Family Illness Forces Dillane's Withdrawal from Old Vic/BAM Bridge Project

News   Family Illness Forces Dillane's Withdrawal from Old Vic/BAM Bridge Project
The inaugural production of The Bridge Project collaboration between director Sam Mendes, London's Old Vic and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has been postponed.

The project was to kick off in 2008 with Mendes' productions of Hamlet and The Tempest, both starring Stephen Dillane.

But due to illness in Dillane's family, the British actor has withdrawn from the project. Dillane was due to perform in Mendes' productions at BAM from January to March 2008 before arriving at Milan's Piccolo Teatro in April and Kevin Spacey's Old Vic in May.

The three-year transatlantic venture, between producers Joseph V. Melillo for BAM, Spacey for London's Old Vic and Mendes and Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions, was announced earlier this year.

In a joint statement the producers said, "With great regret and due to personal reasons arising from family illness, Dillane has had to withdraw from the initial cycle of this three-year initiative. The nine-month long project was to involve several months rehearsal playing overseas, before concluding with a run in London."

The previously announced second cycle of The Bridge Project will continue as planned in the autumn of 2008 with Mendes' productions of A Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard starring Simon Russell Beale, who will play Leontes and Lopakhin. Both plays will open at BAM in January 2009, before visiting an international venue - yet to be announced - and arriving at The Old Vic in the summer.

The statement went on to say, "The producers of The Bridge Project accept his (Dillane's) decision with great sympathy and look forward to the future date when his partnership with Mendes in this venture will be resumed."

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