News: David Morrissey, Denise Gough, and Jenna Coleman to headline Tom Stoppard’s ‘A Separate Peace’

David Morrissey (Hangmen, Britannia, The Walking Dead), Jenna Coleman (Victoria, Doctor Who), Denise Gough (two time Olivier Award winner for People, Places and Things and Angels in America), Ed Stoppard (Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldsdtadt in the West End) and Maggie Service (Quiz on ITV, W1A, Call The Midwife) are to star in the first play in ‘The Remote Read’, an innovative series of live streamed virtual play readings. It will be live streamed on Saturday 2 May at 7pm.

This is no ordinary script in hand reading – this performance has a full creative and production team behind it, and will be directed by award-winning film and theatre director Sam Yates (The Starry Messenger with Matthew Broderick, Wyndham’s Theatre and The Phlebotomist, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs; Film: The Hope Rooms with Andrew Scott and Ciarán Hinds, Cymbeline with Hayley Atwell, All’s Well That Ends Well with Ruth Wilson and Lindsay Duncan).

A new frontier for live theatre, creating new digital versions of traditional stage jobs – this innovative project is the first of its’ kind, developing a piece entirely remotely. This production has been put together by a team of creatives, re-imagining their roles for a digital production – including the Director, Design team, Stage Manager and others.

Tom Stoppard’s A Separate Peace, originally written for TV in 1966, will raise money for stage technicians and creatives forced out of work by COVID-19, as well as The Felix Project food charity.

The producers behind ‘The Remote Read’ – one-off live productions that will be presented and streamed through video conferencing platform, Zoom – are UK-based professional membership platform CurtainCall in partnership with US-based non-profit organisation Apples and Oranges Arts and UK-based non-profit Platform Presents.

Each production will create new jobs for key creatives and stage management freelancers who will work together remotely. Members of CurtainCall are able to apply for these new digital stage jobs exclusively through the membership platform

A Separate Peace is an enigmatic comedy set in a private nursing home. The smooth running of the home and the peace of mind of its staff is disrupted by the arrival of a patient, John Brown. He is warm, charming and can easily pay for his room … the only problem is that he is perfectly healthy. Behind the humour, Stoppard poses a key question about the way our society works: why do we feel so uncomfortable about people who want to do nothing – even when they can afford it?

Director Sam Yates said: “Tom Stoppard’s one-act play is a vibrant and moving exploration of connectedness and care. It is exciting to explore the possibilities of a new and untested form – presenting a play online – with a stellar cast, designer, lighting designer, sound designer and stage manager. It comes at a time when artists are exploring how we can adapt our practices and connect with audiences.”

The rest of the creative team are: Lighting Designer Nat Green, Sound Designer Sam Glossop, Costume Designer Amelia Sierevogel, Tech Designer Tim Kashani, Production Manager Kate West, Stage Manager Georgia Bird.

Co-founder of CurtainCall, Matt Humphrey said: “At a time when theatres and studios across the globe have shut down and the whole world is consuming content, we wanted to get talented creatives and technicians working together again. Our community is passionate about collaborating on creative projects, and ‘The Remote Read’ is going to help them do just that.” Fellow co-founder John Schwab said: “It is through telling stories that we connect with our fellow professionals, and audiences. These unprecedented circumstances have dictated and constrained traditional methods of doing this. We’re excited to explore new ways to bring storytelling to as many people in the best, most
innovative way possible.

Founder of Apples & Oranges, Tim Kashani said: “As we all embrace virtual connections as a way to feed our artistic spirit, I thank and support all in our community working to light a spark of joy in these challenging times.”

Founders of Platform Presents, Gala Gordon and Isabella Macpherson said, “At Platform Presents, we are excited about the potential to
develop new ways of creating and experiencing theatre reaching wider audiences, alongside creating jobs for the theatre community.”

Shure have partnered with ‘The Remote Read’ series as equipment sponsors and are looking forward to assisting the team on overcoming sound technology challenges of virtual productions.

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