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Photos: Zawe Ashton, Michelle Fairley & More in Rehearsal for SPLENDOUR at Donmar Warehouse

In the opulent drawing room of the Presidential Palace, a Western photojournalist awaits the return of the dictator. She is here to take his portrait. The dictator's wife, her best friend and an interpreter wait with her. Prada shoes, vodka glasses and light fingers tap out the time. He is late, very late...

All four women harbour secrets and suspicions. All four are in danger. This is the day that revolution comes to the streets. Abi Morgan's devastating play allows us a glimpse into the minds of four women as their world turns.

Abi Morgan's (Writer) recent theatre credits include The Mistress Contract at the Royal Court, 27 for the National Theatre of Scotland and Frantic Assembly's Lovesong. Her previous plays for the stage include Skinned and Tiny Dynamite. An Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning writer, on film she wrote the screenplay for The Iron Lady, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Meryl Streep, and Shame, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender. On television, her credits include BBC2's The Hour, Birdsong starring Eddie Redmayne, White Girl and Sex Traffic on Channel 4.

Robert Hastie (Director) is Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse. For the Donmar he directed My Night with Reg, which transferred to the West End's Apollo Theatre and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Revival, and conceived and directed My Mark with writer Michelle Terry, a project dramatising interviews with primary school children across the country and coinciding with the 2015 General Election. His other theatre credits include A Breakfast of Eels by Robert Holman at the Print Room; Carthage by Chris Thompson and Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun by John McGrath at the Finborough Theatre; and The Hotel Plays by Tennessee Williams for Defibrillator at the Holborn Grange Hotel. As Associate Director for Sixty-Six Books, which opened the new Bush Theatre, Hastie directed the world premieres of In the Land of Uz by Neil LaBute, The Middle Man by Anthony Weigh, David and Goliath by Andrew Motion, Snow in Sheffield by Helen Mort and A Lost Expression by Luke Kennard. He was nominated for the Emerging Talent Award at the 2014 Evening Standard Awards.

Zawe Ashton (Gilma) makes her Donmar debut in Splendour. Zawe's theatre credits include Narrative, Gone Too Far!, Rhinoceros and The Arsonists(Royal Court), There are Mountains and This Wide Night (Clean Break), All the Little Things we Cherished (Almeida), Othello and The Frontline(Shakespeare's Globe) and Bay (Young Vic). Her most recent credits include the film documentary-drama Dreams of a Life and on television Channel 4's Fresh Meat, Misfits and BBC's Case Histories.

Sinéad Cusack (Micheleine) returns to the Donmar having appeared in Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind alongside Andy Serkis in 2001. Sinéad's acting career began at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, before she moved to London to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1975. Since then she has worked prolifically across television, film and stage, best known for her Tony-nominated performances in Much Ado About Nothing (RSC, 1985) and Rock 'n' Roll (Royal Court, 2008). For the RSC, Sinéad's roles have included Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Kate (The Taming of the Shrew), Portia (The Merchant of Venice), Lady Anne (Richard III), Celia (As You Like It) and Isabella (Measure for Measure). Other stage credits include The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale as part of Sam Mendes and Kevin Spacey's 'The Bridge Project' (Old Vic and Brooklyn Academy of Music), Other Desert Cities (Old Vic),Juno and the Paycock (National Theatre and Abbey Theatre, Dublin), The Mercy Seat and The Tower (Almeida), and The Three Sisters (Gate Theatre, Dublin & Royal Court). Sinéad's performance as Mai O'Hara in Our Lady of Sligo (Irish Repertory, Broadway and National Theatre) earned her a Critics' Circle Theatre Award, an Evening Standard Award and Olivier and Drama Desk nominations in 1998. On television Sinéad has appeared in Jekyll and Hyde, Midsomer Murders, North and South, Twelfth Night and Playboy of the Western World. Film includes Wrath of the Titans and V for Vendetta.

Michelle Fairley (Genevieve) returns to the Donmar in Splendour having previously appeared in Michael Grandage's productions The Wild Duck and Othello(for which she was Olivier-nominated), and Huis Clos as part of the Donmar Trafalgar Season. Michelle is perhaps best known for her television roles in HBO'sGame of Thrones, USA Network's Suits and 24: Live Another Day. Other television credits include the Netflix series Crossing Lines, the BBC's Silent Witness,Lark Rise to Candleford and Holby City, Channel 4's Misfits, and for ITV, Taggart. On stage Michelle has appeared in Gates of Gold (Trafalgar Studios), The Remembrance (Royal Court), Dancing At Lughnasa (Old Vic), Greta Garbo came to Donegal (Tricycle), Paradise Lost/Women of Troy/Love (Paines Plough) and Macbeth (West Yorkshire Playhouse). For film, Michelle appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, Heart of the Sea and Philomena.

Genevieve O'Reilly (Kathryn) makes her Donmar debut in Splendour. Genevieve has numerous stage credits in both the UK and Australia. For the National Theatre she has appeared in The Doctor's Dilemma, 13, and Emperor & Galilean. Other credits include Birdsong (Comedy), Richard II (Old Vic), and The Weir (Gate Theatre, Dublin). In Australia, stage credits include The Violet Hour (Ensemble Theatre, Sydney), Our Lady of Sligo (Company B, Sydney), The Way of the World, and A Man with Five Children (Sydney Theatre Company). On television, Genevieve has recently appeared in Banished,The Honourable Woman and has played Princess Diana in a docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess, and has had major parts in The Time of your Lifeand Spooks. Film credits include Avatar, The Matrix, and Stars Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Photos by Johan Persson

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