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Barney Norris premieres new play as part of spring/summer season

Echo's End
14 November 2016

Salisbury Playhouse’s spring/summer 2017 season has been announced and includes a brand new commission from award-winning playwright Barney Norris.

Barney Norris’ new play, Echo’s End (Main House – 29 March to 15 April), is set on the edge of Salisbury Plain in 1915 as a young couple finds itself caught up in the turmoil of World War I. Directed by Alice Hamilton, Echo’s End is a story of two families and the seismic changes which altered their lives and the identity of their county forever. Norris (winner of the Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright) and Hamilton are former members of Salisbury Playhouse’s Stage 65 Youth Theatre and jointly run Up in Arms theatre company. Recent productions together include Visitors and Eventide. Norris’s The Rest of Your Life was staged earlier this year by The Bush as part of its This Place We Know season.

As part of Salisbury Playhouse’s continuing commitment to its Original Drama programme it has also commissioned Hattie Naylor (Radio 4’s The Diary of Samuel Pepys) to write As the Crow Flies – a co-production with Pentabus Theatre Company (The Salberg – 28 March to 8 April). Based on a true story of a woman who struck up an unlikely friendship with a wounded crow, this is a heart-warming story of healing and kindness. As the Crow Flies is directed by Elizabeth Freestone and opens at Bromfield Village Hall, Shropshire (7 March) before embarking on a rural tour (dates to be announced).

Following a sell-out run in 2014, Salisbury Playhouse’s first Original Drama production, Worst Wedding Ever, returns in a co-production between Salisbury Playhouse, New Wolsey Ipswich and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. Written by Broadchurch-creator Chris Chibnall, Worst Wedding Ever is once again directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Gareth Machin and runs in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 2 to Saturday 25 February 2017 before playing in Ipswich (1 to 11 March) and Hornchurch (15 March to 1 April).

The cast includes Olivier Award nominated Julia Hills (Calendar Girls, Chichester Festival Theatre, West End and national tour; 2point4 Children) and Lloyd Gorman (Sunny Afternoon, West End). Appearing alongside them will be Elizabeth Cadwallader, Ben Callon, Derek Frood, Kieran Hill and Chris Talman. Full casting will be announced at a later date.

Now in its sixth year, Theatre Fest West (10 to 25 February) will celebrate theatre from across the south west region. Performances will take place across Wiltshire at Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre, The Pound Arts Centre Corsham and Trowbridge Arts. Companies taking part this year include Theatre Alibi, Pipeline Theatre and, for family audiences, Stuff and Nonsense.

The season also sees Salisbury Playhouse produce a revival of Rodney Ackland’s Before the Party (4 to 27 May). Based on the short story by Somerset Maugham, this sizzling portrayal of the upper middle classes adjusting to post-war life is directed by Ryan McBryde.

Salisbury Playhouse will also be welcoming a range of top touring productions including The Play That Goes Wrong (27 February to 4 March), The Verdict starring Clive Mantel, Jack Shepherd and Richard Walsh (6 to 11 March), Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (20 to 22 April) and The Watermill Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night (20 to 24 June).

Artistic Director Gareth Machin says: “Salisbury Playhouse continues to balance high quality revivals of classic English drama with a bold commitment to new work that celebrates the unique perspective of the South West region. Alongside this home produced work we are proud to offer our audience the very best in touring theatre on the small and mid-scale.”

General booking opens on Friday 18 November. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit the What's On page.