Perth Theatre and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick are teaming up to bring Theatre503 and Bristol Old Vic’s production of And Then Come the Nightjars to venues from Cumbria to Crieff.

The critically acclaimed play by Bea Roberts will open in Theatre by the Lake, Keswick from Monday 3 to Thursday 6 April before touring throughout April to Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, MacArts, Galashiels, and rural Perthshire venues; Inchyra Arts Club, Blair Atholl Village Hall, Aberfeldy Town Hall, Birnam Arts Centre, Blairgowrie Town Hall and Strathearn Artspace, Crieff.

Set in South Devon in 2001, And Then Come the Nightjars follows Jeff, a dairy vet with a problem and Michael, a cattle farmer, who is a problem. The two men have a begrudging respect for each other and a blossoming friendship based on sharing a fag, a nip of whisky and boisterous banter. But when Foot and Mouth sweeps through the British countryside, communities are thrown into chaos. Michael watches in grief stricken disbelief, the shooting of his beloved cows. He also watches his friend brandish the gun.

By turns heart-breaking and hilarious, And Then Come the Nightjars is a tender portrait of male friendship and a requiem to rural life.

>Directed by Paul Robinson and starring Finlay Welsh and Nigel Hastings, this poignant and uncompromising play was a winner of Theatre503’s inaugural international Playwriting Award in 2014.

Staged at Theatre503 in 2015, And Then Come the Nightjars was nominated for six

Off West End Theatre Awards including Most Promising Playwright. Bea Roberts

was also nominated for the Susan Blackburn Smith prize.

Bea Roberts who grew up in Devon during the Foot and Mouth crisis said:

“I started writing Nightjars during the ten-year anniversary of FMD in 2011 because I

felt attention needed to be paid to this devastating period in our countryside's history.

I hope people whose lives were affected by FMD feel that their stories are being

acknowledged and commemorated in some way even if their exact experience

differs from our characters. It's also a play about recovery and resilience and there's some hope in that even if things don't turn out as you might have wanted.”

And Then Come the Nightjars is part of Perth Theatre’s offsite programme, taking theatre out to audiences across the area while the historic venue is restored and redeveloped. The transformed Perth Theatre will open later in 2017.

Lu Kemp, artistic director for Perth Theatre said:

“In the run up to Perth Theatre reopening later this year, we are taking theatre across Perthshire into village halls, in tents and school halls, on teacher’s desks… We want to meet our audience where they live and work. And Then Come The Nightjars is a brilliant, heart-breakingly funny play by a young writer with huge talent. I am proud to present it to the people we hope to welcome into the new theatre later this year.”

Tickets for And Then Come the Nightjars can be booked directly at the venues. Tickets for Perthshire dates can also be booked online or by calling Perth Concert Hall Box Office on 01738 621031.