Ian Rickson’s acclaimed production of Uncle Vanya, which was in the final weeks of its London run when the ongoing pandemic closed theatres around the world, has been filmed for cinemas ahead of a BBC broadcast, with dates to be announced.
Conor McPherson’s new adaptation of the Anton Chekhov classic, which opened in January, was captured on stage at the Harold Pinter Theatre in partnership with Angelica Films. Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon, the film reunites nearly all of the original cast: Toby Jones (The Detectorists, The Birthday Party), Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, The Stranger), Rosalind Eleazar (The Personal History of David Copperfield, Deep Water), Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education, Downstate), Anna Calder-Marshall (LOVE, Evening at the Talk House), Dearbhla Molloy (The Ferryman, Dancing at Lughnasa), and Peter Wight (The Birthday Party, Hamlet). Ciarán Hinds was unavailable for the filming, and his role was assumed by Roger Allam (A Number, Endeavour, The Moderate Soprano, The Thick of It).
The filming took place under strict guidelines, with the cast self-isolating and undergoing regular tests, with the crew in masks and PPE and socially distancing throughout the process.
In a joint statement producers Sonia Friedman (Sonia Friedman Productions) and Sally Angel (Angelica Films) said, “Collaborating on filming Ian Rickson’s extraordinary production of Uncle Vanya has been a wonderful and inspiring experience. Despite all the challenges involved in filming this production (with no social distancing on screen), the results are testament to a brilliant and dedicated cast and crew led by Ian himself alongside Ross MacGibbon. It is such a privilege that we are able to bring this beautiful production to a wider audience after its run was cut so brutally short by the COVID-19 pandemic in March. We would also like to thank SFP’s loyal co-producers who have so generously allowed us to pursue this vision for the filmed production and enabled it to become a reality.”
Uncle Vanya was designed for the stage by Rae Smith, with lighting by Bruno Poet, music by Stephen Warbeck, sound by Ian Dickinson, and casting by Amy Ball.
The production, which received Olivier nominations for Jones (Best Actor), Rickson (Best Director), Poet (Best Lighting Design), and Smith (Best Set Design), will not be able to return to the theatre following the pandemic.