Pilot Theatre returns to Liverpool with timeless love story

Pilot Theatre, the company that brought the award-winning stage adaptation of Noughts & Crosses in 2022, is coming back to Liverpool Playhouse with its new production of A Song for Ella Grey from Wednesday, 13 to Saturday, 16 March 2024.

Adapted from David Almond’s (Skellig) award-winning novel, this stage production is a powerful story of love and loss told from the perspective of a group of young people.

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts graduate Grace Long (Breeders, Sky/FX, which Grace is also on the writing staff for and the film Three Days Millionaire, Shush Films) made her professional debut in A Song for Ella Grey as Ella Grey. Grace is an actress and writer, who is also known for her comedy sketches with 729.1k+ followers on TikTok.

Joining the cast are Beth Crame (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Northern Stage) as Angeline; Jonathan Iceton (Down the Lines, The Customs House) as Jay; Amonik Melaco (Singin’ In The Rain, Sadlers Wells and Heathers The Musical, The Other Place) as Sam and Olivia Onyehara (All’s Well That Ends Well, Royal Shakespeare Company and The 39 Steps, Stephen Joseph Theatre) as Claire.

Claire and her best friend, Ella Grey, are ordinary kids from ordinary families in an ordinary world. They and their friends fall in and out of love, play music and dance, stare at the stars, yearn for excitement, and have parties on the beautiful beaches of Northumberland. One day a stranger, a musician called Orpheus, appears on the beach, and entrances them all but particularly Ella…

David Almond, the award-winning author of many beloved books for children and young people, including the modern classic Skellig, relocates the Orpheus and Eurydice myth to the Northeast in A Song for Ella Grey.

Novelist David Almond OBE said, “A Song for Ella Grey is so close to my heart. The novel itself came with great force, demanding to be told. It’s my version of the great Orpheus myth, which has been told many times in many forms and will be told forever more.

“This version takes place in ordinary north eastern streets, on wild north eastern beaches, among ordinary northeastern teenagers. Hades lies just beneath the city. Orpheus appears on the shores of the North Sea. Ella Grey and her dear friends are drawn rapidly into this ancient tale of love and death, of music and joy. I’m so thrilled that Pilot Theatre and Zoe Cooper are bringing the tale to the stage.”    

Zoe Cooper’s adaptation is written from the perspective of the young people as they look back on events, retelling their story to one another and the audience. Zoe’s previous plays include Jess and Joe Forever (Orange Tree Theatre/UK tour) which won the Most Promising Playwright Award at the Off West End Awards 2017 and was longlisted for the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award. Zoe has just been longlisted for the 2023 Women’s Prize for Playwriting for her play, Cambium Layer.

A Song for Ella Grey is a Pilot Theatre production, in association with Northern Stage and York Theatre Royal, directed by Esther Richardson, the Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre. Coming to the Liverpool Playhouse from Wednesday 13 March to Saturday 16 March 2024. The tickets are available now at A Song for Ella Grey

Image: Grace Long as Ella Grey. Credit: Topher McGrillis

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