Headlong and BAFTA award winning Century Films present Unprecedented, an intimate response to the radical way our world changed when lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. With theatres going dark, and much of the world entering a state of isolation, Headlong and Century Films set out to explore how theatre can be made during, and about, the Covid-19 pandemic.
Written by a diverse range of celebrated playwrights and performed by over 50 of the UK’s finest actors, Unprecedented gives insight into this novel, communal experience and the changes our society has undergone.
One week before the lockdown was announced, some of the UK’s most celebrated playwrights were commissioned to write 14 stories. They meditate on community and connection, focusing on the lives of couples, NHS workers, families and teenagers. Stories of love, triumph, uncertainty and humour. They ask the question of how education, work, relationships, culture, and capitalism have been changed, are changing on an hourly basis, and explore how people still manage to find the humour and humanity in their situation – despite or because of the Covid crisis.
Produced by Headlong and Century Films, Unprecedented was conceived, written, filmed and produced in lockdown. Rehearsals took place over Zoom; props, costumes, lighting and set were sourced or made by the cast themselves, and the series was shot in homes across the country using digital conferencing technology.
Eleven of the digital plays will be broadcast on BBC Four across three nights with all fourteen available to stream on BBC iPlayer as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative.
Playwrights include April De Angelis, Josh Azouz, Deborah Bruce, John Donnelly, James Graham, Matilda Ibini, Charlene James, Jasmine Lee Jones, Duncan Macmillan, Anna Maloney, Nathaniel Martello-White, Chloë Moss, Tim Price and Prasanna Puwanarajah.
Directors include Ned Bennett, Deborah Bruce, Tinuke Craig, Debbie Hannan, Brian Hill, Jeremy Herrin, Ola Ince, Nathaniel Martello-White, Blanche McIntyre, Caitlin McLeod and Holly Race Roughan.
Saida Ahmed, Kae Alexander, Esh Alladi, Patricia Allison, Gemma Arterton, Julian Barratt, Paul Chahidi, Ines De Clercq, Risteárd Cooper, Arthur Darvill, Natalie Dew, Erin Doherty, Monica Dolan, Michael Elwyn, Denise Gough, Frances Grey, Kathryn Hunter, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Geraldine James, Lennie James, Sue Johnston, Rory Keenan, Lisa Kerr, Rory Kinnear, Laurie Kynaston, Alex Lawther, Archie Madekwe, Anna Madeley, Marcello Magni, Lucianne McEvoy, Jodie McNee, Cecilia Noble, James Norton, Enyi Okoronkwo, Abraham Popoola, Boadicea Ricketts, Golda Rosheuvel, Sid Sagar, Rochenda Sandall, Gyuri Sarossy, Kiruna Stamell, Rebekah Staton, Alison Steadman, Rhashan Stone, Meera Syal, Stuart Thompson, Amy Trigg, Dickon Tyrrell, Olivia Williams, Gabby Wong, Fenella Woolgar, Sargon Yelda