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Saints to star in theatre production
SAINTS are set to star – in a new theatre production.
The Daily Echo can reveal Southampton’s Guildhall Square will be transformed into an outdoor theatre venue next summer.
It will host productions celebrating both the 50th anniversary of Southampton becoming a city, and Saints’ history, fans and players.
The new director of the Nuffield Theatre, Sam Hodges, has unveiled the ambitious plans, which are a cornerstone of the theatre’s 2014 season programme.
The full details of the play are a closely guarded secret but it could feature a mini St Mary’s Stadium being built in Guildhall Square and will be inspired by the memories of the club’s supporters.
Among the other events planned for next year, which will also mark the 50th anniversary of the theatre, is the three-day Fulcrum Festival which will bring drama and the city’s key role in biomedicine together.
The Nuffield in the Square project will take place next July and August, and has been described as a “largescale, outdoor summer project”.
And the headline event in Guildhall Square will be a production based on Saints, celebrating the club’s history and players and fans, and could see the theatre audience take on the role of the club’s fans in a mini St Mary’s specially built for the occasion.
The Nuffield is asking supporters to share their memories, which will be used as inspiration for the play, through the theatre’s website.
Other events being staged to celebrate the city and theatre’s 50th anniversaries next summer will be coordinated by Art At The Heart, a consortium of Southampton art organisations, with more details to be announced later this year.
Mr Hodges, who took over as creative and executive director in June, said the Saints production would be “about the club’s fans, about its heroes and villains, and which, as a project, engages huge numbers of members of the community.
“It will temporarily and significantly alter Guildhall Square.”
City council leisure chief Matt Tucker said: “We’re really enthusiastic about the fact that the Nuffield want to hold an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Southampton’s city status. It will be a good opportunity to involve a number of local groups, and we are very much looking forward to it.”
Mr Hodges, who has previously been producer at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End, has spoken of his ambition to make theatre in Southampton “world class” and attract internationally-acclaimed actors, playwrights and directors.
Part of his bold vision for the next year involves the Fulcrum Festival, which will run from March 21 to 23 and will be run in partnership with the University of Southampton.
It has been described as a mixture of events, debates and performances “aimed at awakening Southampton people to their city’s emergent role in modern biomedicine.”
World-class speakers from both theatre and science will take part, along with some of the country’s most innovative theatre companies.
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