Shaw's performance of the epic poem, which is directed by Deborah Warner, was first presented at Wilton's Music Hall for a sold out run in 1997, following its award-winning premiere at the Liberty Theatre in New York in 1996.
The Waste Land was published in 1922 and is generally regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th century. It's over 430 lines long and broken into five sections, containing many phrases that have since entered common usage, such as its opening line, “April is the cruellest month”, and “I will show you fear in a handful of dust”.
Fiona Shaw is currently playing the title role in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, also directed by Warner, at the National Theatre. It is believed she will return to the National in March 2010 to star as Lady Gay Spanker in Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance, directed by Nicholas Hytner and co-starring Simon Russell Beale as Sir Harcourt Courtly.
The Waste Land will run for two performances each evening at Wilton's Music Hall, which also hosts Out of Joint's Mixed Up North from 10 November to 5 December as part of a national tour.
Built by pub owner John Wilton in 1858, Wilton's is the world's oldest surviving extant music hall, built on the back of a pub. It was closed in the 1880s and later became a Methodist church and then a rag warehouse. Once condemned, it was saved by the intervention of Sir Laurence Olivier, Peter Sellers and Sir John Betjeman.