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Octagon stages Rattigan's Winslow Boy

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Following the centenary year of playwright Terence Rattigan, the Octagon Theatre Bolton celebrates by staging The Winslow Boy. Interest in this writer is high following the hit production of Flare Path at the Haymarket Theatre in London.

In an English drawing room in 1911 Arthur Winslow is toasting the engagement of his daughter, when his son Ronnie unexpectedly returns home from the Osbourne Naval Academy – expelled for stealing a five shilling postal order. Believing his son’s innocence, Winslow appoints one of the country’s top QCs, Sir Robert Morton, to fight the case, determined to ‘Let right be done!’

Charting one father’s determination to get his son a fair trial, Rattigan champions the rights of the individual against the legal and political establishment. The Winslow Boy opened in the West End in 1946 and was seen at the time as part of a post-war move towards greater democracy. The play was inspired by a true story and has been adapted into two movie versions: the first in 1948, the second (directed by David Mamet) more than fifty years later.

Director David Thacker commented on the production: “The Winslow Boy is a play that centres on justice and the price that must sometimes be paid for the pursuit of complete openness and honesty. Rattigan is a master of human emotions and The Winslow Boy deals with issues that are as important now as when the play was first performed.”

Christopher Ravenscroft will be taking on the role of Arthur Winslow. He has numerous television, theatre and film credits to his name, but is perhaps most well-known for his role in the ITV series The Ruth Rendell Mysteries playing Detective Inspector Mike Burden in the series for thirteen years, from 1987-2000. Christopher last appeared at the Octagon in Arthur Miller’s version of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People directed by Romy Baskerville in 1987.

The role of Grace Winslow will be played by Suzan Sylvester[. The Olivier-Award winning actress has previously worked with David Thacker at the Young Vic Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, including playing the role of Marina in his 1991 RSC Olivier Award winning production of Pericles. Suzan is currently appearing in the Octagon’s production of Macbeth as Lady Macbeth. Suzan’s performance in Arthur Miller’s The Price (2011) recently earned her a Manchester Theatre Award nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actress.

The cast also includes [Christopher Villiers
who played Grayson Sinclair in the ITV soap Emmerdale from

The cast includes three young people playing the role of Ronnie Winslow on alternate performances. Josh Taylor, Conor Shelton and Sam Ramsay auditioned for the role of the young Winslow boy following an open call by the Octagon for local young people to be involved in the production.

There has been a huge upsurge in interest in the work of Rattigan since his centenary year in 2011, resulting in a wide revival of much of his work which includes Cause Celebre, The Browning Version, French Without Tears and The Deep Blue Sea (also adapted into a film starring Rachel Weisz), to name just a few of his plays. Rattigan received a Knighthood in 1971 recognising his achievements as a playwright but was sadly diagnosed with Leukaemia the following year; he died aged 66 in 1977.

The Winslow Boy is at the Octagon from 29 March – 21 April 2012.


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