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Labour of Love - Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire star at the Noel Coward Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Michael Grandage Company and Headlong are presenting the world première of James Graham’s new play, Labour of Love, at the Noel Coward Theatre. Starring Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire as Labour MPs with differing priorities, it runs from September 15 to December 2, 2017.

Labour MP David Lyons cares about modernisation and “electability”, his constituency agent, Jean Whittaker cares about principles and her community. Set away from Westminster in the party’s traditional northern heartlands, this is a clash of philosophy, culture and class against the backdrop of the Labour Party over a 25 year period.

Martin Freeman was last seen in the West End in 2014 in Jamie Lloyd’s production of Richard III at Trafalgar Studios. His other theatre credits include the critically accclaimed Clybourne Park and Kathy Burke’s Kosher Harry (Royal Court) and Toby Whithouse’s Blue Eyes and Heels (Soho Theatre).

Freeman is also known for his screen roles in The Office, Sherlock, The Hobbit film trilogy (as Bilbo Baggins), Fargo, Love Actually, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Nativity!

Sarah Lancashire is well known for her television work – in Coronation Street (as Raquel Wolstenhulme), Where the Heart Is, Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley, for which she received a BAFTA Award. She was also nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance in the new musical Betty Blue Eyes, which played at the Novello Theatre in 2011. Her other theatre credits include Guys and Dolls (as Miss Adelaide), Blood Brothers, Little Shop of Horrors and Educating Rita.

Writer James Graham’s credits include Ink which premieres at the Almeida Theatre in June, The Vote (Donmar Warehouse), the musical Finding Neverland (Broadway), Privacy (Donmar Warehouse/New York) and the Olivier Award-nominated This House (National Theatre/West End).

Labour of Love is directed by Jeremy Herrin, who previously worked with James Graham on This House, and has set and costume design by Lee Newby, lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Paul Arditti.

Half a Sixpence continues at the Noel Coward Theatre until September 2, 2017.