Shoe Lady by E.V. Crowe to be aired on BBC Radio 4 as part of LOCKDOWN Theatre Festival

Published on Thu 30 Apr 2020

On the 13 & 14 June 2020 LOCKDOWN Theatre Festival held a scratch festival including performances of theatre productions across BBC Radio 3 & 4 as part of the BBC’s Arts Culture in Quarantine initiative.

Created by actor Bertie Carvel in response to the closure of theatres amid the coronavirus crisis, LOCKDOWN Theatre Festival brought to the airwaves four stage plays that had their scheduled runs cancelled or cut short by the pandemic.

The actors linked up via the internet to record “down the line” from isolation, drawing on the muscle memory of fully realised stage productions to reimagine their performances for the radio.

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!

Shoe Lady by E.V. Crowe, directed by Royal Court Theatre Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone, opened in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on Wednesday 4 March 2020 and was due to run until Saturday 21 March 2020.

Commenting on the festival, Vicky Featherstone said;

“It is an honour to be part of the Lockdown Theatre Festival which has been so brilliantly created and developed in record time by Bertie Carvel, the BBC and Reduced Listening.

Shoe Lady had a week to go when we decided to close the theatre. One of thousands of shows across the country that were never able to reach their full audience. This festival allows more people to hear the work and begins to create a sense of the breadth, passion, imagination and talent of this countrys incredible range of theatre-makers. While our industry is on hold, this festival reminds us of why we love telling stories and sharing them with audiences.”

Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts commented: “When we launched Culture in Quarantine I was determined that we would support the performance sector by creating a repertory theatre of broadcast for audiences at home. Bertie’s ambitious project to shine a light on the work of theatres that had their runs cancelled, with Radio 3 and Radio 4, will add to our growing collection some of the very best theatre talents in the UK.

The technical team assembled home studio kits for each actor which were sterilised before and after delivery. Contributors were in lockdown all over the UK, from Northern Ireland to Birmingham.

The four plays across the Festival’s launch weekend were:

    • Radio 4 – SHOE LADY by E.V. Crowe —Royal Court Theatre production directed by Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone with sound design by Tony Gayle and music by Matthew Herbert. Cast includes: Archer Brandon, Tom Kanji, Kayla Meikle, Katherine Parkinson
    • Radio 4 – THE MIKVAH PROJECT by Josh Azouz — Orange Tree Theatre production directed by Georgia Green with sound design by Lex Krosanke. Cast includes: Alex Waldmann, Josh Zaré
    • Radio 3 – LOVE LOVE LOVE by Mike Bartlett — Lyric, Hammersmith Theatre production directed by Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan with sound design by Simon Slater. Cast includes: Nicholas Burns, Patrick Knowles, Isabella Laughland, Mike Noble, 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 & 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, Everal A Walsh

For the full press release click here.