Award-winning production company Shared Experience launches its newest project, a revival of Helen Edmundson's The Clearing, next month. The production starts its three-month touring schedule on 7 March 2002 in Birmingham and continues until 1 June, including a month-long engagement from 23 April to 25 May at London's Tricycle Theatre.

It's 1650 and Oliver Cromwell is threatening to eradicate the Irish. Meanwhile, an English gentleman has planted a garden in the midst of the Irish forest. He hopes to keep the outside world at bay, but he has married a clever, spirited Irish woman and is deeply in love. When their first child is born, he begins to understand the cost of his devotion.

The cast of The Clearing are Amelda Brown, Pip Donaghy, Aislin McGuckin, Mairead McKinley and Joseph Millson. The play is directed by Polly Teale and designed by Angela Davies, with lighting by Chris Davey and music by Peter Salem.

First performed at London's Bush Theatre in 1993, The Clearing won both a John Whiting and a Time Out Theatre Award. It has since been performed around the world, though rarely in this country. Edmundson's other plays include Flying and Ladies in the Lift. She has previously worked with Shared Experience adapting its productions of literary classics Anna Karenina, War and Peace and the Award-nominated take on George Eliot's Mill on the Floss, which was revived last year at the West End's New Ambassadors Theatre.

Shared Experience, under the leadership of joint artistic directors Teale and Nancy Meckler, has just completed a sell-out run at London's Soho Theatre with Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop, which it toured last year. Its many other acclaimed productions include Mother Courage and Her Children, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, True West, Heartbreak House and The Bacchae.

Following Birmingham, The Clearing visits Mold, Guildford, Ipswich, Cambridge, Newcastle, London and Oxford.

- by Terri Paddock