Although a venue and exact dates have still to be confirmed, The Soldier’s Tale will return to the West End for a limited engagement in January 2006. Following a one-off performance last November of a translation by Jeremy Sams, the UK-based Motion Group travelled to Baghdad where they developed the project as a collaboration with a British-Iraqi company of actors and musicians (See News, 15 Oct 2004).

This new Arabic/Israeli version - translated by Abdul Karim Kasid and Critics’ Circle Award winner Rebecca Lenkiewicz (The Night Season and, just opened, Shoreditch Madonna) and performed by its cross-national ensemble - will run for a minimum of 12 performances in the West End in the New Year. Existing cast members are likely to be joined in London by a few more high profile names. The 2004 performance at the Old Vic starred Jeremy Irons, Hugh Dancy and Nicholas Le Prevost.

Ahead of the London dates, the production will premiere in Baghdad this autumn. It will also tour to Paris, Berlin and New York. The Soldier’s Tale is presented by The Motion Group, whose young English founder Andrew Steggall (pictured) directs, in association with the National Theatre of Iraq. According to promotional material, the project aims are to “demonstrate and prove solidarity with both countries” and to contribute to “the development of post-war cultural life in Iraq through building sustainable cultural relations and sharing skills and experiences”.

The Soldier’s Tale is the Faustian story of a soldier who sells his soul to the devil in return for infinite wealth. Stravinsky worked with the writer, Ramuz, on this innovative work of music theatre in 1918 while living in Switzerland, in the midst of war-torn Europe.

- by Terri Paddock