Shakespeare's Globe presents the world premiere of Trevor Griffiths' new play A New World: A Life of Thomas Paine, between 29 August and 9 October 2009. This much-loved and greatly respected writer has created a vibrant picture of the life of a great Englishman, and of a moment in history whose influence still shapes our world today. A New World will be directed by Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole with John Light in the title role of Thomas Paine.

Trevor Griffiths has been writing for the theatre, television and cinema since the late 60s. He is best known for his landmark play Comedians which has been in constant production around the world since its premiere in 1975. Within the next year, Comedians will appear at the Lyric Hammersmith and the Bolton Octagon. Griffiths' other theatre work includes Piano (National Theatre), The Party (National Theatre) and Real Dreams (Bristol Old Vic). For his film Reds, written with Warren Beatty, he received the WGA Best Screenplay Award and an Oscar nomination. Other films have included Country directed by Richard Eyre and Fatherland directed by Ken Loach.

In January 2009 President Obama quoted from Paine's pamphlet series The American Crisis in his inauguration speech, highlighting the enduring relevance of Paine's work. For Griffiths, this project marks the culmination of over twenty years of research and hard writing. This year is the 200th anniversary of the death of revolutionary Thomas Paine, who was the guiding hand behind both the American and the French revolutions.

In the last four seasons at the Globe, artistic director Dominic Dromgoole has directed Romeo and Juliet (2009), King Lear (2008), Love's Labour's Lost (2007 and 2009 revival), Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra (both 2006). This is the first time that Dominic has directed a new play at the Globe. Dominic was Artistic Director of the Oxford Stage Company, 1999-2005, and the Bush Theatre 1990-96, and Director of New Plays for the Peter Hall Company in 1996/7. Also an author, his books include The Full Room (2001) and Will and Me (2006).

John Light will play the lead role of Thomas Paine. His previous stage work includes Brutus in Julius Caesar and Caliban in The Tempest (Royal Shakespeare Company), Apologia (Bush Theatre) and The Night Season (National Theatre). His film work includes Walter in Partition and his portrayal of the British pilot Robert Newman in the 2006 German film Dresden.

Stephen Warbeck has collaborated closely with Trevor Griffiths to create a number of songs for A New World. Warbeck is one of Britain's premier film score composers, winning an Academy Award for his score for Shakespeare in Love. He has written extensively for theatre, including As You Like It, Othello and Pericles (Shakespeare's Globe), Parlour Song and When the Rain Stops Falling (Almeida), and the Royal Court's production of The Seagull which transferred to Broadway.

Tim Shortall will design. His recent designs include the new set for La Cage aux Folles (Playhouse Theatre, West End), Rookery Nook (Menier Chocolate Factory), For King and Country and The Philanthropist (Roundabout Theatre, New York).

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