A word from the producer: First day of rehearsals

A word from the producer: First day of rehearsals

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Refreshed and back from a holiday in Italy, where I visited Carrara with my sculptor husband to pick up some marble (not easily done) for his next project, I quickly got back to theatre and work in London. By Regeneration co-producer Jenny King. 


First off after my Italian sojourn, an inspirational visit to the National Theatre to see Great Britain, written by Richard Bean and directed by outgoing artistic director Nicholas Hytner, the pair reuniting after their success with One Man, Two Guvnors.

What fun to watch American tourists in London at our National Theatre watching a critically acclaimed play, bashing this country. Great Britain – an apt title for a brilliantly funny satire.

We may have lost our self-esteem with the Empire, our decency and common sense over Iraq, but we are producing some great plays. And with satirical comedy about our gutter press – presented on our prime theatre stage – inviting us to feel responsible for buying the damn papers … well, I felt almost proud to be British.


Billie Piper in Great Britain

And then yesterday (Monday 28 July), to our first day of rehearsals for Regeneration at Northampton Royal & Derngate. The buzz and excited chatter of a new company gathering….

How refreshing to have a play commemorating the First World War without a single reference to a gun or grenade. Pat Barker’s brilliant book; Nicholas Wright’s inspired adaptation – we are so lucky to have both – and to be in the hands of an extraordinary director, Simon Godwin (who, in another National Theatre connection, has previously directed Anne-Marie Duff in Strange Interlude there, and returns in February to direct Ralph Fiennes in Shaw's Man and Superman.)

Simon gave the read-through a happy twist by inviting everyone in the room – carpenters, wardrobe staff, lighting technicians, producers – to join in. And we did. Everyone taking a line each so that we really listened to the words and not to unrehearsed performances as is often the case at read-throughs.

Then the set model was presented by designer Alex Eales, who talked through the concept and the scenes. It was a great first day.

The producers left the rehearsal room in Northampton and the artistes at work with high hopes and drove back to our office in London to study box office figures, contracts and marketing plans.


Regeneration opens at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 29 August to 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.

Regeneration premiered on 2 September 2014 (previews from 29 August) at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.