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Port - National Theatre (Lyttelton)


Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MARIANNE Elliott will direct Simon Stephens’ Port, which opens at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre on January 28, 2013 (previews from January 22) before continuing in repertoire.

Port is set in Stockport in 1988. It’s midnight and Rachel, eleven, and Billy, six, wait in the car in agitated excitement. Their mother is at her wits’ end with all their chatter and fighting and dreams of Disneyland. She is about to leave them for good.

Their father, drunk in the flat above, has locked the door. It’s a pivotal moment, the beginning of a thirteen-year odyssey for two kids, largely abandoned and growing up in the deprived suburban shadows of Manchester, a city that felt itself to be the most exciting in the world.

Described as a richly colourful portrait of a town with the everyday writ large, Port is a celebration of the human spirit as Rachel, through sheer courage and despite an economic and political climate that pushes her into the very margins, looks to the future and opts for love and life and for something better.

Port premiered at the Royal Exchange, Manchester in 2002 and was directed by Marianne Elliott, who has since directed Simon Stephens’ Harper Regan and his adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, currently in a sell-out run at the Cottesloe.

Marianne Elliott is an Associate Director at the National Theatre, where her productions also include Season’s Greetings, All’s Well That Ends Well, Saint Joan (Olivier Award for Best Revival, South Bank Show Award for Theatre), Pillars of the Community (Evening Standard Award for Best Director), and the award-winning War Horse (co-directed with Tom Morris).

Simon Stephens’ many other plays include On the Shore of the Wide World (National Theatre co-production with Royal Exchange: Olivier Award for Best New Play), Morning, Three Kingdoms, Wastwater, Punk Rock, Seawall, Pornography, Country Music, Christmas and Herons. He also co-wrote A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky with Robert Holman and David Eldridge.

Port will be designed by Lizzie Clachan, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Ian Dickinson.

Port contains strong language throughout and is suitable for 15 years+.