Toby Jones, Josie Lawrence and Juliet Stevenson Star in Audio Series PlacePrints

Juliet Stevenson and Toby Jones recording Grims Ditch
Juliet Stevenson and Toby Jones recording Grims Ditch

From a Celtic warrior imprisoned on the banks of Stratford Upon Avon, to a plague ravaged town in Derbyshire via a sacred pagan site in West Cornwall, this new audio series invokes the hidden stories imprinted on ten different locations around the UK.

New Perspectives have been recording this cycle of audio plays over the last four years, with Artistic Director Jack McNamara directing each carefully crafted vignette with a cast including Josie Lawrence, Toby Jones, Stephen Rea, Juliet Stevenson and Michael Pennington, as well as with rising stars Hedydd Dylan and Rachel Summers. Written by David Rudkin, whose sixty-year writing career spans across stage, screen and radio, each audio piece will be accompanied by a short film shot on location by Grammy-nominated filmmaker Grant Gee. PlacePrints gives voice to a presence that haunts a location, a story that wishes to imprint itself on a place.

The series courses through time, bringing stories from Roman, Pagan, Templar and Neanderthal histories into direct confrontation with the modern world. The dramatic voices range from the plague itself, giving listeners an audio tour of the devastation it wreaked on the village of Eyam, through to a Northern Irish lake describing the hold it once had over a young boy. Historical references include the Solway Martyrs with the drowning of Margaret Wilson for refusing to swear allegiance to the English crown, and Mary Jones’ barefoot walk across the Snowdonia mountains to buy a bible.

Director Jack McNamara said, “Each of these ten audio plays are masterpieces of place-writing. David Rudkin has an extremely rare gift, to be able to see the landscape as a series of temporal layers, and to acutely feel the often overlooked tension between past and present. He is one of the most unique, daring and rigorous dramatic writers our country has produced. These works are deep dives into a landscape we thought we knew. With Rudkin as our guide we see, hear and feel things that have long been hidden from public view. The sheer creative and cultural ambition of his PlacePrints cycle is astonishing.”

David Rudkin emerged in the 1960s as one of the country’s leading writers with work ranging across stage, screen and radio, including opera libretti and translations of Ibsen and Greek classics. His long and varied career has seen him work with some of the UK’s top organisations, actors and directors such as Peter Hall, Patrick Stewart, Lindsay Duncan including multiple projects with the RSC. He’s worked with New Perspectives previously on The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock, which premiered at the Leicester Curve before transferring to New York.

New Perspectives is an East Midlands based company with over 40 years’ experience of touring high-quality productions to venues of all sizes across the UK, from mid-scale theatres to village halls.  With a strong rural core, they create productions to fit spaces of any size in order to bring new work that is unexpected and thought-provoking to a wide range of audiences. Since 2012, New Perspectives has been led by Artistic Director Jack McNamara whose productions include The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh and Soho Theatre), The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin (Brits off Broadway, New York and UK tour), Darkness, Darkness (Nottingham Playhouse co-production) and the Stage Award winning The Fishermen by Gbolohan Obisesan (Trafalgar Studios, Assembly George Square Studios and UK Tour).

New Perspectives’ trilogy The Spirit is currently available to stream as part of #BACGoingDigital. Originally performed at Battersea Arts Centre in 2020, The Spirit is a mesmerising, viscerally intense trilogy of performances from one of Europe’s most distinctive and radical performance artists, Thibault Delferiere, directed by Jack McNamara. The trilogy is available until 12th July on BAC’s YouTube channel here.

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