Theatre News

Cold War musical to have world premiere at the Almeida Theatre

The musical features the songs of Elvis Costello

Luke Thallon, Anya Chalotra and Elliot Levey, all photos supplied by the venue, centre © Matt Holyoak
Luke Thallon, Anya Chalotra and Elliot Levey, all photos supplied by the venue, centre © Matt Holyoak

Paweł Pawlikowski’s Oscar-nominated 2018 film Cold War will be adapted into a musical at the Almeida, it has been revealed.

With the stage version penned by Conor McPherson and directed by the venue’s artistic director Rupert Goold, the piece will play in north London from 30 November to 27 January 2024.

It follows two musicians whose love is disrupted by authoritarian powers in the Eastern bloc. The original film was internationally lauded, picking up three Oscar nominations and four BAFTA nominations, while also winning the main Best Film Award at the 31st European Film Awards.

The stage production will feature a variety of Elvis Costello tunes, playing alongside choral works and traditional Polish folk songs.

Goold said today: “When I first saw Paweł Pawlikowski’s film Cold War, I was swept away by its beauty, passion and style. Its theatricality struck me as ripe for a stage adaption. So, I’m incredibly excited to be presenting Conor McPherson’s adaptation, with music by Elvis Costello. 

Cold War follows a run of musicals at the Almeida over the last couple of years, including Spring Awakening which played through the peak of the Omicron Covid wave. It’s fantastic that more people will get to see it now, with our film of the production showing in cinemas this November. 

“Finally, we announce our 2023 to 25 group of Genesis Almeida Writers, six artists with big, imaginative, ambitious ideas. In addition to the mentoring from our literary team, they will receive expert advice from some of the most inspiring theatre-makers in the country. We continue to be extremely grateful to the Genesis Foundation for their support of this scheme, giving us the opportunity to work with so many brilliant emerging and mid-career writers.” 

The writers in question are Georgia Bruce, Shahid Iqbal Khan, Martha Loader, Nikhil Parmar, Eoghan Quinn and Kirsty Rider. 

Initial casting has also been revealed for the piece – you can find out more here.