Plays by writers including Mike Bartlett and EV Crowe that were forced to close early because of the pandemic will be revived on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 as part of a festival created by actor Bertie Carvel.
Lockdown Theatre Festival will feature actors including Katherine Parkinson, Rachael Stirling and Nicholas Burns, who will record their lines in isolation, to reimagine their performances for special radio versions of the plays.
The four plays included in the festival’s opening weekend were cut short as a result of Covid-19.
The plays, which will be broadcast on June 13 and 14, are: The Mikvah Project by Josh Azouz, which had been running at the Orange Tree Theatre, the Lyric Hammermith Theatre’s Love Love Love by Bartlett, Winsome Pinnock’s Rockets and Blue Lights, from the Royal Exchange in Manchester, and Crowe’s Shoe Lady, which was being staged by the Royal Court in London.
Carvel said: “I want to create a cultural snapshot for posterity, because who knows what the future holds? Theatres up and down the country are facing an existential crisis. If I can find a way, every single production that has been forced off the stage because of the lockdown will find a new platform at this festival.”
BBC Arts director Jonty Claypole said Carvel’s project would “shine a light on the work of theatres that had their runs cancelled” and would add to the BBC’s “growing collection some of the very best theatre talents in the UK”, as part of its Culture in Quarantine initiative.
The technical teams for each play have assembled home studio kits for each actor, which are sterilised before and after delivery.
Producer Jeremy Mortimer said he wanted listeners at home to “feel they are present at the press night performance”.
Radio 4 - The Mikvah Project by Josh Azouz, an Orange Tree Theatre production directed by Georgia Green with sound design by Lex Kosanke. Cast includes: Alex Waldmann and Josh Zaré.
Radio 3 - Love Love Love by Mike Bartlett — Lyric, Hammersmith Theatre production directed by Rachel O’Riordan with sound design by Simon Slater. Cast includes: Nicholas Burns, Patrick Knowles, Isabella Laughland, Mike Noble and Rachael Stirling.
Radio 3 - Rockets and Blue Lights by Winsome Pinnock — Royal Exchange, Manchester production directed by Miranda Cromwell with sound design by Elena Pena and music by Femi Temowo. Cast includes Anthony Aje, Paul Bradley, Karl Collins, Kiza Deen, Natey Jones, Rochelle Rose, Matthew Seadon-Young, Kudzai Sitima, Cathy Tyson and Everal A Walsh.
Radio 4 - Shoe Lady by EV Crowe — Royal Court Theatre production directed by Vicky Featherstone with sound design by Tony Gayle and music by Matthew Herbert. Cast includes: Archer Brandon, Tom Kanji, Kayla Meikle and Katherine Parkinson.