Broadway's Hannah Yelland and Tristan Sturrock Lead Kneehigh's BRIEF ENCOUNTER at the Wallis, Beg. Tonight

The Broadway Cast - led by Hannah Yelland and Tristan Sturrock - will appear in the internationally celebrated Kneehigh production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, which will have a 43-performance limited engagement at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts today, February 15 to March 23, 2014 (press opening February 19). Yelland and Sturrock are joined by fellow New York cast members Joe Alessi, Dorothy Atkinson, Damon Daunno, and Annette Laughlin. Musician David Brown appeared in the show in the UK and musician James Gow joins the company for The Wallis engagement.

The production switches seamlessly between theater and film using a combination of Noël Coward's original stage play Still Life and Coward's screenplay of the classic 1945 British film directed by David Lean.

In Brief Encounter the ingenious international theater company, Kneehigh, cleverly uses film and music to provide a highly theatrical setting for this classic, timeless tale of illicit lovers. Remembered as one of the most haunting love stories ever told, the action of Brief Encounter is centered on a suburban housewife who discovers passion and falls madly in love with a married stranger in a railway station tearoom over a series of stolen afternoons. The film was based on Coward's 1936 one-act play Still Life and memorably featured in the score Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto #2."

Director and Adaptor Emma Rice said, "Can any of us go through a lifetime without meeting someone and feeling a spark that we shouldn't? Here we examine the bargains that humans make for reasons familiar to us all: the fear of being alone, the fear of hurting those we love, and the fear of falling into deep waters that may destroy everything we have strived to build. That is the power of a great and enduring story; we can all own it and find something of ourselves in it."

About Noël Coward's Brief Encounter: The Kneehigh production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, originally commissioned and produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld, toured the United Kingdom before opening in February 2008 at the Haymarket Cinema in London, which was converted into a theatre for this production. The production ran through November 2008, followed by a 27 week UK tour. In September 2009, American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco held the United States premiere, which transferred to St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, December 2009, followed by an engagement at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in February 2010.

The Roundabout Theatre Company brought the production to Broadway at Studio 54 in September 2010, Hannah Yelland and Tristan Sturrock, who will return to the production for The Wallis engagement. After Beverly Hills, the production travels to The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C.

Emma Rice (Adaptor & Director) is the Joint Artistic Director of Kneehigh. Productions for Kneehigh include: The Red Shoes, The Wooden Frock, The Bacchae, Tristan & Yseult (2003-6; UK/US tour 2013-14), Cymbeline (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company), A Matter of Life and Death (Royal National Theatre in association with Kneehigh), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre), Brief Encounter (a David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Production in association with Kneehigh Theatre); Don John (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Bristol Old Vic); Midnight's Pumpkin, The Wild Bride, Wah! Wah! Girls (with Sadler's Wells, Theatre Royal Stratford East for World Stages) and Steptoe and Son. Emma's other work includes the West End production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Oedipussy for Spymonkey, and The Empress for the RSC.

Kneehigh is a UK based theatre company with a local, national and international profile. For over 30 years, Kneehigh has created vigorous, popular and challenging theatre and performs with the joyful anarchy that audiences have come to expect from this groundbreaking company.

Kneehigh tells stories. Based in Cornwall in breath-taking barns on the south coast the company creates theatre of humanity on an epic and tiny scale. They work with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, artists, technicians, administrators, makers and musicians and are passionate about their multi-disciplined creative process.

In 2010 Kneehigh launched The Asylum, a beautiful and flexible nomadic structure, which means the company now has a venue to call home as well as being one of the leading touring theatre companies in the UK. The company has now presented three seasons in The Asylum in Cornwall, and will continue to reinvent the space and explore new locations in future years

Alongside their national and international touring and Asylum seasons, Kneehigh runs their Rambles program aiming to engage creatively with communities in Cornwall and beyond through event and adventure.
Kneehigh is supported by Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.

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