Unknown Playwright Makes West End Debut

News   Unknown Playwright Makes West End Debut
Unknown playwright Kate Betts is making her debut in the West End with her drama On the Third Day. The 51-year-old teacher and mother of three was the winner of the British reality television series "The Play's the Thing."

On the Third Day started previews June 16 and officially opens at the New Ambassador's Theatre June 22.

Broadcast on Channel 4, the series' objective was to find new playwriting talent and to showcase the winner with a West End production produced by Sonia Friedman.

Friedman, whose current production of Brian Friel's Faith Healer recently won a Tony Award for co-star Ian McDiarmid, was joined on the program's judging panel by agent Mel Kenyon and actor Neil Pearson.

Helmed by Robert Delamere, who stepped in for director Steven Pimlott after being taken ill, On the Third Day stars Maxine Peake (The Relapse), Paul Hilton (The Wild Duck) and Tom McKay (Henry V). The play is set in London where "a young woman catches the eye of a stranger in a bar. Before the night is over they have told each other secrets that will change their lives forever."

The television show's objective is to illustrate the complexity of bringing a first-time playwright's debut work directly to the West End. According to Friedman's research, 50 years ago there were 16 new plays in the West End. When On the Third Day opens, the play will represent the West End's only new play. Friedman's ambitious, long-term hope is to regularly give new works their world premiere in the West End, rather than "cherry picking" from subsidized theatre.

But speaking to Playbill.com, the straight-talking producer was keen to lower expectations of a critical triumph. "I don't think it can succeed because I don't think any one play can reinvent the wheel. We may have a chance if this play gets five-star reviews and they (the critics) say it's the best thing since Patrick Marber's Closer. Then we might have a chance of a good run."

On the Third Day is booking until Sept. 2. For more information call (0)870 060 6627.

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