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Sheffield Theatres to host Frayn season

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Over the last decade, Sheffield Theatres have staged a number of ambitious and engaging mini-seasons, focused on the work of major British playwrights, including Caryl Churchill, Peter Gill and Harold Pinter. Last year saw tight, well received productions of Plenty and Racing Demon, as part of the David Hare Season, and this year, the spotlight is on the work of Michael Frayn.

Frayn’s most renowned play, Copenhagen (1998), which imagines an encounter between atomic physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, follows in the tradition of great playwrights from Bertolt Brecht to Tom Stoppard, who have sought to interrogate the moral and ethical conundrums that surround science, in urgent and compelling ways. This piece will be staged in the Lyceum Theatre and stars Henry Goodman, who was last seen at Sheffield Theatres in Fiddler on the Roof (2006). This piece has the briefest run of the three (Wednesday 29th February to Saturday 10th March), so book early to avoid disappointment.

The Crucible and its Studio will house two of Frayn’s lesser known, but highly acclaimed works, Benefactors (1984) and Democracy (2003), enabling audiences to experience a wide scope of Frayn’s playwriting, which spans three decades of output. This is the first time any of these plays have been staged by Sheffield Theatres.

Democracy, a large cast, ensemble piece, will be on the Crucible’s main stage from Thursday 8th to Saturday 31st March, and is directed by Paul Miller, whose recent productions of True West and Hamlet will be remembered by Sheffield audiences. Part gripping, political thriller, part philosophical exploration into the ideals, contradictions and corruptions of post-war European politics, Democracy was much applauded when first staged by the National Theatre in 2003.

Benefactors, an intelligent, ironic comedy about the limitations of liberal idealism and high-rise buildings, will be in the more intimate Studio space from Thursday 1st to Saturday 24th March 2012.

Repeating one of the highlights of last year’s David Hare Season, as well as the three main productions, audiences will be able to attend free lunchtime play readings of a number of Frayn’s other plays, including his adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Wild Honey (Friday 23rd March), and Frayn himself will be appearing ‘In Conversation’ (also on 23rd March).

Tickets for all the season’s events can be purchased by visiting or calling Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office (0114 249 6000) or their website (www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk).


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