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BAFTA-winning Tim Whitnall adapts first ever stage version of Notes from a Small Island

We’re thrilled to be working with BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning writer Tim Whitnall on the first-ever stage adaptation of Bill Bryon’s Notes from a Small Island, the first production in our Spring 2023 season.

Tim Whitnall is best known for his work on hit play Morecambe, a tribute to the late comedian Eric Morecambe which opened on the West End before touring the UK, and BBC 4 drama Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story which won the BAFTA Breakthrough Talent Award.

Tim let us in on what it means to be adapting Bryson’s hilarious iconic memoir:

“It’s been both a privilege and a delight to have distilled Bryson’s hilarious and affecting travelogue into a stage play. This wonderful book has been a firm favourite of mine since its publication, and I’m still pinching myself to believe I’ve been permitted anywhere near it as a playwright!”

Notes from a Small Island was written following Bill Bryson’s irrevent and hilarious journey through the beloved island nation he called home for two decades. From Downing Street to Loch Ness, this is a delightful look at the United Kingdom, celebrating all the quirks of our small island. Although written in 1995, Tim takes some time to reflect on why Notes from a Small Island is still relevant to today’s audiences.

“Voted by BBC Radio 4 listeners on World Book Day, 2003 as “the book that best represents our nation”, I realised that “Notes From a Small Island” contains a wealth of wry observations and pithy insights that will resonate with a contemporary audience, particularly as Britons reassess their national identity in a post-Brexit, politically turbulent, and technology-driven world.

Back in 1995, Bill set off on his eventful road trip to discover “for better and for worse” what might have changed and what has endured since his first visit to these shores in 1973. The stage version evokes a similar journey of discovery, allowing audiences to connect with their own past, take stock of the present, and consider what the future might bring for the UK.

As we heal and rebuild following the ravages of the past three years, the play also gently reminds us that being British allows us plenty to be grateful for. To quote Bill: “You have plenty to eat, you live in a time of peace, and you can rest easy in the knowledge that “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” will never be Number One again.”

Originally due to open in September 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic, this highly anticipated adaptation will at long last receive its world premiere at The Watermill, playing from Friday 3 February to Saturday 18 March.

With signature invention and imagination from director Paul Hart and designer Katie Lias, the creative team behind hit comedy SPIKE (Watermill and UK Tour), the production will embrace the full scale and playfulness of Bryson’s much-loved travelogue in our intimate space – it is sure to be a raucously good night out.

Notes from a Small Island is a Watermill Theatre production in association with Simon Friend Entertainment.

Tickets for Notes from a Small Island are now on sale, playing from Friday 3 February to Saturday 18 March.

Tickets from £15 or take advantage of our Super Saver price and save £5 on tickets between Friday 3 to Thursday 9 February.

Book here: https://bit.ly/WMNfaSI

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