One of 7 portraits commissioned for the BBC Arts & Avalon Production of Katherine Parkinson's debut play Sitting, first performed as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018 and for the Arcola Theatre, London in Spring 2019 and finally screened on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer as part of the Light's Out season in April 2021.
Katherine Parkinson, the subject of this portrait, appears both as herself, an actor performing the role of Mary for the artist Roxana Halls and simultaneously as her character Mary, sitting for the fictitious artist John, the unseen painter at the center of the play.
This portrait, alongside 2 others created especially for each run of the play, are finally revealed in Sitting's final scene.
BAFTA Award winning Katherine Parkinson’s (Home, I’m Darling, The IT Crowd) debut play Sitting has been adapted for the screen, airing at 10.30pm on Wednesday 7th April on BBC Four. After a television directorial debut with Unprecedented followed by Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (both BBC) in 2020, former Artistic Director of Headlong Theatre Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things) directs the hour-long comedy-drama forming part of BBC Lights Up, BBC Arts’ Culture In Quarantine season celebrating British Theatre.
Starring Parkinson for the first time, the one-off special follows three characters as they sit for a silent painter. In these sittings, ‘Luke’ (Mark Weinman – I May Destroy You, After Life), ‘Cassandra’ (Alex Jarrett – Les Misérables, Adult Material) and ‘Mary’ (Parkinson) reveal truths in a play about love, loss and the importance of human connection.
Award winning figurative painter Roxana Halls’ (National Portrait Gallery’s B.P. Portrait Award, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition) work will feature.
Parkinson made her debut as a playwright with Sitting at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of a BBC Arts and Avalon playwright’s initiative, with the play subsequently transferring to London’s Arcola Theatre.
Sitting was commissioned for the BBC by Jonty Claypole. It is produced by Avalon with Jon Thoday and Richard Allen Turner as Executive Producers.