An ambitious five-week festival of new writing about The Staffordshire Hoard has opened at The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
The festival features 19 new commissions and 22 plays, including a community project for 500 people.
The New Vic Studio hosts Tranklements, a funny, inspiring solo performance about underdogs and the Midlands spirit, written and performed by Olivier award nominee and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Caroline Horton.
The Table Plays are a selection of five minute monologues by some of the UK’s most talented writers performed for guests at their tables by members of the Hoard ensemble cast.
There are ten new Table Plays, plus two extracts – from Beowulf and Mercian Hymns by Geoffrey Hill.
The ten new plays are: My Name is Freda by Samuel Adamson (book and lyrics The Light Princess), The Foreigner by Lydia Adetunji, Rune by Stoke-born April De Angelis (Jumpy, After Electra), Out of the Dark: The Hoard Speaks by novelist Alan Garner, The Rime of the Staffordshire Hoard by Staffordshire Poet Laureate Gary Longden, Hoarder by comedian Sara Pascoe, Magic by Darren Sharp (the winning entry in the Hoard Festival Playwriting Competition), Inscribed by Lemn Sissay MBE, Half a Horse by comedian Isy Suttie (Peep Show) and Hwaet! by Tom Wells (Jumpers for Goalposts).
Based on 80 hours of original interviews conducted by New Vic artistic director Theresa Heskins Unearthed pieces together the story of the Hoard direct from the mouths of those who found it, and those who have been trying to understand it ever since.
Unearthed is a documentary-drama in the New Vic tradition. There’s the story of Terry Herbert, the metal detectorist who found an astonishing hoard of gold in a Staffordshire field, of Kevin Colls, one of the first archaeologists on the scene, the historian Michael Wood, the conservationists and experts who try to unravel its meanings.
This is followed by The Gift, an epic of romance and adventure from playwright and novelist Jemma Kennedy.