Blue Elephant Theatre Presents THE CAVE 10/19-11/6

By: Sep. 15, 2010

The WORLD PREMIERE of Mervyn Peake's play 'THE CAVE' Directed by Aaron Paterson
October 19th to November 6th (press night October 21st at 8pm)

'The Cave', a three-act play by the writer, illustrator, artist and playwright, Mervyn Peake, which was discovered only after his death in 1968, is to receive its world premiere at the Blue Elephant Theatre. With the co-operation of the playwright's son, Sebastian Peake, 'The Cave' will be staged as a production by the Blue Elephant Theatre and directed by Aaron Paterson.

"I am delighted to have been invited by the Blue Elephant to direct this important production of a timeless text," says Aaron. "The theatre's ongoing support of artists and creative development makes it the perfect venue to produce this little-known tour de force."

'The Cave' is a powerful drama which follows the fortunes of the same family set against a background of three distinctly different periods in history and poses thought-provoking questions about the human condition. "In 'The Cave' we have a serious, philosophical play, a distillation of his main concerns: man's solitude and need for love, and the varying responses of creative artists and inventive scientists to this predicament. It stands as a bold and spare statement of Peake's world view." (G. Peter Winnington, Peake biographer).

Watch THE CAVE trailer here:

Date/time: 8pm Tuesdays to Saturdays October 19th to November 6th
Press night: Thursday October 21st at 8pm
Post-show talk: Tuesday October 26th - Sebastian Peake
Box Office: 020 7701 0100
Tickets: £12.50, £10 concs, £8 Southwark residents, £7 previews
Location: Blue Elephant Theatre, 59a Bethwin Road, London SE5 OXT
Publicity: or 020 7940 4686
Creative team:
Director: Aaron Paterson
Designer: Talulah Mason
Costumes: Nicki Martin-Harper
Lighting: Claire Childs
Sound and video: Chris Adams

On October 26th Mervyn Peake's son, Sebastian Peake, will give a post-show talk hosted by Neil Norman, journalist and playwright. Sebastian has been managing the Peake estate since his father's death over 40 years ago and in helping the Blue Elephant Theatre to stage 'The Cave', effectively kicks off next year's centenary celebrations. More info on Sebastian's website blog:

Mervyn Laurence Peake (1911 - 1968) was an English modernist writer, artist, poet and illustrator. He is best known for what are usually referred to as the Gormenghast trilogy; he wrote poetry and literary nonsense in verse form, short stories, stage and radio plays and a novel, Mr Pye. The 1940s were some of the most productive of Peake's career; he finished Titus Groan and Gormenghast and completed some of his most acclaimed illustrations for books by other authors including Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark and Alice In Wonderland, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Brothers Grimm's Household Tales, RL Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and many more. Titus Alone was published in 1959 and illustrations for Balzac's Droll Stories in 1961.

By the mid 1960s Peake's health was deteriorating and he died in 1968 at the age of 57. During his lifetime, Peake's work had a modicum of success, but has gained steadily in popularity over the years. He was always highly respected by his peers, and his friends included Dylan Thomas and Graham Greene. His works are included in the Permanent Collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Imperial War Museum; his books have been translated into more than two dozen languages and in 2008 the Times named him in their "50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945".

The BLUE ELEPHANT THEATRE is the only theatre in Camberwell, south east London; an intimate, 50-seater space where audiences can enjoy an entertaining, eclectic programme and meet for drinks and post-show talks in the bar upstairs.