Stacey Ghent & Shenagh Govan channel emotions for Hightide’s When The Long Trick’s Over tour

Two sisters. One dream. The hardest open-water swim in the world. Stacey Ghent and Shenagh Govan will play mother and daughter in HighTide and New Wolsey Theatre’s production of the two hander When The Long Trick’s Over – a triumphant new play from Olivier Award winning Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.

The work, which premieres at the Ipswich theatre next month, moves forwards and backwards in time across the 21 miles between Dover and Calais as a young swimmer harnesses her mind and body to make the Channel crossing. 

With grief and joy, ‘90s pop-songs and lists, When The Long Trick’s Over encapsulates the fact that love persists whatever the distance, and however perilous the journey to the other side. 

The play tackles what it means to grieve, both physically and mentally, how we deal with loss and all the ways in which those we have lost paradoxically remain present in our lives as we struggle through our world without them.  

And that, sometimes, it means swimming against the tide and against the things that hold you back: the old memories and oil tankers, jellyfish and jelly babies. 

Morgan’s East of England debut production is very much a piece for our times and a step change for HighTide as it produces its first full scale tour since the pandemic and continues in the organisation’s mission to produce quality new work across Suffolk.  

Writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm said, “I am so excited about touring my play around the East of England.  It’s a piece that is close to my heart. 

“I’m so looking forward to getting the chance to spend some proper time there creating this piece with the HighTide team.  I can’t wait to take audiences on this journey through the waves of the English Channel.  It’s going to be magical.”

The production’s creative team is all-female and the majority are women of colour.

HighTide’s artistic director and CEO, Suba Das, said “Morgan was rightly keen that this play, which is so profoundly about women’s joy, pain, and resilience, be taken into production by as many phenomenal women as possible.

“It has been my privilege not only to help make that a reality, but with HighTide’s associate artist Chinoyerem Odimba in the driving seat, we have also been able to assemble a truly diverse all-female team of the highest calibre.

Das, New Wolsey’s chief executive, Sarah Holmes, and its artistic director, Peter Rowe, jointly said: “This world premiere production marks the first time Morgan Lloyd Malcolm – a real star of contemporary British theatre – has had her work produced in the East of England and we’re delighted that our audiences will have their first encounter with one of our greatest theatre talents. 

“The production follows HighTide’s Inventing the Future festival in October, which showcased six new plays and formally launched the company’s partnership with the New Wolsey, supporting new writing in the East of England.

“We’re particularly proud to present this lyrical and funny play about how family, your favourite pop songs, and the physical act of swimming, can all help overcome grief as we all continue to recover from the pandemic. 

“We hope our audiences will all find joy and strength in a story that celebrates the indomitable fortitude of the human spirit”. 

Chinonyerem said, “It’s a very special piece of writing about all the beautiful ways we can be both wholly in pursuit of life, but also standing still in grief. 

“I am thrilled to be directing this.”

Stacey is a hard of hearing actress, born and raised in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Her credits include: TV: Coronation Street (ITV); Breathless (ITV). Theatre: Sophia (Beverley Andrews/Arcola Theatre); The Prince and the Pauper (Watermill Theatre); Crazy For You (UK No1 Tour); Sweet Charity (Watermill Theatre); and Tommy (UK Tour).

Shenagh trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Her recent TV / Film work incudes Vera (ITV), The Musketeers (BBC); The Man Who Knew Infinity with Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons.

Further TV credits include eight years in The Bill, and episodes of Holby City, Doctors, Casualty, Midsomer Murders and Eastenders.

LISTINGS

New Wolsey Theatre, February 11-15

Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, February 17-19

Oxford Playhouse, February 22-23

Arts Centre, Norwich, February 25

Corn Hall, Diss, March 1

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, March 2

Mercury Theatre, Colchester, March 3-5

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, March 8-9

The Cut, Halesworth, March 10.

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