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Howard Brenton examines creation of Pakistan in new play at Hampstead

Brenton's new play centres on the controversial drawing of the India/Pakistan border in 1947

Howard Brenton's new play Drawing the Line, about the creation of modern-day Pakistan, will premiere at Hampstead Theatre in December.

Daunting task: Cyril Radcliffe
The play, which will be directed by Howard Davies, was inspired by conversations Brenton had during a visit to India in 2009.

It centres on Mr Justice Cyril Radcliffe (later Viscount Radcliffe), who in 1947 was given the daunting task of drawing the border which would divide India and Pakistan.

He had just six weeks to complete the task and decide the fate of millions of people.

According to press material, Radcliffe was "unprepared for the dangerous whirlpool of political intrigue and passion into which he was plunged; one of religious and racial turmoil, blood feuds and even an illicit liaison between the Leader of the Congress Party and the Viceroy's wife."

Brenton's recent plays for the Hampstead include #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei and historical epic 55 Days.

Drawing the Line runs from 9 December 2013 to 11 January 2014 (previews from 3 December), with casting still to be announced.

See also: Our recent Brief Encounter with Howard Brenton