Narvik

A new play with songs by Lizzie Nunnery

31 January – 25 March 2017

“If I was to throw myself beneath that tide... If I was to let the water take me, 'til the cold felt like heat, like love...”

Present day. Liverpool. All alone, an old man falls in a basement and loses consciousness.

World War Two. Norway. A young sailor with a heart full of hope, longing and courage falls in love.

Narvik tells the story of a Liverpudlian man and a Norwegian woman pulled together and torn apart by war as the events of one summer cause ripples across an ocean of time.

Fusing live folk music and new writing to create a patchwork of memory and dream, Narvik is a bold new play set during the Second World War that brings to life a powerful story of love, guilt, heroism and betrayal.

Following an acclaimed run at the Liverpool Playhouse Studio, Narvik embarks on a national tour as part of Box of Tricks’ tenth anniversary season. Lizzie Nunnery is an award-winning playwright (‘Intemperance’ at Everyman Liverpool and ‘The Swallowing Dark’ at Liverpool Playhouse Studio and Theatre503) and celebrated singer/songwriter (“Rebel folk endures and develops uniquely – just listen to Lizzie Nunnery” – The Observer).


Nominated for Best New Play at UK Theatre Awards 2017.

Finalist for the US-UK Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2017.

Developed with support from the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse e&P Talent Fund.

Production supported by the Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Supported by Arts Council EnglandPRS For Music Foundation, Leche Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation

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“Sailors and sound effects are a perfect match in a wartime tale. Lizzie Nunnery’s play with music captures bittersweet memories of the North Atlantic convoys as documentary meets melancholy ballad... Narvik is not like anything else I have heard in the theatre... Full of rich material... A compressed exploration of the effects of war, reaching out to a language other than words.”
★★★★ The Observer
“Lizzie Nunnery is a folk musician and a playwright and here she brings the two disciplines together to brilliantly haunting effect... A terse see-sawing soundscape... Joe Shipman brings a searing passion to the central role of Jim Callaghan... Life below decks is evoked by a chilling set design in this utterly charming and moving production.”
★★★★ The i Paper
“Nunnery's unique theatrical fusion of haunting music and poetic imagery... Although Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s production works as an effortless ensemble piece, the entire narrative sinks or swims on Joe Shipman’s compelling pivotal performance as Jim, a once courageous young man now drowning in guilt. A spellbinding study of wartime lovers lost at sea. ”
★★★★★ The Stage
“ It has a dreamlike eeriness — and it is acted with a raw and intimate directness... The songs — from wistful, rippling sea shanties to lusty drinking anthems and yearning rhapsodies — are pungently atmospheric, accompanied by an on-stage three-strong band... It has a tang and a tenderness that linger.”
★★★★ The Times
“Lizzie Nunnery’s thrillingly enigmatic memory play... Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s production for Box of Tricks has a chilled, hallucinatory quality... It is the music – a skein of electronically filtered shanties and ballads performed by Nunnery and her regular collaborators Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop – that is used to most atmospheric effect... A thrillingly theatrical encapsulation of a little-known theatre of war.”
★★★★ The Guardian
“Poignant, beautiful and at times deeply uncomfortable it’s also about as impressive piece of studio theatre that you are likely to catch this year... Nunnery’s words are in safe hands with director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder who makes every one of the 80 minutes count. Taut, moving and utterly absorbing, this is theatre at its very best.”
★★★★★ Yorkshire Post
“Narvik is a strong ensemble piece spearheaded by a charming performance by Joe Shipman... The use of music is most affecting as it twists the emotions home that lay beneath the words unspoken between characters... Narvik captures the personal horrors that come rising to the surface of memory in old age and need to be exorcised through storytelling. An enchanting, affecting evening of theatre.”
★★★★ Reviews Hub (Manchester)
“A beautifully harrowing production... Narvik is a compelling and moving production of a love tested by war and a friendship tested by love. It is unpredictable in its narrative and overwhelming in its heart, and overall is utterly unmissable.”
★★★★ Upstaged Manchester
“The play and production are very much a construct made up of all the elements of theatre, including, most notably, live music and song as integral to the drama... Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s great success is to integrate all these elements into a seamless whole.”
★★★★ Reviews Hub (York)
“Water seeps into the soul of Lizzie Nunnery’s haunting account of a Scouser fighting in the North Atlantic during the Second World War. ”
★★★ The Sunday Times
“Nunnery’s compelling script and Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s innovative direction quickly draw you in and you can’t help but get swept away in the story. A compelling story of love and loss and a thrilling piece of local theatre.”
★★★★ Frankly My Dear
“Box of Tricks champions new writing and loves things which challenge and don’t necessarily follow the norm [and] have once again found a winning formula… A very clever and well-crafted play.”
★★★★ North West End
“The [audience’s] concentration is rewarded with a moving meditation on love, guilt, memory and bravery… Songs woven into the action lend a dreamlike and non-naturalistic feel to a powerful and profound play that makes a valuable statement about the realities of love and war.”
Manchester Theatre Awards
“A subtle, shifting piece of work that merges drama with music... Narvik offers a rewarding theatrical experience in which the complex nature of memory is brought to life by a talented cast and crew.”
British Theatre Guide
“An enigmatic piece of theatre about love and loss... Joe Shipman’s performance as Jim is compelling as his commitment to the role is remarkable... Narvik is a beautifully crafted piece of theatre. Set to a mesmeric collection of music, the band create a haunting sound that echoes the dialogue’s poignancy effectively.”
Sincerely Amy
“Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder creates a very strong feeling of place on a superb cramped set that resembles the inside of the ship. It’s a play that is meant to make us think… Beautiful and moving”
Quiet Man Dave
“A triumph of collective theatrical elements... An enjoyable evening of experiential theatre.”
State of the Arts
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Cast Members:


Creative Team:


Director: Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder Associate Producer: Amy Fisher
Composers: Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop The Band: Vidar Norheim, Maz O'Connor and Joe Hirons
Designer: Katie Scott Lighting / Production Manager: Richard Owen
Movement: Elinor Randle Dramaturg: Lindsay Rodden
Press: Duncan Clarke PR

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Show Calendar

HOME, Manchester 31 January — 4 February
Stahl Theatre, Oundle 6 February — 7 February
Theatre by the Lake, Keswick 8 February — 9 February
Marlowe Studio, Canterbury 13 February
Mumford Theatre, Cambridge 14 February
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury 15 February — 16 February
mac birmingham 18 February
Theatr Clwyd, Mold 20 February — 21 February
York Theatre Royal 23 February
The Unity at Bluecoat, Liverpool 27 February — 3 March
The Met, Bury 7 March — 8 March
Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds 9 March
Harrogate Theatre 14 March — 18 March
New Diorama Theatre, London 21 March — 25 March 2017
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