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BILLY BUDD World Premiere Adaptation Opens Tonight at Southwark Playhouse


Secret/Heart presents the world premiere of a new adaptation of Billy Budd, directed by Seb Harcombe, adapted by the Company from the novel by Herman Melville. The cast includes Charlie Archer and Oliver King. The show features design by Nicolai Hart-Hansen and lighting by Howard Hudson. For more information, visit Press night is tonight, 19 July at 7.30pm.

All performances play the Southwark Playhouse, 7-85 Newington Causeway London, SE1 6BD, 17 July ­to 10 August 2013 at 7.30pm, also at 3.00pm on Saturdays. Tickets: £16/£14, previews £10. Box office: 020 7407 0234 or

Following the success of the Offie-nominated The Illusion and Ladybird, Secret/Heart return to the London stage with Billy Budd, the world premiere of a new adaptation of the novel by Herman Melville.

When Billy Budd, a young sailor foundling is forced to leave the ship he calls home and impressed onto another, his innocence and charisma make him instantly popular with his crewmates. All except one ­ Claggart, the sinister master-of-arms who sets about destroying him.

Melville¹s Billy Budd is a nautical recasting of the Fall, a parable of good and evil, a meditation on justice and political governance, and a searching portrait of three extraordinary men.

Charlie Archer plays Billy Budd. Charlie appeared in Secret/Heart¹s previous shows, The Illusion and Ladybird. Oliver King joins the company. Oliver previously appeared in A Warsaw Melody at the Arcola and is a recent graduate of Drama Centre.

Secret/Heart is the theatre company founded by Seb Harcombe, formerly the Head of Acting at RADA (2009-12). The company is made up of recent graduates of UK drama schools and established actors. As well as helping to support yong actors in the first years of their professional careers, Secret/Heart also provides an opportunity for thos wishing to specialise in developing work as part of a devising ensemble. Secret/Heart has been nominated for four 2012 OFFIE Awards, including Best Ensemble.

Director Seb Harcombe¹s directing and acting credits are extensive. Acting credits include leading classical roles at The National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, RSC, Royal Court and Lyric Hammersmith. His directing credits include the London premiere of Tony Kushner¹s The Illusion, also at Southwark Playhouse and La Voix Humane (Queen Elizabeth Hall).

Nicolai Hart-Hansen¹s design credits include The Windwon (Rambert) and Ladybird (New Diorama). Howard Hudson has twice won the Offie award for Best Lighting Designer and his credits include Less than Kind (Yvonne Arnaud and tour) and Eugene Onegin (Bury Court Opera.)

Further casting will be announced shortly.

Seb Harcombe - Director: Seb Harcombe was born in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales and read music at London University before changing direction after winning a scholarship to study acting at RADA, where he won the Robert Donat prize. Subsequent to graduating he worked extensively as an actor, including leading classical roles at the National, RSC, Donmar Warehouse, Royal Court, Lyric Hammersmith as well as in regional theatres before becoming a director. Between 2009-2012 Seb returned to RADA as Head of Acting. As a director, Seb has worked in classical, contemporary, devised and site-specific theatre, as well as opera. Recent productions have included Bloody Poetry (Brenton), Mysteries (Anon), Cleansed (Kane) and La Dispute (Marivaux) - all at RADA; the London premier of Tony Kushner's version of Corneille's The Illusion at Southwark PLayhouse; La Voix Humaine at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; Electra at Drama Centre; Eugene Onegin for Bury Court Opera; , and an all male production of Richard the Third (in Chinese) in Beijing, as an UNESCO theatre ambassador for 2011. Seb has his own company, s e c r e t/ h e a r t (, who were recently nominated for an OFFIE as Best Ensemble 2012 for their production of Vassily Sigarev's Ladybird. Their next production will be the stage version of Melville's Billy Budd at Southwark Playhouse in July.

Nicolai Hart-Hansen - Designer: Nicolai trained as a theatre designer at Central School of Speech and Drama and the Slade school of fine art, and now teaches and lectures in theatre design and scenography. Recent work includes The Windwon (Rambert Dance Theatre), Eugene Onegin (Bury Court Opera), Ladybird (New Diorama Theatre), Habe Kein Angst, Three Days of Rain, Winter Under the Table, Mapmakers Sorrow (Copenhagen), Playing the Victim (Royal Court), Watership Down, Some Girls are Bigger than Others (Lyric Hammersmith), Privte Fears in Public Places (Northampton), The Lily of the Valley (Royal Opera House 2), Shopping and Fucking, Demons (Linbury Studio), La Boheme (European Chamber Opera).

Howard Hudson - Lighting designer: Howards graduated with a BA Hons in Fine Art from Chelsea school of art and design before becoming a lighting designer. He is the winner of the Off West Ebd award Best Lighting Designer 2011 and 2012 as well as twice nominated for Broadway World UK award for Best Lighting Design. Recent work includes Less than Kind (Yvonne Arnaud and UK Tour), Eugene Onegin (Bury Court Opera), Vitor/Victoria, Mack and Mabel, Parade, Four Knights in Knaresborough, The Illusion (Southwark Playhouse) The Consultant (Theatre 503) Spring Awakening (Rose, Kingston) State Fair (Trafalgar Studios) Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure (Ambassadors).

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