Following the sudden closure of screen-to-stage musical Desperately Seeking Susan (See Today’s Other News), Michael Barker-Caven’s critically acclaimed revival of William Nicholson’s award-winning 1990 play Shadowlands, starring Charles Dance and Janie Dee, will transfer to the Novello Theatre where it will reopen on 21 December 2007.

Shadowlands is currently in the midst of a limited 11-week season at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre, where it opened on 8 October 2007 (previews from 3 October), following a regional tour. But it must vacate Wyndham’s on 15 December to make way for the return of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (See News, 9 Aug 2007). After a week off, it will resume performances for another nine weeks at the Novello.

Producer Andrew Welch said of the move: “We are delighted to be able to extend our run in London’s West End by moving to the Novello Theatre, so that people, who may not have been able to get tickets at Wyndham’s Theatre, will now have the chance to see this production, of which everyone involved is incredibly proud.”

Set in Oxford in the 1950s, Shadowlands tells the true love story of CS Lewis (Dance) and Joy Gresham (Dee). Lewis, a leading Christian academic and author of many classic books including The Chronicles of Narnia, remained a bachelor until his fifties, when he met Joy. Enchanted by the American divorcee, he secretly married her and cared for her when she became terminally ill. His encounter with love and loss led him to reconsider many of the beliefs he had previously held so staunchly.

The original 1990 West End production starred Nigel Hawthorne and Jane Lapotaire and transferred to Broaway. Nicholson adapted his play – which won the Evening Standard Award for Play of the Year and was nominated for three Oliviers and the Tony for Best Play - for a 1993 film which starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger and was directed by Richard Attenborough.

Dance and Dee previously performed the piece as a pre-Christmas rehearsed reading at the West End’s Comedy Theatre (See News, 28 Nov 2006), organised by Dee as a fundraiser for the Nepalese school-building charity, the Pahar Trust.

Dee and Dance are joined in Shadowlands by John Standing (as Professor Christopher Riley), Richard Durden, Graham Padden, Alan Gregg, Osmund Bullock, Christian and Jonah Lees, Adam Megginson, Naomi Paxton and Sioned Jones. The production is designed by Matthew Wright, with lighting by Peter Mumford. It’s presented by Welch and Brian Eastman as the first offering out of the stable of Richmond Theatre Productions.

- by Terri Paddock