Visiting Theatre Royal Nottingham Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 October 2015
I don’t want comfort. I want danger. I want freedom. I want sin.
The full cast and creative team has been announced for the world premiere of a brand new stage adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s seminal novel BRAVE NEW WORLD, presented by Touring Consortium Theatre Company and Royal & Derngate Northampton, opening on Friday 4 September 2015, followed by a UK tour which will visit the Theatre Royal Nottingham from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 October.
Brave New World, widely considered to be one of the finest and most prophetic dystopian novels of the twentieth century, bursts into life on stage in an adaptation by award-winning playwright Dawn King, directed by James Dacre and designed by Naomi Dawson, with an original new music by the ground breaking British band These New Puritans.
Sophie Ward, whose extensive screen credits include TV series Land Girls, Heartbeat and Holby City, and films including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Young Sherlock, will play ‘Margaret Mond’, the Regional World Controller for Western Europe (a character that was the male ‘Mustapha Mond’ in the original novel),. Her theatre work includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Go Back For Murder and Private Lives. Olivier Award-winning Abigail McKern, last seen in Northampton in A Tale of Two Cities and fresh from Shakespeare in Love in the West End, takes the role of ‘Linda’. The ensemble cast also includes Olivia Morgan (Macbeth, West End, The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s Globe), William Postlethwaite (King Lear, Bath Theatre Royal, Collaborators, National Theatre) as John the Savage, Scott Karim (The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s Globe, Great Britain, National Theatre) as Helmholtz Watson, and Gruffudd Glyn (Three Sisters, Young Vic, Hamlet, RSC) as Bernard. The cast also includes Theo Ogundipe as Benito, Samantha Pearl as Polly, James Howard as the Director and David Burnett as Henry.
The play is directed by Royal & Derngate’s Artistic Director James Dacre (The Body of an American, King John, Arthur Miller’s The Hook) with original music by These New Puritans, whose last album was described by Record Collector as “arguably the musical achievement of the 2010s so far.” It has been adapted for the stage by Dawn King, whose credits include the plays Ciphers and Foxfinder, and the BAFTA-nominated short film The Karman Line. The production is designed by Naomi Dawson, whose recent credits include The Roaring Girl, King John and As You Like It for the RSC, with Frantic Assembly’s Eddie Kay (The Pass, Royal Court, Othello, Frantic Assembly) as movement director. Lighting design is by Colin Grenfell (Black Watch, National Theatre of Scotland, The Mother, Theatre Royal Bath) with sound design by George Dennis (Regeneration, Royal & Derngate/Touring Consortium Theatre Company, Liberian Girl, Royal Court). Video designer Keith Skretch also joins the creative team, with fight direction by RC Annie.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was first published in 1932, and is widely seen to be one of the most important novels of the 20th century, anticipating developments in reproductive technology, psychological manipulation and behavioural conditioning. Set 600 years in the future human life has been almost entirely industrialised, and humans are created and conditioned in a lab according to a strict caste system, in a World State whose motto is “Community, Identity, Stability”. Monogamy, the family unit and the ‘natural’ process of giving birth, are considered horrific and unnatural, and material comfort and physical pleasure – provided by the drug soma and recreational sex — represent society’s highest good.
Dawn King also said, “Huxley’s novel is over eighty years old, but his vision of the future is shockingly familiar. In many ways, we already live in Brave New World: a glittering dystopia built on inequality, where people keep themselves distracted with empty pleasures, chemical stimulants and consumer goods. Adapting this huge work for the stage has been as tough and stimulating as anything I’ve ever done and a huge pleasure.”
James Dacre said, “Asking whether it is better to be free and unhappy or to live in forced happiness, incapable of accepting freedom, our version of Brave New World will explore the ways that we currently live our lives, imagining how tomorrow’s world might look as a consequence of today’s choices.”
Jack Barnett from These New Puritans said, “We’re really pleased to be involved with Brave New World. I don’t think we could have picked something more suitable if we’d had a million options. Re-reading it, I could imagine our sounds and the contrasts in our sounds mapping onto it well. It should be a blast, having a chance to produce some of the sounds which are only described. It’s probably the most prophetic of twentieth century dystopias, and especially powerful given the undercurrent of scientism around at the moment. Ultimately it deals with more fundamental questions, like what is happiness, and at what cost? And that’s got to be the only game in town.”
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company, led by producers Jenny King and Matthew Gale, is a partnership between seven UK regional theatres and is financed both by box office income and a grant from the ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND STRATEGIC TOURING FUND. The TCTC tours two productions a year and is establishing a policy of supporting contemporary adaptations of well known books with themes of relevance for today. It is forming links with literacy projects around the country as each production has an affiliated writing project run from its resources website THEATRE CLOUD. The TCTC also delivers an audience development programme aimed at reaching diverse communities around their partner venues with the specific aim of making connections between the themes of our productions and potential audiences. Jenny King had tried to acquire the rights to BRAVE NEW WORLD for four years driven by her belief in its extraordinary prescience and topicality.
Royal & Derngate, Northampton is the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire, welcoming more than 290,000 audience members last year for a diverse programme of drama, music, dance, comedy and film. Recognised as one of the country’s leading regional producing venues and named Regional Theatre of the Year by the inaugural Stage 100 Awards in 2010, Royal & Derngate’s acclaimed seasons of Made In Northampton work have included Young America (Northampton and National Theatre, London) and Festival Of Chaos (Cultural Olympiad 2012). Productions for 2014 included A Tale of Two Cities, The Body Of An American, Every Last Trick, Regeneration, Merlin and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and productions for 2015 have so far included Shakespeare’s King John and the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s The Hook. In excess of 22,000 people saw Royal & Derngate’s co-produced work across the country last year. Completing the portfolio is an award-winning Get Involved participatory programme which reaches over 21,000 last year, through projects in schools, within our community and at the theatre.
This adaptation of Brave New World is based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, presented through special arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc. on behalf of the Aldous and Laura Huxley Literary Trust, Mark Trevenen Huxley and Teresa Huxley. All rights reserved.
Brave New World is the fifth Touring Consortium Theatre Company production funded by the Arts Council of England‘s Strategic Touring Programme, and the third co-production with Royal & Derngate, Northampton. See more at: Theatrecloud.com
Twitter – #BraveNewWorld2015
LOCAL LISTINGS INFORMATION:
BRAVE NEW WORLD
Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 October 2015
Theatre Royal Nottingham
Performance Times: Evenings 7.30pm, Thursday matinee 2pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm
Tickets: £29.50 – £13.50
Box Office: 0115 989 5555