Shadowlands’ author William Nicholson returns to British theatre with his first new play in more than a decade: a fictional examination of the ethical questions surrounding the credit crunch that takes a Goldman Sachs securities trader as its protagonist. Crash premieres next week at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, where it runs from 20 October to 13 November 2010 (previews from 16 October) as part of the theatre’s autumn/winter season.

Fuelled by his self-confessed “rage at bankers’ bonuses”, Nicholson’s new play centres on Nick, the trader, who has it all: property, cars, women, art, money and more. Humphrey is an idealistic artist whose work Nick invests in; he’s married to teacher Christine, the only women he’s ever loved. When the couple begin to scrutinise the ethics of Nick’s finances, he’s spoiling for a fight.

In Crash, Colin Mace stars as Nick, alongside Steven Pacey as Humphrey, Caroline Backhouse as Christine and Helen Bradbury as Nick’s girlfriend Eva in the world premiere production directed by Sarah Esdaile.

Since Olivier Award-winning 1990 success with Shadowlands, which transferred to Broadway and was made into a 1993 Oscar-nominated film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger (and revived in the West End in 2007 with Charles Dance and Janie Dee), Nicholson has worked regularly in the film world, where his further credits have included Gladiator, Serafina, Nell, First Knight, Grey Owl and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Nicholson’s other plays include Map of the Heart, Katherine Howard and, his last produced play, The Retreat from Moscow, which premiered at Chichester Festival in 1999, before receiving its Broadway premiere in 2003 in a production that starred John Lithgow, Eileen Atkins and Ben Chaplin and was nominated for four Tony Awards.

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