Burning Coal Theatre Company Presents ARCADIA By Tom Stoppard

"Arcadia" effortlessly transports audiences between the early 19th century and the present day.

By: Jul. 18, 2023
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Burning Coal Theatre Company has announced its production of Tom Stoppard's' Arcadia, directed by Jerome Davis. Arcadia will run October 12 – 29, 2023, at the Murphey School, located at 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC 27604.

Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. All tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors (65+) or $20 (students, teachers, active military). People 18 and under can get a ticket to any weekday evening performance for $5. Sunday, October 15th at 2 pm is 'Pay What You Can' day. Tickets and additional information can be found at www.burningcoal.org or by calling the box office at (919) 834-4001.

Set in the elegant confines of Sidley Park, a stately English country estate, "Arcadia" effortlessly transports audiences between the early 19th century and the present day. At the heart of "Arcadia" lies a compelling mystery: what transpired during an infamous event that occurred at Sidley Park in 1812 … and was Lord Byron involved?  In a breathtaking collision of eras, the play delves into the lives of two groups of characters separated by time, yet forever linked by a shared pursuit of knowledge and passion … and a turtle that may be 200 years old!


"Arcadia" centers around the intriguing concept of 'the theory of everything' and the quest for knowledge, exploring the interconnections between mathematics, literature, and human relationships. In the early 1800s, we encounter a brilliant young mathematician named Thomasina Coverly, whose precocious mind attempts to unravel the secrets of nature's patterns and the complexities of love. Her tutor, Septimus Hodge, a charismatic scholar, becomes entangled in a web of intellectual pursuits and romantic entanglements, all while the estate buzzes with scandal and hidden desire. Fast forward to 1993-, where the modern occupants of the same estate, including a biographer, a literary historian, and a pair of passionate researchers, attempt to unravel the mysteries of the past. Audiences can expect to be spellbound by Stoppard's signature style, where razor-sharp and lightning-fast dialogue, intellectual depth, and witty banter intersect to create a thought-provoking and hilarious experience. With its intricate plot, richly drawn characters, and a seamless fusion of humor and intellect, "Arcadia" promises to leave audiences both enchanted and intellectually stimulated.


Tom Stoppard, a playwright who blends intellect, wit, and profound insight, continuously pushes the boundaries of storytelling, and captivates audiences worldwide with his diverse repertoire of plays spanning various themes and genres, placing him in that rare company, an artist who is both innovative and entertaining.  From the whimsical brilliance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967), The Real Inspector Hound (1968), Jumpers (1972), Travesties (1974; Tony Award for best play), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1978), Night and Day (1978), On the Razzle and Undiscovered Country to the thought-provoking complexity of The Real Thing, The Hard Problem, Arcadia and even his Oscar winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love, Stoppard's works showcase his unrivaled ability to blend high comedy with philosophical depth, creating stories that leave a lasting impact. Stoppard's unique voice has earned him numerous accolades, including the prestigious Tony Award, Olivier Award, and countless other honors. As a playwright, Stoppard fearlessly challenges conventions, blending artistry with intellect and bringing forth stories that push the boundaries of imagination. His impact on the theater world is immeasurable, and his legacy continues to inspire a new generation of playwrights and theater enthusiasts. His most recent play, Leopoldstadt just won the Tony Award for Best New Play.  He was 83 years old when he accepted the award.

Jerome Davis, with his wife, Simmie Kastner, founded Burning Coal Theatre Company in 1997. He has performed at Trinity Rep in Providence, People's Light & Theatre Company in Pennsylvania, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and the Cockpit in London. He recently directed Galileo for Burning Coal and performed in a London production of Talley's Folly at The Cockpit. He has also directed The Weir and The Seafarer by Conor McPherson, and acted in McPherson's St. Nicholas at Burning Coal and in Lexington, KY. He has also directed a local production of The Turn of the Screw for NC Opera. For Burning Coal: Enron, The Mound Builders, The Steward of Christendom, Rat in the Skull, Night & Day, Written on the Heart and three plays by David Edgar: Pentecost, The Shape of The Table and The Prisoner's Dilemma.   His production of Gary Owen's Iphigenia in Splott received a 5-star review at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC in 2019 and his production of David Edgar's Iron Curtain Trilogy received a 4-star review from Michael Billington, the dean of London theatre critics (the Guardian), when it played the Cockpit in 2014.

Returning to the Burning Coal stage is Ian Finley, our past education director and local playwright and Piedmont Laureate. Other familiar faces include Byron Jennings (Art) and Emily Rieder (Skylight, The Weir).  The cast will also include Thom Christiansen and Matara Hitchcock.  Playing Thomasina Coverly will be Susanna Skaggs, most recently seen as Lina Emerson in Netflix's Original Film “Love and Gelato” and in Season Four of the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire.


Christopher Popowich (I and You, Evita) of Pittsburgh, PA will serve as Lighting Designer, and the props will be designed by Raleigh's Randy Carter (The Cherry Orchard).  NC Symphony alumnae David Marschall will curate the music to be used in Arcadia and Stephen White (Silent Sky) will design scenery.

Burning Coal Theatre Company is an intimate, professional theater and an incorporated non-profit (501(c)(3) organization in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Burning Coal's mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theater that is experienced, not simply seen. It produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national, and International Artists available. The company works toward a theater of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of Burning Coal's perspective, as well as a clear viewpoint. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally to create an active role for the audience, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating.


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