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IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD to Transfer to Trafalgar Studios This Autumn

Transferring from its critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Finborough Theatre earlier this year where it was nominated for seven OffWestEnd Awards including Best New Play, Best Male Performance, and Best Director, the world premiere production of It Is Easy To Be Dead by Neil McPherson opens at Trafalgar Studio 2, for a strictly limited four week limited season on Wednesday, 9 November 2016, with the press night on the 98th anniversary of Armistice Day - Press Night: Friday, 11 November 2016 at 7.00pm.

When twenty year old Charles Sorley is killed in action during the First World War, his devastated parents are left with only his letters and poems to remember him by. Using his extraordinary writings, together with music and songs of the period, It Is Easy To Be Dead is a tender portrait of a brief life filled with promise, cut short by the futility of war.

Charles Sorley was a witty, intelligent and spirited young man from Aberdeen, with a talent for poetry and dreams of escaping his privileged background. Studying in Germany in 1914 - where he was briefly imprisoned as an enemy alien - his life, like those of millions of other young men and their families, was ripped apart by the start of the First World War.

Inspired by his experiences in Germany and of the horror and pity of war, he created some of the most profound and moving war poetry ever written, directly inspiring the grim disillusionment of later poets such as Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon.

It Is Easy To Be Dead features live music and songs from some of the greatest composers of the period including George Butterworth, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, Ivor Gurney, John Ireland, Rudi Stephan and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The cast includes Jenny Lee (West End, Royal Court Theatre, The Young Vic, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Tom Marshall (National Theatre, West End, Royal Court Theatre, nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Male Performance in a Supporting Role for It Is Easy To Be Dead) and two new discoveries - actor Alexander Knox as Charles Sorley, nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Male Performance for It Is Easy To Be Dead; acclaimed young tenor Hugh Benson; and prize-winning pianist Elizabeth Rossiter.

Poets on Charles Sorley:

"Potentially the greatest poet lost to us in that war...had Sorley lived, he might have become our greatest dramatist since Shakespeare." - John Masefield.

"One of the three poets of importance killed during the war [alongside Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg]." - Robert Graves.

"Probably the most clear-sightEd English poet killed in the war." - Robert Nichols.

Playwright Neil McPherson is Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre, twice winning the OffWestEnd Award for Best Artistic Director. His award-winning first play I Wish to Die Singing - Voices From The Armenian Genocide, commemorating the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, was presented at the Finborough Theatre in 2015, and an excerpt was also performed concurrently in Los Angeles. Both I Wish to Die Singing and It Is Easy To Be Dead are published by Oberon Books.

Director Max Key trained on the National Theatre Directors' Course and works in theatre, film and opera. Theatre includes the sell-out world premiere of Year 10 (Finborough Theatre) which won the Time Out Critics' Choice Award and transferred to BAC, prior to a European tour. He Up the Royal Borough and Lullaby Burn (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Mariana Pineda, The Turn of the Screw and The Rape of Lucretia (Arcola Theatre), Vote By Ballot and NT Connections (National Theatre), Macbeth (Indian Tour) and Wilde Tales (Southwark Playhouse). He was Associate Director for Peter Gill on As Good A Time As Any (The Print Room) and on The Voysey Inheritance (National Theatre). Assistant Direction includes assisting Tim Albery on The Flying Dutchman (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Sean Holmes on Treasure Island (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Tony Harrison on Fram (National Theatre) and Francesca Zambello on La Bohème (Royal Albert Hall). Film includes Preservation starring Saskia Reeves for Palm Springs International Film Festival and BAFTA. Max has taught and directed extensively at leading London drama schools including LAMDA and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Producer Bréon Rydell co-produced the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd and the original production of It Is Easy To Be Dead at the Finborough Theatre. He is also a film-maker, writer and composer. Recent productions have included a memorial tribute to the late actor, Bille Brown, at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane; a short film Jazz and George for Phoenix Flight Films, Australia; and Free to Cry, a short film based on his own poem which was selected to close the official ceremony of World Holocaust Day at the Museum of Tolerance, Moscow in 2015. He is also currently working with Tony-nominated composer, Alex Baranowski, and the first song and video from their collaboration, I Gave You Everything, was performed by Tamsin Carroll, and recorded at Air Studios with the London Metropolitan Orchestra. Forthcoming projects include a new play for music theatre, Butterfly Jaws - A Dark Fairytale,and a series of short films for the Francis Bacon Foundation.



Trafalgar Studio 2, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY

Wednesday, 9 November - Saturday, 3 December 2016

Monday to Saturday evenings at 7.45pm (except Friday 11 November at 7.00pm)
Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.00pm (except no Thursday matinee on Thursday, 10 November).

Tickets £30, £25 and £15 (restricted view) at

Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7632. Groups: 0844 871 7644. Ticketmaster: 0844 847 2345 (24 hours), or in person from the Trafalgar Studios Box Office

Performance Length: 1 hour 45 minutes including one interval.

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