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Plays Cast: Chaplin Leads Hampstead Farewell, Brenton's Poetry

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Ben Chaplin, Tara Fitzgerald and Jemma Redgrave will star in the Hampstead Theatre production of Richard Nelson’s new play Farewell To The Theatre which runs from 7 March 2012 (previews from 1 March) to 7 April 2012.

Nelson’s play, which is directed by Roger Michell, finds early twentieth century producer Harley Granville-Barker (Chaplin) embittered and world-weary in Massachusetts in 1916. With war raging in Europe, he has fallen in with a group of British expatriates endeavouring to find their way in an academic, theatre obsessed community.

Internecine intrigue, lust and betrayal permeates this witty and absorbing study of human nature, as Granville-Barker gradually rediscovers his love of the art of theatre and his faith in its centrality to a life well lived.

Farewell To The Theatre sees Ben Chaplin return to the stage for the first time since the National Theatre's 2007 production of The Reporter.

His other stage credits include This is How it Goes and The Glass Menagerie at the Donmar and The Retreat from Moscow on Broadway. His numerous film credits include Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt Now and Sunrise, London Boulevard, The Thin Red Line, Birthday Girl, Dorian Gray and Remains of the Day.

Tara Fitzgerald recently appeared alongside Antony Sher in Broken Glass at the Vaudeville and Tricycle. Her other credits include The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre with Keira Knightley, And Then There Were None (Gielgud), A Doll’s House (Donmar) and Hamlet (Almeida). Her television credits include Waking the Dead, The Body Farm and The Virgin Queen as well as Dark Blue Wood, Brassed Off, Hear My Song and Sirens on the big screen.

Jemma Redgrave recent stage credits include The Great Game: Afghanistan which transferred to Washington DC following its run at the Tricycle. She has also been seen in The Cherry Orchard (Chichester), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Albery Theatre), Major Barbara (Piccadilly) and The Three Sisters (Queen’s). Her film and television credits include Lassie, I’ll Be There, The Acid House, Howard’s End, Law & Order, Miss Marple, Cold Blood, Mansfield Park, The Grid and Bramwell.

They are joined in the cast by William French, Andrew Havill, Louis Hilyer and Jason Watkins.

Havill's stage credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe/New York), Noises Off (Birmingham Rep), Ring Round the Moon (The Playhouse), Arsenic and Old Lace (Theatre Royal Bath) and The Madness of George Dubya (Arts).

Louis Hilyer has appeared in An Inspector Calls (Novello and National), The Lady from the Sea (Birmingham Rep), The White Devil (Menier), King Lear (RSC), The Tempest (Old Vic), A Russian in the Woods (RSC) and Flight (National).

Jason Watkins last worked with Roger Michell in Landscape with A Weapon at the National Theatre. His other stage credits include Our Class (National), The Late Henry Moss (Almeida), A Laughing Matter (National) and Boy Gets Girl (Royal Court).

His many television appearances include Being Human, Murderland, Poirot, Little Dorrit, May Contain Nuts, Lark Rise to Candleford and Life on Mars. The production mark's William French professional stage debut. Television credits include Hatfields and McCoys (History Channel).

Farewell To The Theatre is designed by Hildegard Bechtler with lighting by Rick Fisher and sound design by John Leonard.

Howard Brenton's 1984 play Bloody Poetry will be revived by Tom Littler at the Jermyn Street Theatre from 3 February (previews from 31 January 2012). The cast features David Sturzaker,Joanna Christie, Joe Bannister, Rhiannon Sommers, Emily Glenister and Nick Trumble.

Bloody Poetry is set between 1816 and 1822 across Switzerland, England and Italy. The Shelleys and Claire Clairemont fled from scandal in London to Lake Geneva, where Clairemont introduced the Shelleys to her lover, Lord Byron. Byron was already world famous both for his writing and for his love life, including affairs with his sister Augusta and Lady Caroline Lamb.

Byron’s challenge to the company one evening to recount ghost stories produced Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein. The convocation also produced Byron’s daughter Allegra and cemented a friendship between the two great poets which provided the inspiration for Shelley’s Mont Blanc, and The Mask of Anarchy and Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

Brenton won the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Award for Anne Boleyn which debuted at Shakespeare's Globe. His other stage works include Danton’s Death, Never So Good, The Romans in Britain and Weapons of Happiness for the National Theatre, Pravda with David Hare, The Churchill Play and Epsom Downs. For television, he wrote 14 episodes of the BBC series Spooks.

David Sturzaker's stage credits include Kingdom of Earth and Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare's Globe. He will also be in the eight-week UK tour of Brenton's Anne Boleyn which starts in March.

Joanna Christie appeared in Equus with Richard Griffiths and Daniel Ratcliffe at the Gielgud. Her screen appearances include The Girl and The Fish which she also wrote and Channel 4’s Misfits.

Joe Bannister is currently appearing in The Lion In Winter at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Rhiannon Sommers was last seen at the Jermyn Stree in Anyone Can Whistle and most recently appeared in Butley at the Duchess. Emily Glenister has recently appeared in BBC’s New Tricks and was seen on stage in The Misanthrope at Bristol Old Vic. Nick Trumble's stage credits include Saturday Night and Anyone Can Whistle.

Bloody Poetry is produced by Primavera, presented by Paul Deavin in association with Jermyn Street Theatre. The production has design by Will Reynolds, lighting by Tim Mascall, costumes by Emily Stuart and sound by George Dennis.


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