Rockets and Blue Lights with BBC Lockdown Theatre Festival

Part of our Theatre guide

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Rockets and Blue Lights with BBC Lockdown Theatre Festival
Image courtesy of the Royal Exchange.

Lockdown Theatre Festival, online, 13 June–12 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

We were thrilled to find out that the Royal Exchange‘s Rockets and Blue Lights will be performed as part of the BBC’s Lockdown Theatre Festival, a special radio festival dedicated to those plays that had their runs cut short by the pandemic.

Winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award, Rockets and Blue Lights is an extraordinary new play from one of the UK’s most trailblazing playwrights, Winsome Pinnock. The play launched the Spring/ Summer Season at the Royal Exchange, shortly before having its run cancelled due to Covid-19. This award-winning work retells British history through the prism of the slave trade. Seamlessly shifting through time, Rockets and Blue Lights explores Great Britain’s role in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade from three different perspectives.

Juxtaposing fact with fiction, the personal with the political, and the past with the present, Pinnocks’ play invites us to question how the past is presented and who has the right to tell its stories.

The BBC’s Lockdown Theatre Festival was created by actor Bertie Carvel as a response to the immediate closure of theatres due to coronavirus.

The ‘scratch festival’ will bring four stage plays to BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. The actors will link up via the internet to record directly from isolation, reimagining their performances for the radio.

The four productions will be broadcast across the Festival’s launch weekend on 13 & 14 June as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative, and will be available for 28 days online.  Alongside Rockets and Blue Lights, featured plays are The Mikvah Project by Josh Azouz, Love Love Love by Mike Bartlett and Shoe Lady by E V Crowe.

Lockdown Theatre Festival, online

13 June–12 July 2020
Free entry