RSC's WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES Begin Tonight
Ben Miles will play Thomas Cromwell and Lucy Briers will play Katherine of Aragon in the Royal Shakespeare Company's much-anticipated double bill of Hilary Mantel's Man Booker prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, adapted by Mike Poulton.
Ben Miles returns having begun his career at the RSC. He last performed with the Company in The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1993. Ben's other theatre credits include The Norman Conquests (Old Vic/Circle in the Square Theatre); My Child (Royal Court) and Richard II(Old Vic). His TV work includes Coupling, Peak Practice and Cold Feet.
Lucy Briers makes her RSC debut; her previous theatre credits include Out of Joint's Top Girls (Chichester Festival Theatre and Duke of York's). She is currently appearing in BBC 2's new comedy Count Arthur Strong and her previous TV credits include Parade's End, Ashes to Ashes and Pride and Prejudice. Lucy will also appear in the Alan Partridge feature film released this August.
Paul Jesson returns to the RSC having last appeared in Troilus and Cressida as part of the Complete Works Festival. His other theatre credits include Sam Mendes' productions of The Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard (BAM).
Nathaniel Parker's credits include three series of the BBC's Inspector Lynley Mysteries and the television adaptation of Bleak House. Nathaniel is back at the RSC after 26 years. He recently played Gordon Brown in the West End production of The Audience.
Hilary Mantel said: 'It's very exciting for me to see the characters from the Cromwell novels spring to life, ready for the stage this winter. I'm delighted we have secured such gifted actors for four of the major figures in the plays, and look forward to meeting the rest of the cast in the near future.'
Jeremy Herrin said: 'I'm delighted to have made such a strong start to assembling a world class company to deliver these fantastic plays.'
Wolf Hall won the Man Booker in 2009, and Bring Up the Bodies won in 2012, making Mantel the first woman ever to have received the award twice. She achieved another first recently, when Bring Up the Bodies also won the Costa Novel Award, the first time the same novel has won both this and the Man Booker.
The plays are adapted by Mike Poulton who has previously worked with the RSC on The Canterbury Tales Parts I and II, St Erkenwald and Gregory Doran's Morte d'Arthur. Jeremy Herrin was recently appointed Artistic Director of Headlong Theatre, whose recent credits include This House (National Theatre) and That Face (Royal Court). The play is designed by Christopher Oram.
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies were originally commissioned by Playful Productions.
Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon:
Wolf Hall: 11 December 2013 - 29 March 2014
Bring Up the Bodies: 19 December 2013 - 29 March 2014
Wolf Hall: Wednesday 8 January 2014, 1pm
Bring Up the Bodies: Wednesday 8 January 2014, 7pm
Box Office: 0844 800 1110, www.rsc.org.uk.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride