Following critical acclaim and box office success in 2014, the co-production from The National Theatre of Scotland, the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Great Britain of The James Plays by Rona Munro, and directed by Laurie Sansom are going out on a major UK tour in 2016 that comprises 13 venues across Scotland and England.
The trilogy opened at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh during the Edinburgh International Festival on 10 August 2014, and subsequently played at the Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, London, playing to over 88,000 people at sell out runs. The plays went on to win the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best New Play with James l winning Writers Guild Award for Best New Play.
Described by The Telegraph as “better than Shakespeare” ‘Rona Munro's trilogy James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock, James II: Day of the Innocents, and James III: The True Mirror bring to life three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland from 1406 -1488. Each play stands alone as a unique vision of a country tussling with its past and future, with its own distinct theatrical atmosphere. Viewed together they create a complex and compelling narrative on Scottish culture and nationhood.
The James Plays are historical drama for a contemporary audience, served up with a refreshing modern directness. Part of the audience is invited to view the performances from the stage and share the performer’s perspective of the space. These seats, built into the set, are at heart of the action, as an ensemble of actors takes the audience through a rarely-explored period of history with wit and boisterous theatricality. The James Plays will again be directed by NTS Artistic Director Laurie Sansom in association with Amanda Gaughan with design by Jon Bausor; lighting design by Philip Gladwell; sound design by Christopher Shutt and movement direction from Neil Bettles.
Audiences responded enthusiastically to the opportunity of viewing the plays as a complete trilogy, seen over the course of a day. This production will pioneer a new bespoke touring pattern with English venues offering audiences the chance to see all three plays together, on a Saturday or Sunday. The Scottish venues performance schedules vary with individual James Plays performances as well as a triple bill of plays on offer.
Fergus Linehan, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival says: “We are delighted that many thousands more people will be able to enjoy Rona Munro’s extraordinary trilogy, The James Plays, which made such an impact at the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival, in an unprecedented collaboration with The National Theatres’ of Scotland and Great Britain. 'The James Plays' are a great example of how the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund promotes collaboration and ambition, ensuring that Scottish works of stature remain at the centre of the Festival’s programme.”
- James I: The Key Will Keep the Lock (Review by Irene Brown)
- James II: Day of The Innocents (Review by Justine Blundell)
- James III: The True Mirror (Review by Bill Dunlop)
Tickets are not yet on sale at any of these venues. Please check nationaltheatrescotland.com which will release booking info as each venue goes on sale. Full tour details and cast to be confirmed and international touring dates to be announced.
Festival Theatre Edinburgh, 13/29 Nicolson Street, Eh8 9ft
James I - Wed 3 February 2016 (preview) and Wednesday 10 February 2016
James II - Thurs 4 February 2016 (preview) and Thursday 11 February 2016
James III – Friday 5 February 2016 (preview) and Friday 12 February 2016
Opening Performance on Saturday 06 February (times to be advised). James I, II and III
Trilogy Day: Saturday 13 February 2016
Eden Court Theatre, Bishops Rd, Inverness
Week of 28 March – performance schedule tbc
King’s Theatre, 297 Bath Street, Glasgow
Week of 4 April - performance schedule tbc
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton
Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 April 2016 – two trilogy days
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays
Saturday 23 and Sun 24 April 2016 - two trilogy days
Newcastle Theatre Royal, 100 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne
30 April & Sun 1 May 2016 - – two trilogy days
Sheffield Theatres, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Saturday 7 and Sun 8 May 2016 - two trilogy days
Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre St, Norwich, Norfolk
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May 2016 - two trilogy days
Marlowe Theatre, The Friars, Canterbury, Kent
Saturday 21 and Sun 22 May 2016 - two trilogy days
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth
Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May 2016 - two trilogy days
Curve, Leicester, 60 Rutland Street, Leicester
Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June 2016
Nottingham Theatre Royal, Theatre Square, Nottingham
Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 2016