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Clarion - Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks reprise their roles at the Arcola

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING an acclaimed, sell-out run in April, Critics’ Circle award-winner Greg Hicks and three-time Olivier award-winner Clare Higgins will reprise their starring roles in Mark Jagasia’s Clarion, which returns to the Arcola Theatre from Tuesday, October 20 to Saturday, November 14, 2015.

All the original cast are returning for the four-week season, when 500 seats at just £10 will be available.

Previously Posted: Check out some photos of Clare Higgins, Greg Hicks and other cast members in our Clarion Rehearsal Gallery.

Previously Posted: Acclaimed British actors Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks will star in the world premiere of Clarion, which plays a 5-week season at Arcola Theatre from Wednesday, April 15 to Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Written by Mark Jagasia, who worked as a journalist for several Fleet Street newspapers, this urgent black comedy about free speech, nationalism and the state of the British media in 2015, is set in the office of Britain’s worst newspaper, the Daily Clarion.

Mehmet Ergen will direct a cast that also includes Peter Bourke, Jim Bywater, Jim Dunkley, Laura Smithers and Ryan Wichert.

Morris Honeyspoon (Greg Hicks), the Clarion’s egomaniacal editor, spends his weekends dressed as Julius Caesar, and at work he rules like a tyrant. But life at his beloved paper is a masterclass in incompetence and deceit. As political storm clouds gather over an uneasy country, it seems the paper’s worst crimes are about to be exposed. With Honeyspoon frantically searching for an office traitor, washed-up foreign correspondent Verity Stokes (Clare Higgins) masterminds a murderous day of reckoning…

Mark Jagasia’s debut play shines a dazzling light on the dark heart of our democracy. Its themes of rising nationalism and political turbulence are powerfully relevant in this general election year.

Clare Higgins has just co-starred with Glenn Close on Broadway in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. She has been nominated six times as Best Actress in the Olivier Awards and won three times – for Vincent in Brixton, Sweet Bird of Youth and Hecuba. She was twice named Best Actress in the London Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, for her performances in Vincent in Brixton and The Children’s Hour and Sweet Bird of Youth.

For Vincent in Brixton, she also won the Evening Standard Best Actress Award, was nominated for the Best Actress Tony Award and in 2003, won the Theatre World Award for outstanding major Broadway debut.

Her screen credits include the Philip Pullman adaptation The Golden Compass; Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream; Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont; Stage Beauty; House of Mirth; Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Downton Abbey; Shameless and Parade’s End.

Last year, she co-starred with Paul McGann in a special online episode of Doctor Who, The Night of the Doctor, which preceded the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor – as Ohila, a member of the Sisterhood of Karn who help the Doctor regenerate into his next incarnation, John Hurt. She will return to Doctor Who in the two-part season 9 opening episodes this autumn.

Higgins said: “Mark’s play is blisteringly funny, brilliantly written but also a huge wake-up call, examining the underbelly of life in the newsrooms of our national press. Verity is a terrific role and as soon as I read it I didn’t want anyone else but me playing her!”

Greg Hicks has been a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company since 1976. He was nominated for the Best Actor Olivier Award, and won Best Shakespearian Performance at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, for playing the title role in Coriolanus at the Old Vic. Leading RSC roles include the title roles in King Lear and Macbeth and Brutus in Julius Caesar. He also played Orestes in The Oresteia at the National Theatre and Christ in Steven Berkoff’s Messiah at the Old Vic.

He is returning to Arcola Theatre for the first time since playing Dr Thomas Stockmann in Mehmet Ergen’s 2008 production of An Enemy of the People.

Hicks said: “The language is electric, savage and provocative. The combination of returning to the Arcola, and finding a script of this calibre, is all I can ask for as an actor.”

Mark Jagasia is a former staff journalist on the Evening Standard, a former showbusiness editor of the Daily Express and a contributor to other newspapers including the Guardian and Sunday Telegraph. He is originally from Bolton but has lived in London for the past 20 years. Clarion is his first stage-play.

Jagasia said: “I’m remarkably privileged to have stars of the calibre of Greg Hicks and Clare Higgins bringing these characters to life. For a debut play, it’s dream come true stuff”.

And director Mehmet Ergen said: “As we’re rehearsing Clarion, my production of Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre is playing downstairs. One confronts the state of the British media; the other the state of modern warfare. Both are vital world premieres. As the election looms, I’m proud that Arcola Theatre is tackling big political questions with daring political plays.”

Clarion will be designed by Anthony Lamble, with lighting by David Howe and music and sound by Neil McKeown.

Read more about Arcola’s Winter/Spring 2015 season.