In the days following the Brexit vote, a team of interviewers spoke to people around the country – from Leicester to Derry/Londonderry and Merthry Tydfil to Glasgow, to hear their views of the country and towns they live in, their lives, their future, and the referendum. The opinions were honest, emotional, funny and sometimes extreme. Now, these people’s views will be centre stage as part of a new play, My Country; A Work In Progress at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 16-20 May.
The honest and amusing My Country; A Work In Progress is a new collaboration between Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and Rufus Norris, artistic director at the National Theatre. It is cleverly drawn from gripping interviews with people nationwide, aged from 9 to 97, whose opinions are interwoven with sound bites of speeches from party leaders. With plenty of humour and brilliant tongue-in-cheek impersonations of our most well-known politicians, My Country; A Work In Progress is a playful yet thought-provoking look at the reactions to one of the most seismic events in our country’s history.
As the vibrant Britannia rallies her people, six actors representing six regions of the UK meet for a passionate debate. Stereotypes are nailed, views divided with one question remaining – can there ever be a United Kingdom?
Artistic Director of the National Theatre and former Kidderminster College student, Rufus Norris, said, ‘One of my ambitions for the National Theatre is to make it truly national and through collaboration, embrace the creativity and opinion around the UK. The Brexit vote unleashed a host of questions about our country, way beyond the issue of Britain’s role in Europe. It articulated a deep disaffection. Those elements provoked a need and opportunity to create a piece of theatre that responds to that palpable sense of frustration and disillusionment. Art has always responded to what is happening now and it’s what I hope we achieve with My Country.’
The multi-award winning writer, Carol Ann Duffy’s work in theatre includes Everyman (National Theatre), Grimm Tales (Young Vic) and Beasts and Beauties (Bristol Old Vic). Her stories in My Country are brought to life by Penny Layden (as Britannia), Stuart McQuarrie (Caledonia), Christian Patterson (Cymru), Seema Bowri (East Midlands), Laura Elphinstone (North East), Cavan Clarke (Northern Ireland), and Adam Ewan (South West).
My Country: A Work In Progress is created by the National Theatre in collaboration with; Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Leicester Curve, Derry Playhouse, Live Theatre, National Theatre Wales, Sage Gateshead, Salisbury Playhouse and Strike A Light Festival in association with Cusack Projects Limited.