ACTORS TOURING COMPANY, the UK’s leading producer of international plays, announces a new major 11-week national tour of Rice, a powerful drama written by award-winning Australian writer Michele Lee and directed by Actors Touring Company’s Artistic Director Matthew Xia.

The play is a wickedly humorous observation on globalisation, politics and family - and true to ATC’s mission, it amplifies global stories and female voices. ATC tours international plays to local audiences - finding common resonances and opening up conversations about our global community.
This new touring version of ATC’s production of Rice will visit venues and places from the South West to the North East, following on from a successful 5-week London run at The Orange Tree Theatre last month. It marks ATC’s return to touring after almost two years due to the global pandemic.

The tour opens with new casting at Theatre Royal Plymouth on the 4 February until 12 February and goes on to Oxford’s North Wall before heading up North with performances at Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough; Sheffield’s Crucible Studio, Liverpool’s Unity Theatre, HOME in Manchester; Newcastle’s Northern Stage and ending on the main stage at the York Theatre Royal on the 13 and 14 April. Additional dates are expected to be confirmed shortly.

The drama centres around a young hotshot executive working for Australia’s largest producer of rice, determined to become the first female Indian CEO in Australia and an older Chinese migrant, the office cleaner, who has her own entrepreneurial ambitions. The two form an unlikely bond as they navigate the complexities of their lives and the world at large.

Playwright Michele Lee, who has won numerous awards for Rice including the Australian Writer’s Guild Award for Best Original Stage Play says: “I’ve always wanted to centre a story around two strong female actors of colour and that was my starting point. In this play their characters traverse a range of identities and jump between and transform across many different roles. I feel exhilarated that this drama is being staged on opposite sides of the world and hope It’s universal themes around gender, ambition and friendship will resonate with audiences around the UK.”

Matthew Xia, ATC’s Artistic Director adds: “It feels fantastic after this pandemic-enforced hiatus to finally be back touring shows again. I’m looking forward to introducing this dynamic and expansive drama, which stays true to ATC’s mission in bringing fresh dialogue and perspectives from different cultures and intersections, to audiences up and down the country.”

Founded in 1980 to create, sustain and develop a dialogue between global artists and UK audiences, Rice further cements ATC’s reputation as the leading commissioner of plays by writers from the global cultures within the UK and producer of international plays. Signature productions include The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney, due to be revived on Broadway in 2022, Amsterdam by Maya Arad Yasur in 2019, the debut of ATC’s Artistic Director Matthew Xia. Dear Tomorrow, by 13 playwrights from around the globe during lockdown (online with Northern Stage) and Family Tree by Mojisola Adebayo in association with the Young Vic, premiered as a work in progress at the Greenwich & Docklands Festival August 2021.

The 2022 European tour of RICE is produced by Actors Touring Company and the Orange Tree Theatre, in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Feb 4 - 12 Theatre Royal Plymouth (Drum Theatre)
Feb 18-19 North Wall Oxford
March 4 - 5 Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough
March 7-9 Crucible Theatre Sheffield (Crucible Studio)
March 17-19 Unity Theatre Liverpool
March 29-30 HOME Manchester (Studio)
April 1 - 2 Northern Stage Newcastle (Stage 2)
April 13 - 14 York Theatre Royal (main house)