Howard Brenton play to premiere at new Southampton theatre

Southampton's proposed new arts complex Plan's for Southampton's new arts complex
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The world premiere of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory has been announced to run at a new theatre in Southampton.

Brenton’s latest work will run at NST City from February 7 to March 3, with press night on February 15.

The Shadow Factory, set in Southampton during the Battle of Britain, will open the brand new NST City venue, which was conceived by Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s director Samuel Hodges and 59 Productions.

Shadow factories were the outcome of the Shadow Scheme, a plan devised in 1935 and developed by the British Government in the build-up to World War II to try to meet the urgent need for more aircraft using technology from the motor industry.

Alongside the production, the company will mount The Shadow Factory Exhibition; an installation featuring the moving set designed by 59 Productions.

Brenton said: “The creation of the shadow factories is an inspiring story from a frightening time, something for Southampton to celebrate.

“We may be uncertain about what is going to happen in the next few years. But our present anxiety pales beside the dire straits the townspeople found themselves in during the September of 1940. Their lives were torn apart – German bombing raids above, on the ground their work places requisitioned by the ruthless Ministry of Aircraft Production.”

Hodges added: “I first heard about this story months after starting this job and was immediately struck by its significance.

“Not just for what it says about Southampton’s past, but as an example of what the future can be. We famously live in a particularly segregated country right now – and our political leaders do nothing to reassure us that cohesion and empathy will be at the forefront.”

Further programming for the opening season at NST City will be announced shortly.

NST City is part of Studio 144, Southampton’s new £28 million city centre arts venue.