First look rehearsal images are released for the brand-new stage adaption of Bill Bryson’s award-winning memoir Notes From A Small Island, affectionately celebrating the quirks and eccentricities of British life, adapted by BAFTA and Olivier Award winning playwright Tim Whitnall (Les Dawson: Flying High – UK Tour, Morecambe – West End, Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story – BBC4).
Directed by The Watermill’s Artistic Director Paul Hart, designed by Katie Lias, and produced in association with Simon Friend Entertainment, Notes from a Small Island kicks off the Newbury-based award-winning theatre’s spring season, and will star Olivier-nominated Mark Hadfield (Thérèse Raquin – Olivier, NT, Into the Woods – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), as ‘Bill Bryson’.
Starring alongside Mark in this world premiere, playing from Friday 3 February to Saturday 18 March, are Bryony Corrigan (The Play That Goes Wrong – West End & Broadway, Magic Goes Wrong & Peter Pan Goes Wrong – West End), Wendy Nottingham (Vera Drake, Mr Selfridge, Peaky Blinders), Anne Odeke (As You Like It, The Merry Wives of Windsor & The Comedy of Errors – Shakespeare’s Globe), Steve Pinder (Brookside, C4, Wicked – UK and Ireland tour), Akshay Sharan (Jack Absolute Flies Again – National Theatre, 2018 Stage Debut Award for ‘Best Actor in a Play’ for The Reluctant Fundamentalist –Yard Theatre) and Hayden Wood (The Play That Goes Wrong & Doctor Who: Time Fracture – West End, Richard II – Arcola).
What makes us love this country we call our own?
From Calais to Scotland, Bill travels the length and breadth of Britain. Why does the nation that produced Marmite, Gardener’s Question Time and people who say “Ooh lovely” at the sight of a cup of tea, hold such a special place in this American’s heart?
Notes from a Small Island spent three years in the Sunday Times bestsellers list, sold over two million copies and was voted on World Book Day by BBC Radio 4 listeners as the book that best represents our British identity.
With signature invention and imagination, the production will embrace the full breadth and playfulness of Bryson’s life affirming travelogue in The Watermill’s fittingly intimate, quintessentially rural space.
Tim Whitnall said, “It’s been both a privilege and a delight to have distilled Bill Bryson’s hilarious and affecting 379-page travelogue into a two-act stage play. This wonderful book has been a firm favourite of mine since its publication, and I’m still pinching myself to believe I’ve been permitted anywhere near it as a playwright!”
Notes from a Small Island will be adapted by Tim Whitnall, directed by Paul Hart, with design Katie Lias, lighting design by Ali Hunter, sound design by Ed Lewis, projection design by George Reeve, and with Sibylla Archdale Khalid as assistant director.
Notes From A Small Island is at Watermill Theatre 3rd February to 18th March 2023