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Our Country’s Good - discover the secrets of the rehearsal process

Our Country’s Good

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MAX Stafford-Clark, Artistic Director of Out of Joint, is inviting audiences to attend rehearsals for his new production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s modern classic Our Country’s Good, which tours the UK this autumn and plays London’s new St James Theatre in early 2013.

For three weeks between July 31 and August 18, 2012, audiences will have the chance to discover the secrets of the rehearsal process. These open rehearsals (which constitute the first three weeks of a five week process) will take place at Out of Joint’s base in Finsbury Park.

Max Stafford-Clark said:

“Opening rehearsals up for Our Country’s Good will give the public the chance to discover what is normally a very secret process and will be of value to students and aficionados. It also allows my company, Out of Joint, the chance to raise money for the production after a cut in funding last year. I think it will be very interesting for both the audience and cast, who normally have until first preview before appearing in front of audiences.”

Tickets: £6 a session and £12 for three. To book, call 020 7609 0207 or email, and for more information visit

Previously Posted: Max Stafford-Clark, Artistic Director of Out of Joint, will revisit Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Olivier Award-winning play, Our Country’s Good, in a new production touring the UK this autumn.

Looking at the first British convict colony to land in Australia, Our Country’s Good will launch at the Octagon Theatre Bolton on September 3, 2012, before eventually visiting London’s newest venue, St James Theatre, from Wednesday, January 30 to Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Australia 1789: A boat full of murderers, thieves and marine officers arrive on a distant shore. Cast out from their native land, and forced to build a new country, the convicts and their jailers quickly learn that the shadow of home is never far away.

In the midst of this, an ambitious young lieutenant, Ralph Clark, is set the task of directing a cast of dispirited convicts in the Restoration comedy The Recruiting Officer.

But with growing suspicion from his fellow officers, just two copies of the script, his leading lady facing the gallows, and an uncontrollable passion for one of his convict players, Ralph’s – and Australia’s – first theatre production is in trouble from the start.

Timberlake Wertenbaker was commissioned to write a play that would complement a revival of George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer. The result, Our Country’s Good, premiered at The Royal Court in 1998 under its then Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark.

Depicting true events, and based on Thomas Keneally’s best selling novel The Playmaker, Our Country’s Good received great critical acclaim, transferring to the West End and Broadway and winning the Olivier Award for Play of the Year and the New York Drama Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.

Timberlake Wertenbaker is renowned as an experimental dramatist, adaptor, translator, and radio dramatist. Her plays include The Third, Abel’s Sister, The Grace of Mary Traverse, Our Country’s Good, The Love of the Nightingale, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, After Darwin, Galileo’s Daughter, Jenufa and The Line.

Her translations and adaptations include Marivaux’s False Admissions, Sophocles’ The Thebans, Euripides’ Hecuba, De Filippo’s Filumena and Anouilh’s Wild Orchards.

The tour will also visit Birmingham, Aberystwyth, Cheltenham, Southampton, Oxford, The Hague, Watford, Leeds and Cambridge.