NYT Brings RSC's Nickleby & Holyland to LyricDate: 29 August 2001
Fresh from its season at the Edinburgh Fringe with The Holyland, the National Youth Theatre (NYT) brings to London a revival of the 1980 Royal Shakespeare Company's hit, Nicholas Nickleby. The new production opens in the main house of the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith tonight, 29 August 2001, and continues until 15 September.
Due largely to its epic scale, Nicholas Nickleby has not had a major London revival since its success in the 1980s. Based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens, David Edgar's two-part adaptation is a vast ensemble piece designed for a company of over 50 actors.
Nicholas Nickleby follows a young boy's adventures after he's thrust out into the world by the death of his father. From tutoring in a monstrous boys school to treading the boards in the bright lights of the theatrical world, it's a compelling journey to see what fate has in store for Nicholas and his sidekick Smike.
In addition to the young members of NYT, the production, which is spread over two sittings, will also feature specially commissioned music from BAFTA Award-winning composer, Geoffrey Burgon, whose landmark scores include the music for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Brideshead Revisited and Martin Chuzzlewit. Nicholas Nickleby is directed by NYT artistic director Edward Wilson.
The Dickens revival follows NYT's success at the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe with Daragh Carville's The Holyland, which accompanies Nicholas Nickleby for a current run at the Lyric Hammersmith's Studio Theatre.
The Holyland is Belfast's student area, so called after the street names - Damascus Street, Jerusalem Street, and Palestine Street in the area around Queens University. Possibly the most inappropriately named place in Belfast, The Holyland's residents are the transient population of young people getting up to no good as they experiment and learn to invent themselves away from parents and family within this deeply divided city.
The Holyland is directed by John Hoggarth and features an ensemble cast of 17. Commissioned by NYT, The Holyland is Carville's second play for the company after Dumped (Edinburgh Festival 1998). His other work includes, Language Roulette (The Bush & The Traverse 1997) and Observatory (commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1999).
The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain was founded in 1956 by Michael Croft, the company's director until his death in 1986. The company initially played in the East End of London but proved so successful that young people began applying to join it from all over the country and in 1960 The Youth Theatre was given national status and financial support by the Department for Education. Since then, in addition to annual seasons in London, NYT companies have visited France, Germany, Holland, Russia and the United States.
- by Terri Paddock