BIRDSONG Stage Adaptation Runs 17-22 March at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
BIRDSONG the world famous novel by Sebastian Faulks will be bought to life on stage at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from March 17 to 22. The cast includes Peter Duncan, George Banks and Carolin Stoltz.
In pre-war France, a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their worlds upside down. As the war breaks out, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war, Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle and the idyll of his former life as his world explodes around him.
BIRDSONG has become a classic of modern English literature and is taught on both the English and History syllabuses at schools and universities. Regularly voted as one of the nation's all-time favourite books, it has sold more than two million copies in the UK and more than three million worldwide.
This critically acclaimed production by the Original Theatre Company was first presented in 2013 when it was seen by over 75,000 people with audiences calling the show 'simply stunning'. Sebastian Faulks is thrilled the show is being re-mounted for 2014, the year that will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.
Sebastian, who joined the 2013 company on stage in a cameo role during its 200th performance in Brighton, said:
"Both Rachel (the stage adaptor) and I want this to be the definitive version of Birdsong on stage. The audience watch it and think, thank God I have never undergone all of this. These experiences are far outside the lives of most people but there is something about the way the production works which makes people identify and think, it could be me..."
Rachel Wagstaff previously adapted Sebastian Faulks's The Girl at the Lion d'Or for BBC Radio 4 and she and Faulks are currently writing two screenplays together. She is a participant of Old Vic New Voices and her work has been performed at the annual 24 Hour Plays. She said, "Birdsong, while first and foremost a simply brilliant work of fiction, gives extraordinary insight into what it must have been like to witness such suffering on an unprecedented scale. I'm delighted that, in the year which marks one hundred years since war was declared, The Original Theatre Company and Birdsong Productions are launching a second regional tour of their beautiful and powerful production."
Peter Duncan, though perhaps best known as a Blue Peter presenter, began his acting career in the 1970s when he joined the National Theatre. Recent theatre credits include Denry Machin in The Card (for which he received an Olivier nomination for Best Actor in a Musical), Alan Ayckbourn's Things We Do For Love, the twins in Corpse, Stan Laurel in Laurel and Hardy, Macduff in Macbeth and Fantastic Mr Fox, both at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, and the title role in Charlie Peace - His Amazing Life And Outstanding Legend at Nottingham Playhouse and Coventry Belgrade's B2. Peter will be playing the role of Jack Firebrace in BIRDSONG.
George Banks, whose previous theatre credits include the tour of The History Boys and Hobson's Choice at the Sheffield Crucible, and Carolin Stoltz, known for her roles in Sky 1's The Café, Emmerdale and The Inbetweeners Movie, will play the romantic leads of Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire. Also in the cast will be Jonny Clarke (Bart McQueen in Hollyoaks), Selma Brook (Brigitte Rousselot in The Tudors), Malcolm James, James Staddon, Simon Lloyd, Lucy Grattan, Elizabeth Croft and Samuel Martin.
The tour of BIRDSONG will continue to support Help for Heroes, after raising over £50,000 through collections and events on the 2013 tour.
BIRDSONG is directed by Alastair Whatley, with set design by Victoria Spearing, lighting by Alex Wardle for Charcoalblue and sound by Dom Bilkey.