"Chariots of Fire" Will Be Adapted for the Stage at London's Hampstead Theatre
By Mark Shenton
The new season at London's Hampstead Theatre will lead with the word premiere of Mike Bartlett's stage adaptation of the film "Chariots of Fire," a story of British athletics glory at the 1924 Paris Olympics, staged on the eve of the London Olympics. There will also be seasons of three plays by Tom Murphy, presented by Ireland's Druid company, two Shakespeares by the all-male Propeller company and English National Opera bringing opera to the theatre for the first time.
In a press statement, artistic director Edward Hall commented, "I am delighted to announce a new season of major theatrical events for Hampstead Theatre which reflects our ambition to give memorable evenings in the theatre in what promises to be a memorable year for us all."
Chariots of Fire, based on the 1981 Enigma Productions Limited film by arrangement with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Allie Stars S.A. Panama, will begin performances May 9 for a run through June 16. It will be directed by Edward Hall, with designs by Miriam Buether, lighting by Rick Fisher, choreography by Scott Ambler and sound by Paul Groothuis.
According to press materials, the play is the true story of two great athletes, outsiders who overcome prejudice and personal strife to compete in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Designer Miriam Buether will be transforming Hampstead Theatre into its own stadium, giving an immersive experience that evokes the 1924 Paris Olympics. The production will also feature the music of the legendary Vangelis film score with additional live music and arrangements by Jason Carr (Tony-nominated on Broadway for orchestrations for La Cage aux Folles and Sunday in the Park with George).
Bartlett's plays include 13, recently seen at the National, and Love Love Love for Paines Plough, soon to be re-staged at the Royal Court. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre. His play Cock won an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Other plays include Earthquakes in London for Headlong/National Theatre, My Child and Contractions both for the Royal Court, and Artefacts for the Bush.
Ireland's Druid Theatre Company will bring Garry Hynes' productions of Tom Murphy's Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine to Hampstead, beginning performances June 20 prior to a press day June 23, for a run through June 30. They are presented as part of the London 2012 Festival by Druid in association with Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, Lincoln Center Festival, Galway University Foundation and Galway Arts Festival, with designs by Francis O’Connor, costumes by Joan O’Clery, lighting by Chris Davey and sound by Gregory Clarke.
In Conversations on a Homecoming, set in the 1970s, Michael returns home to Galway from New York after a 10-year absence. In A Whistle in the Dark, set in 1960, Irish emigrants adapt aggressively to life in Coventry. In Famine, set in 1846, the people of County Mayo face the prospect of deep starvation.
Propeller's touring double bill of Henry V and The Winter's Tale, directed by Edward Hall, will begin performances July 3 prior to a press day July 6, for a run through July 21.
Propeller's new production of Henry V tells the tale of the greatest British warrior in English folklore. The Winter's Tale, presented in a revisiting of Propeller's 2005 production, tells the mysterious and extraordinary story of a man consumed by an inexplicable jealousy that destroys his family, his kingdom and himself.
English National Opera joins forces with Hampstead Theatre for the first time to present a co-production of Wolfgang Rihm's Jakob Lenz, running April 17-27, staged to celebrate the 60th birthday of its composer. Sam Brown, winner of the 2011 European Opera-Directing Prize, directs a cast led by actor-singer Andrew Shore. It is conducted by Alexander Ingram and translated by Richard Stokes.
At Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, co-presented with the Peter Wolff Trust, there will be premieres of Nigel Gearing's Blue Heart Afternoon (running April 5-May 12, directed by Tamara Harvey) and Nick Whitby's The Complaint (running May 17-June 16, directed by Simon Usher).
Full details of Hampstead’s current program can be found at www.hampsteadtheatre.com.
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