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

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.

Tristan Sturrock (Alec Tristan) has performed with Kneehigh for 25 years. His work with the company includes Brief Encounter (West End, St. Ann's Warehouse, Broadway), Don John, A Matter of Life and Death, The Riot (National Theatre), Tristan & Yseult (National Theatre, Sydney, U.S.A), The King of Prussia (Donmar). His autobiographical award-winning solo show Mayday Mayday recently played St Ann's Warehouse New York and Spoleto Festival USA. Other theatre: The Mysteries, Spanish Tragedy (Royal Shakespeare Company), As You Like It (Royal Exchange), Edward II, Blue Remembered Hills (Sheffield Crucible), An Oak Tree (Plymouth Theatre Royal), Salome (Riverside), Jerusalem Syndrome, The Station (Soho Theatre). For his company Theatre Damfino; Orpheus and the Furies, Frankenspine and The Table Of Delights. He is an associate artist at Bristol Old Vic, where his work includes Peter Pan, Coram Boy, Treasure Island, Juliet and her Romeo, Faraway, and The Little Mermaid. Television includes: Jamaica Inn, The Best of Men, The Borgias, The Queen, Garrow's Law, Doc Martin, Rescue Me, The New Adventures of Robin Hood. Film: Saving Grace.

Hannah Yelland (Laura Hannah) is excited to be making her L.A. debut and to be reprising her Tony nominated role of Laura. Previous theatre credits include: Broadway: Laura Jesson in Kneehigh Theatre Company's Brief Encounter (Tony Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, 2011); West End: Kate Nickleby in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and Daisy in Daisy Pulls It Off. Regional: Hermione in The Winter's Tale, McCarter Theatre (NJ) and Shakespeare Theatre Company (DC); Rachel in My Cousin Rachel, Gate Theatre, Dublin; Laura Jesson in Brief Encounter, UK Tour, ACT San Francisco, St Ann's Warehouse Brooklyn NY, The Guthrie Theater Minneapolis; Kate Nickleby in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Chichester Festival Theatre, UK Tour and Toronto; Vivie Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession, UK Tour; Nora Helmer in A Doll's House, The Abbey Theatre, Dublin; Jaqueline Maingot in French Without Tears, English Touring Company; Marion de Saint Vaury in The Linden Tree, Orange Tree, London; and Jan in Bedroom Farce, UK Tour. Film: Method, AKA, Television: Modern Love (Lifetime Network, USA), the leading role in Catherine Cookson's The Secret (TV Film), Ultimate Force (series lead), and guest starring roles in Dalziel and Pascoe, Doctors, Ahead of the Class, Holby City, Danielle Cable; Eyewitness, Heartbeat, The Project, Dinotopia (Hallmark), Swallow, The Bill, Micawber, A Touch of Frost and Poirot "Lord Edgware Dies". www.hannahyelland.com

ABOUT THE WALLIS: Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (The Wallis) has transformed a Beverly Hills city block, facing Santa Monica Boulevard, between Crescent and Canon Drives, into a vibrant new cultural destination with two distinct, elegant buildings: the historic 1933 Italianate-style Beverly Hills Post Office (now the Paula Kent Meehan Historic Building) and the new, contemporary 500-seat, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater. Together these two structures embrace the city's history and future, creating a new cultural landmark. Within the treasured Post Office, existing spaces are re-imagined into the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, a theater school for young people, a café (both opening in 2014), and gift shop. The Wallis, the first performing arts center to be built in Beverly Hills, is now a home for artists from around the world and audiences of every age. The Wallis will produce and present outstanding theater, music, opera and dance, as well as exciting programming for the family audience.

The show will run at the Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Performances February 15 through March 23, 2014. Schedule: Press Opening Wednesday, February 19 at 8 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Evenings at 8 pm; and Saturdays at 3 pm and 8 pm; Sundays at 2 pm and 7pm

Tickets: Prices: Previews 2/15-2/18 $49.00 - $89.00; following 2/20 $59.00-$129.00. In Person - Wallis Annenberg Center Ticket Services, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. By Phone - 310-746-4000. Online - www.thewallis.org.

Photo courtesy of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

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