WYP & Birmingham Team Up for Madness & BridgeDate: 19 May 2003
West Yorkshire Playhouse (WYP) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre - two of the UK's leading regional theatres - are teaming up this autumn to mount to new large-scale productions of Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III and Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, which will both open in September and be swapped between Leeds and Birmingham.
First out of the gates will be The Madness of George III, starring Michael Pennington (last seen on stage earlier this year in English Touring Theatre's John Gabriel Borkman) in the title role. It opens at WYP on 24 September 2003 (previews from 19 September) and continues to 18 October, before transferring to Birmingham from 22 October to 15 November 2003.
Bennett's stage play won great acclaim when it originally opened, with the late Nigel Hawthorne (pictured in character) playing the afflicted monarch, at the National Theatre in 1991. Hawthorne went on to star in the Academy Award-winning 1994 film version, retitled The Madness of King George and again directed by Nicholas Hytner. The new production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Francis O'Connor.
Toby Frow's revival of American playwright Arthur Miller's 1956 drama A View from the Bridge, set in New York's tight-knit Italian immigrant community, opens first at Birmingham Rep on 30 September 2003 (previews from 26 September). It continues there until 18 October and then moves to Leeds from 25 October to 22 November 2003. It's designed by Simon Higlett.
In a joint statement, Ian Brown and Jonathan Church, artistic directors of WYP and Birmingham Rep respectively, called their partnership "a major new artistic collaboration", and said they hoped it was the first of many. "There are many similarities between our theatres and our aspirations - not least our epic main stage spaces and our desire to give our audiences suitably ambitious productions that can reach a broad cross-section of the communities we serve."
- by Terri Paddock