KING COTTON WORLD PREMIERE
LIVERPOOL PLAYWRIGHT JIMMY MCGOVERN WRITES HIS FIRST STAGE PLAY FOR 25 YEARS
A CO-COMMISSION FROM THE LOWRY AND THE LIVERPOOL CULTURE COMPANY
Wed 12 – Sat 22 Sep 2007 The Lowry – World Premiere 12 Sep 2007
Tue 25 – Sat 29 Sep2007 Liverpool Empire
JIMMY McGOVERN – WRITER
JUDE KELLY – DIRECTOR
HOWARD GOODALL – COMPOSER
IAN BROWNBILL – ORIGINAL IDEA / MUSICAL SUPERVISION
This September The Lowry stages the world premiere of King Cotton, a co-commission with The Liverpool Culture Company, which will also open at The Liverpool Empire later that month.
This is the first stage play in 25 years from one of Liverpool’s best-known playwrights, the award-winning Jimmy McGovern, author of Cracker, Hillsborough and The Street, and adapted from an original idea by Ian Brownbill. Famous for his incisive take on contemporary society, McGovern uses his unique talent to bring another controversial period in the country’s history to life.
This ground-breaking co-commission not only links two cities renowned for their artistic excellence but also three of the most important names in theatre, music and television.
Since opening in 2000, The Lowry, the hugely popular and award-winning arts venue on Salford Quays, has brought a dynamic new strand to the performing arts portfolio of the region and in 2007 presents its most ambitious project yet, King Cotton.
In the run up to Liverpool becoming The European Capital of Culture 2008, King Cotton is staged at a highly significant time. Commissioned to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, it is one of the highlights of the city’s 800th birthday calendar and is part of the city’s Year of Heritage programme.
King Cotton is directed by one of Liverpool’s most famous daughters, Jude Kelly, former Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse, currently Artistic Director of London’s South Bank Centre and one of the most dynamic and innovative theatre and opera directors of recent times.
An emotional and inspiring musical theatre, King Cotton’s music is composed by Howard Goodall, famous for his TV theme tunes including Blackadder, Mr Bean, Red Dwarf, The Catherine Tate Show and The Vicar of Dibley.
With epic sweep and compelling music, it tells the story of the struggle to break free from poverty and slavery, seen through the eyes of Sokoto, a black slave working on an American cotton plantation and those of Tom, an impoverished mill-worker in the North West of England. It is set at the time of the American Civil War and the Lancashire cotton famine.
Cotton is the thread that binds their lives; lives inextricably linked until the story is finally played out and reaches its emotionally wrought conclusion. The narrative is driven by a group of musicians performing music inspired by the traditional sounds of Northern mill towns and the plantations of the Deep South, with the defiant pulse of the African drum resonant.
King Cotton is produced by The Lowry and co-commissioned by The Lowry and the Liverpool Culture Company. King Cotton is supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England, and the PRS Foundation.
The Lowry: Booking for King Cotton is only open to mylowry subscribers until public booking opens on Thurs 1 March. To book now for King Cotton, register free on The Lowry’s home page at www.thelowry/mylowry.
Liverpool Empire: Public booking opens Thur 1 March 07