SOPHIE WARD TO STAR IN BRAVE NEW WORLD
TOURING CONSORTIUM THEATRE COMPANY AND ROYAL & DERNGATE NORTHAMPTON PRESENT
SOPHIE WARDTO STAR IN THE WORLD PREMIERE OF A NEWSTAGE ADAPTATION OF ALDOUS HUXLEY’S DYSTOPIAN MASTERPIECE
BRAVE NEW WORLD BY DAWN KING
DIRECTED BY JAMES DACRE
With ORIGINAL MUSIC by These New Puritans
KING’S THEATRE EDINBURGH
Tue 29 September to Saturday 3 October 2015
I don't want comfort. I want danger. I want freedom. I want sin.
Touring Consortium Theatre Company and Royal & Derngate Northampton present the world premiere of a brand new stage adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s seminal novel BRAVE NEW WORLD, opening on Friday 4 September 2015, with a national press night in Northampton on Tuesday 8 September.
Brave New World, widely considered to be one of the finest and most prophetic dystopian novels of the twentieth century, bursts into life on stage in an adaptation by award-winning playwright Dawn King, directed byJames Dacre and designed by Naomi Dawson, with an original new music by the ground breaking British band These New Puritans.
Sophie Wardwill star as ‘Margaret Mond – the Regional World Controller for Western Europe’, which in Huxley’s novel is a male character. Dawn King said, “I took this decision primarily because as a feminist, I wanted to increase the gender equality of the show. I also felt that having a female world controller of Western Europe is more representative of our world today, and of a world of the future. In the novel the character is called ‘Mustapha Mond’, but in my adaptation I chose the name Margaret, for its obvious allusions. I think Sophie Ward is a great choice to play the role because ‘Mond’ is a person who has had to make hard decisions, has a strong sense of her own personal morality, and has real steely authority – qualities I think Sophie will accentuate.”
Sophie Ward’sextensive screen credits include series regular roles in Land Girls, Heartbeat and Holby City, and appearances in acclaimed TV dramasDinotopia, A Dark Adapted Eye (opposite Helena Bonham Carter),A Village Affair and Secret State, and films includingJane Eyre, Book of Blood, Out of Bounds, Crime and Punishment, Wuthering Heights, andYoung Sherlock Holmes. Her theatre work includes: Go Back For Murder (tour); Private Lives; One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (tour); An Ideal Husband (Theatre Clwyd); Nothing (59th Street, New York); Electricity (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Semi Monde (Lyric Theatre, London); The Three Sisters (Chichester); The Turn Of The Screw (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry); Flare Path (King’s Head, London); and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (tour)
Aldous Huxley’sBrave New World was first published in 1932, and is widely seen to be one of the most important novels of the 20th century, anticipating developments in reproductive technology, psychological manipulation and behavioural conditioning. Set 600 years in the future human life has been almost entirely industrialised, and humans are created and conditioned in a lab according to a strict caste system, in a World State whose motto is “Community, Identity, Stability”. Monogamy, the family unit and the ‘natural’ process of giving birth, are considered horrific and unnatural, and material comfort and physical pleasure - provided by the drug soma and recreational sex — represent society’s highest good.
Dawn Kingalso said, “Huxley's novel is over eighty years old, but his vision of the future is shockingly familiar. In many ways, we already live in Brave New World: a glittering dystopia built on inequality, where people keep themselves distracted with empty pleasures, chemical stimulants and consumer goods. Adapting this huge work for the stage has been as tough and stimulating as anything I've ever done and a huge pleasure.”
James Dacresaid, “Asking whether it is better to be free and unhappy or to live in forced happiness, incapable of accepting freedom, our version of Brave New World will explore the ways that we currently live our lives, imagining how tomorrow’s world might look as a consequence of today's choices.”
Jack Barnettfrom These New Puritans said, “We’re really pleased to be involved with Brave New World. I don’t think we could have picked something more suitable if we’d had a million options. Re-reading it, I could imagine our sounds and the contrasts in our sounds mapping onto it well. It should be a blast, having a chance to produce some of the sounds which are only described. It’s probably the most prophetic of twentieth century dystopias, and especially powerful given the undercurrent of scientism around at the moment. Ultimately it deals with more fundamental questions, like what is happiness, and at what cost? And that’s got to be the only game in town.”
Dawn Kingis currently working on a film adaptation of her most recent stage play Ciphers, which was a co-production between Out Of Joint Theatre Company, The Bush theatre and Exeter Northcott. It toured the UK in 2013 and enjoyed a sell out run at The Bush in 2014. She is also under commission to write a new play for The Bush. Her award-wining short film The Karman Line, starring Olivia Colman and Shaun Dooley, played at film festivals around the world, won thirteen awards, and was BAFTA nominated. Dawn’s play Foxfinder won the Papatango Theatre Company new writing competition in 2011 and the Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright award 2013. It ran at The Finborough in 2011 where it sold out and Dawn won the Offie Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2012.
These New Puritansare a band from Essex comprising of twin brothers Jack and George Barnett, their friend Thomas Hein and many different collaborators. The band’s debut album, Beat Pyramid, and the series of video-casts that preceded it, were hailed by the NME as demonstrating a “span of ideas and singularity of vision that simply shouldn’t happen to 20-year-olds”, while the Observer Music Monthly called it “utterly engrossing and totally essential”. 2010’s Hidden received 5-star reviews across the board and was hailed as "the first masterpiece of the twenty-first century" by the Daily Telegraph and named NME's album of the year. 2013’s Field of Reeds received rave reviews from The Guardian, The Times, Q & Uncut. TNP debuted the album with a series of concerts in Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles (supporting Björk at Hollywood Bowl) and London, with a new live septet (drums / bass / live electronics / trumpet / French horn / piano / female vocals).
James Dacre is Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where his credits have included the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s The Hook in a co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, King John in a co-production with Shakespeare’s Globe, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Royal Exchange and Northern Stage, The Body of an American with The Gate and A Tale of Two Cities. Other productions include The Accrington Pals for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Holy Warriors for the Globe, King James Bible for the National Theatre, and The Mountaintop which won an Olivier Award for Best New Play. James has directed and developed new work by David Eldridge, Dawn King, Mike Poulton, Ron Hutchinson, Rachel Portman, Roy Williams, Katori Hall, Amanda Whittington, Suzan Lori-Parks, Dan O’Brien, Dic Edwards, Ed Kemp, Molly Davies, Torben Betts, Bekah Brunstetter and Ella Hickson amongst others.
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company, led by producers Jenny King and Matthew Gale, is a partnership between seven UK regional theatres and is financed both by box office income and a grant from the ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND STRATEGIC TOURING FUND. The TCTC tours two productions a year and is establishing a policy of supporting contemporary adaptations of well known books with themes of relevance for today. It is forming links with literacy projects around the country as each production has an affiliated writing project run from its resources website THEATRE CLOUD. The TCTC also delivers an audience development programme aimed at reaching diverse communities around their partner venues with the specific aim of making connections between the themes of our productions and potential audiences. Jenny King had tried to acquire the rights to BRAVE NEW WORLD for four years driven by her belief in its extraordinary prescience and topicality.