The National Theatre is to tour Evan Placey’s Jekyll & Hyde, a radical reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, to state secondary schools nationwide from 31st January 2022.
Directed by Kirsty Housley, the 7-week tour will be watched by over 10,500 students, as the NT resumes school touring for the first time since 2019. In partnership with local theatres, the production will be seen by students in Hornchurch, Wakefield, Doncaster, Sunderland, Wolverhampton and Salford, Rochdale and Wigan in Greater Manchester.
In a mash up of Victorian England and the modern day, the play explores how the repression of female voices is as prevalent in the 19th century as it is today. The cast includes Paksie Vernon, Lucy Elizabeth Thorburn, Huw Parmenter, Wesley Bozonga, Stuart Reid, Jasmeen James, Asha Kingsley and Russell Layton.
The production is designed by Amanda Stoodley with sound design by Ben Grant and LX design by Joshua Pharo.
Evan Placey, Writer, said, “Jekyll & Hyde is an opportunity for young people to look at narratives they think they know well in radical new ways – asking questions about feminism and misogyny and how we bring about change. At a time when we need stories more than ever, and when it is conversely much more difficult for schools and young people to access live theatre, I am beyond thrilled that the National Theatre are bringing this play into schools and into the lives of young people who have been robbed of so much over the last couple years. Live theatre can be transformational, and every young person deserves the opportunity to engage with it.”
Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said, “Touring live theatre directly into school halls is an essential part of the NT’s commitment to young people nationwide and so we’re delighted that with close support from our Theatre Nation Partners, Evan Placey’s reimagining of Jekyll & Hyde will be seen by over 10,500 young people in our first schools’ tour since 2019. We know access to the arts has a positive impact on the wellbeing and social development of young people and so as schools continue to face disruption and adapt to new ways of teaching, it’s more important than ever that we support creative learning as part of a broad education. The production explores pressing issues in today’s society and we hope it will spark discussion, encourage debate and create moments to bring together the school community again.”
Accompanied by a discussion with the cast and creative team, workshops and professional training for teachers, the play tackles urgent issues for teenagers including violence against women and the power of the internet in today’s society.
Sarah Fitzpatrick and Beth Rowett, Drama Teachers at Cathedral Academy Wakefield said, “The magic of seeing their school transform into a theatre in front of their eyes is a moment students will never forget. Bringing live theatre to the young people who often have limited access to the arts allows them a shared experience at a time when we need that sense of community and togetherness. Drama gives young people an opportunity for their voice to be heard and to express themselves creatively in a supportive environment. That takes courage!”
The schools’ tour forms part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships programme to grow and sustain new audiences for live theatre with support from our partner theatres: Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Theatre Royal Wakefield, Cast in Doncaster, Sunderland Culture and Sunderland Empire, The Wolverhampton Grand, and The Lowry in Salford.
The NT continues to support schools nationwide through initiatives including the Drama Teacher Conference taking place in February half-term, access to the NT Collection, a digital library of productions and resources available free for state schools, and Story Seekers, a free digital storytelling project for primary schools.
For more information and to access learning resources, please visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning
Secondary schools touring is supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Hearn Foundation, The Ingram Trust, The Constance Travis Charitable Trust and The Dorset Foundation – in memory of Harry M Weinrebe.
Schools’ Touring schedule:
w/c 31/01/21 Hornchurch
w/c 7/02/21 Salford, Greater Manchester
w/c 14/02/21 Rochdale & Wigan, Greater Manchester
w/c 28/02/21 Wolverhampton
w/c 7/3/21 Doncaster
w/c 14/3/21 Wakefield
w/c 21/3/21 Sunderland