tour, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Now, The Winter’s Tale – as well as J’Ouvert from Sonia Friedman Productions and Orpheus In The Record Shop from Opera North and Leeds Playhouse – will be adapted for television as part of BBC Lights Up.
Lights Up begins tomorrow with the broadcast of Stripe By Stripe And Other Stories on Radio 4, produced in collaboration with National Theatre Wales (Saturday 13 March). Next weekend, Olivier Award-winning actor Giles Terera stars alongside Samuel West in his own debut play The Meaning of Zong, about the notorious massacre aboard the slave ship Zong in 1781, on Radio 3 (Sunday 21 March). Lights Up continues throughout March and April, a festival celebrating the breadth of UK theatre.
Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts said: “A few months ago, we asked theatres and producers across the UK to come up with ideas for a virtual theatre festival to be staged in lockdown. The result is BBC Lights Up: eighteen new productions for television, radio and online. They bring together household names with groundbreaking new talent. They are joyful, moving, funny, poetic and, in many cases, probing and provocative plays. Most of all, they are astonishingly innovative. Each theatre and producer responded to the challenge in their own way, pushing the boundaries of what theatre can be when there is no audience in the room. Audiences will, hopefully, be able to return to theatres again in a few months, but in the meantime BBC Lights Up celebrates the creativity and resilience of UK theatre in a time of adversity.”