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Coronavirus stories of key workers to feature in Theatre Royal Stratford East drama on Sky

PUBLISHED: 12:22 24 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 24 August 2020

Actor Russell Tovey is to star in a drama based on the experiences of key workers from the area.

Actor Russell Tovey is to star in a drama based on the experiences of key workers from the area.

Archant

A drama on Sky is based on the stories of key workers from the community and their fight against the coronavirus.

Nadia Fall is artistic director at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Picture: Michael ShelfordNadia Fall is artistic director at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Picture: Michael Shelford

The idea for No Masks began at the height of lockdown when staff at Theatre Royal Stratford East in Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, urged those on the front line of the battle against the pandemic to send in stories.

These featured on the theatre’s website, but have now been used to create a virtual play to be broadcast on Sky Arts to mark the channel becoming free to watch.

Actor, Russell Tovey, who starred in BBC series Years and Years, recently joined the cast of the programme which is being brought to the screen by the theatre, Sky Arts and production company Moonshine Features.

Nadia Fall, artistic director of Stratford East, said: “While our physical doors are shut, our creative mission is to give a voice to those on the frontline and bring people together.

No Masks is based on testimonies from key workers who submitted their stories to Stratford East Theatre Royal. Picture: Ken MearsNo Masks is based on testimonies from key workers who submitted their stories to Stratford East Theatre Royal. Picture: Ken Mears

“We are thrilled to be working with Sky Arts and Moonshine Features to showcase the brilliant stories of key workers from our community.

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“We hope this project will be both life-affirming and a moving reality check of what everyday people are living through at this extraordinary time.”

Tovey plays policeman, Noel, alongside fellow cast members including Elijah Melhado from Stratford East’s youth theatre.

The team behind the drama says No Masks will be a testament to the dedication of key workers during the Covid-19 crisis as well as an exploration of shared hopes and fears.

Tovey said: “It’s a dynamic and thoughtful piece, packed with all the stories and drama of our current climate, told through the words of people that are vital in making a difference on the front line.”

The programme is due to air on Sky Arts in September when the channel becomes free for everyone on Freeview and Freesat. It will also be available on NOW TV.

Sky Arts director, Philip Edgar-Jones, said: “Nadia and the team at Stratford East have been working tirelessly to keep theatre alive during this existential crisis point for live art.

“We are proud to support this brand new production reflecting the lives of people working on the front line.”


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