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Flowers of the Forest - Sophie Ward leads cast

Flowers of The Forest

Casting news

FILM, television and stage actress Sophie Ward will lead the cast for the eightieth anniversary production of John van Druten’s Flowers of the Forest, which runs at Jermyn Street Theatre from September 25 (previews from September 23) to October 18, 2014.

1934 – A nation still suffering from the effects of the last war is looking for ways to avoid another.

Bedford Square, London. In their beautiful and tasteful home, Naomi and Lewis Jacklin live a contented, if unromantic, life of luxury. But when her disapproving sister Mercia arrives unexpectedly one evening with some of Naomi’s old belongings, memories of the past, long since forgotten, flicker to life.

Flashback to a vicarage in Sussex in October 1914, and a final dinner before the men leave for conflict…

Flowers of the Forest is a timely reminder of the brutal effects of war and the fragility of peace.

Directed by Anthony Biggs, the play is a time-shift work, switching from the beginnings of the first major conflict of the Twentieth Century to the period after – a time of reflection, with wounds still raw and the commitment to “never again” still strong.

Flowers of the Forest explores themes of memory, loss and enduring love within a context of a world learning from past mistakes and searching for peaceful solutions as storm clouds gather once again on the horizon.

John Van Drutten was one of the most popular playwrights of the inter-war and early post-war periods and was best known for his works Bell, Book and Candle, which was later made into a film starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, and his adaptation of Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood – I am a Camera. His other work includes Young Woodley and London Wall> as well as the screenplay for the film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton and Angela Lansbury.

Although Sophie Ward is perhaps best known for the film Young Sherlock Holmes directed by Barry Levison, she has also appeared on screen in Out of Bounds, Book of Blood, Return To Oz, Little Dorrit and The Haunting of Julia (film); Holby City (as Sophie Byrne) and the acclaimed mini-series A Dark Adapted Eye with Helena Bonham Carter (TV).

Her stage work includes seasons at Glasgow Citizens Theatre in which she notably starred as Ophelia in Hamlet, Amanda in Private Lives and Queen Elizabeth in Don Carlos.

Anthony Biggs became Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre in January 2013. His previous productions at the venue include the recent South African Season, The Potsdam Quartet, the UK premiere of Ibsen’s St John’s Night, Charles Morgan’s The River Line, Ibsen’s Little Eyolf and the recent revival of Frederick Lonsdale’s On Approval.

Completing the cast of Flowers of the Forest are Patrick Drury, Victoria Rigby, Mark Straker, Gareth McLeod, Debra Penny, Max Wilson, Alwyne Taylor, Gabriel Vick and Daniel Fine.

Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd, Flowers of the Forest is designed by Victoria Johnstone, with lighting by Charlie Lucas and sound by Gareth McLeod.

Tickets: £22, £18 concessions. Earlybird offer: all tickets £17 if booked before September 8. To book, call the box office on 0207 287 2875 or visit www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3.30pm.

Flowers of the Forest is part of Jermyn Street Theatre’s Autumn 2014 season.