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Britannicus Comes To Wilton's Music Hall

As a teenage Emperor, Nero presided of rioting and the burning of Rome aged just seventeen. Racine's play depicts Rome on the brink of disaster, with Nero spinning gradually out of control. The terrible combination of greed, hunger for power and paranoia drive him to make ever more destructive decisions. His mother Agrippina and usurped step brother Britannicus attempt to stop Nero at the same time as betraying their own ambition and selfish desires. Racine's play is a study of an Empire unravelling from the top down.

Timberlake Wertenbaker grew up in the Basque region of Southern France, before settling in London. She is a multi award-winning playwright in her own right, having been writer in residence at the Royal Court. Perhaps her best known works are The Grace of Mary Traverse, Our Country's Good, Three Birds Alighting on a Field and Credible Witness. She is also a prolific translator. Her work in this field includes pieces by Sophocles, Euripides, Jean Anouilh, Marivaux and Racine. This translation of Britannicus was made direct from the original French and was commissioned by Wilton's Music Hall.

Irina Brown recently directed the hugely successful production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. Her other work has included Further Than The Furthest Thing at The National Theatre and The Vagina Monologues in the West End and on tour.

The cast for Britannicus includes Sian Thomas who will play Agrippina. She has appeared in the groundbreaking production of The Persians for National Theatre Wales set in the British Army firing range in the Brecon Beacons, she was part of the UK cast of the award-winning musical Spring Awakening, and she has appeared in numerous teleVision Productions and films including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Jude Akuwudike has appeared in theatre productions across the UK, most recently in Jamie Lloyd's production of The Faith Machine at the Royal Court and English Touring Theatre's production of Great Expectations.

Matthew Needham will play Nero, his recent work includes Grapes of Wrath at Chichester Festival Theatre and Shades at the Royal Court. Junia will be played by Hara Yannas, who has recently appeared in Pericles at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Uncle Vanya at the Arcola and Belgrade, A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare's Globe and Tales of the Harrow Road at Soho Theatre. The role of Britannicus will be played by Alex Vlahos whose recent work includes Emperor and Galilean at The National Theatre and Hamlet at Sheffield Crucible.

Wilton's is the oldest surviving Grand Music Hall in the world. It belongs to the first generation of public house music halls that appeared in London during the 1850s and which, only fifty years later, had all but disappeared. Now owned by the Wilton's Music Hall Trust and run by a by a very small and dedicated team of people, it produces imaginative, distinctive work that combines all art forms.

Recent years have seen Wilton's fighting an ongoing battle to stay open as it searches for the funds to restore the building to safety and make its future safe. Most recently an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected, placing the building in real danger of closure. However, The astonishing public response to our urgent need for funds following the rejection from the HLF has helped Wilton's to raise enough funds (£500k) to secure the structure of two parts of the building and stave off imminent closure. The building is still decaying and still semi-derelict, it is unable to reach its potential as a performance company and as a heritage building. The Trust is still fundraising for a further £2million to secure Wilton's forever.


By Jean Racine in A New Translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Wilton's Music Hall,
Graces Alley, London, E1 8JE
Box Office 020 7702 2789

Previews: Thursday 13th - Wednesday 19th October
Press night: Friday 21st October at 7pm
Booking until November 19th.

No performances on Thursday 20th October, Tuesday 8th November or Thursday 17th November.

Previews: £17.50
Matinees: £20
Standard tickets: £25
Concession: £22.50

Tues - Sat 7:30pm
Thurs and Sat matinees 2:30pm

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