London Classic Theatre Brings Pinter's THE BIRTHDAY PARTY to Belgrade Theatre

Following successful tours of Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 2015, London Classic Theatre return to the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, with their new production of Harold Pinter's THE BIRTHDAY PARTY from Tues 14 to Sat 18 June. It's directed by Michael Cabot, with design by Bek Palmer and lighting by Andy Grange.

"There's a gentleman living here. He's got a birthday today, and he's forgotten all about it. So we're going to remind him. We're going to give him a party."

A shabby boarding house in a small English seaside town. An elderly couple take care of a solitary guest, who rarely ventures out. The arrival of two enigmatic strangers seems to offer a welcome distraction from their mundane existence. But when an impromptu, seemingly innocent birthday party abruptly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, there are horrifying repercussions.

By turns, cryptic thriller and macabre comedy, The Birthday Party was Harold Pinter's first major work and is among the most unusual and absorbing of his plays. London Classic Theatre presents the first significant touring revival of the 21st century, promising to bring this ground-breaking classic to fresh and exhilarating life.

Playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist, Harold Pinter was born on 10 October 1930 in East London. He wrote 29 plays including Betrayal, Old Times, The Homecoming and The Caretaker. In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Jonathan Ashley plays Goldberg. For the company, he has appeared in Waiting for Godot, Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Double Inconstancy. His other theatre credits include The Tempest and Hansel and Gretel (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds), Abigail's Party, Arsenic and Old Lace, Dick Barton and the Secret of the Pharoah's Tomb, One for the Pot, Ladies in Retirement, Hay Fever and Salad Days (Southwold Summer Theatre), The Hooligan Clown (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Scapin's Tricks and The Winter's Tale (Wimbledon Studio Theatre), Waiting for Godot and The Dumb Waiter (Albany Empire) and Landscape (Finborough Theatre).

Gareth Bennett-Ryan plays Stanley. His theatre credits include The History Boys, Macbeth (Mercury Colchester), Farm Boy (New Perspectives), As You Like It, Macbeth (Shakespeare's Globe), Generation of Z Apocalypse (Royale Productions), Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival), Dick Whittington, Mother Goose (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds),The Mermaids Curse (SKiP), The Shoemakers Holiday (The Rose) and NewsRevue (2008 Season tour). For television, he has appeared in Shakespeare Uncovered, Word on the Street, Arthur & Merlin, Woodfalls , Mercenaries, 7th Soldier, From This Day, Wounded , Dead Unicorns.

Cheryl Kennedy plays Meg. Her theatre credits include The Boy Friend (Comedy Theatre), 1776 (New Theatre), Time and Time Again(West End), Absent Friends (Garrick Theatre), Flowers for Algerson (Queen's Theatre), The Mousetrap (St Martins Theatre), My Fair Lady(US tour), First Impressions, You Never Can Tell, Brand, Teeth N' Smiles, Time and the Conways, Mrs Warren's Profession, Moll Flanders, Great Expectations, How the Other Half Loves, Man of the Moment, Heartbreak House and Season's Greetings (all UK tours). Cheryl's TV credits include The Sweeney, The Professionals, What Every Woman Knows and Brookside.

Ged McKenna plays Petey. His theatre work includes A Skull in Connemara (Nottingham Playhouse), Inherit The Wind, Kes, Toad of Toad Hall, Big Maggie, Second From Last in The Sack Race, Translations, Cleo Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), Much Ado About Nothing, Hercules (Chester), Hysteria (English Theatre of Frankfurt), Faith Healer (Library Theatre, Manchester), To Kill A Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Katherine De Souza, Forward (Birmingham Rep), The Lonesome West (Hull Truck), Strangers On A Train, Ghosts, Sailor Beware! (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick), Iron (Traverse, Edinburgh/Royal Court, London), The Farmer's Bride by Ged McKenna (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough/Tour), The Tempest, Desire Under The Elms (Shared Experience), Macbeth (Cheek By Jowl) and Yard (Bush). His film credits include Shirley Valentine and Awaydays.

Declan Rodgers plays McCann. His theatre credits include I'm With The Band (Traverse Theatre & UK Tour), Can't Forget About You(Lyric Theatre), Shoot The Crow (Trafalgar Studios), Carousel (Bush), Service (Nilon Productions/Theatre 503), Hope Dies Last (Arcola Theatre) and City (Encounter Productions). Television credits include Six Degrees and In Cold Blood. His film credits include Shooting For Socrates, You Looking At Me? and The Minnits of Annabeg.

Imogen Wilde plays Lulu. She finished her training at Drama Studio in 2015. Since then she acted in Scrooge (Bill Kenwright Productions), Punk Rock (D&M Productions), Puss In Boots and White Feathers (Bread & Roses).

Michael Cabot is the founder and Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre. He has directed all thirty-four LCT productions since their debut in 1993. These have included Waiting for Godot, Absent Friends, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Betrayal, The Importance of Being Earnest, Equus, Ghosts, After Miss Julie and The Caretaker. He has overseen the company's transition from one of the success stories of the London Fringe in the late nineties to its current position as one of the UK's most prolific touring companies. As a director, his other work includes Pera Palas (Arcola), The Power of Love (Southwark Playhouse), Marat/Sade (Arcola), Tattoo (New Grove), and most recently Henry Naylor's The Collector at the Arcola, which previously won a Fringe First at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival.

In April 2000, London Classic Theatre was launched as a touring theatre company with David Mamet's Oleanna. This inaugural tour lost a small fortune but doors had opened and, crucially, the work was being seen. Sixteen years and thirty-four tours later, London Classic Theatre is now a successful, established part of the commercial UK touring theatre scene. The company has never received any funding or sponsorship for its work. As Artistic Director, Michael Cabot has programmed a repertoire of classic and modern classic plays, a mixture of the challenging and the commercial, big titles and less well-known, including two UK premières - Hugh Leonard's Love in the Title and Joanna Murray- Smith's Nightfall. As venues and audiences have become more familiar with the work, he has been able to push the boundaries of what LCT offers, both in ambition, scale and complexity.

The Birthday Party runs from Tues 14 - Sat 18 June. Tickets are priced from £12 to £27 with concessions available. To book, call the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk where tickets are cheaper.


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From This Author Marianka Swain