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Our Town - King's Head Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THORNTON Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Our Town is to get its official 75th anniversary UK production – its first major London revival in a generation – at the King’s Head Theatre, where it runs from Wednesday, June 26 to Saturday, July 20, 2013.

Wilder’s best known and much loved play, Our Town is set in the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners and tells the story of an average town’s citizens through their everyday lives.

And in a move that was truly groundbreaking when the play premiered, it is performed without a set and the actors mime their actions without the use of any props, conjuring up a complete world through just a handful of chairs and ladders.

Another stage first was to use the character of the Stage Manager as an actual narrator, breaking the Fourth Wall to address the audience directly.

Since winning the 1938 Pulitzer Prize, this seminal American play has been performed somewhere in the United States every day. Wilder himself played the Stage Manager on Broadway and over the years this pivotal role has been played by actors as diverse as Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra (in a 1955 musical adaptation of the play), Hal Holbrook, Paul Newman, Helen Hunt, Michael McKean and Michael Shannon.

This new London production is being directed by Off-West End Award nominee Tim Sullivan and follows his acclaimed double-bill of two classic Thornton Wilder one-act plays, The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long Christmas Dinner at the King’s Head Theatre in December 2012.

In 2012, Sullivan also directed an earlier version of Our Town, which led to an offer to re-stage it at the King’s Head Theatre in 2013 and the endorsement of the Thornton Wilder estate, who have chosen this new production to be a part of its 75th anniversary celebration alongside high-profile American regional theatres including Ford’s Theatre in Washington, the Huntington Theatre in Boston, and the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.

Our Town features a cast assembled from ten different countries, thereby underscoring the true universality of the piece. The line up includes Giovanni Bienne, Sam Child, Stewart Clegg, Simon Dobson, Ben Z. Fuiava, Cristina Haraba, Siu-see Hung, Dylan Lincoln, Princess McDonnough, Tamarin McGinley, Alex Nasmyth, Andres Ortiz, Zoë Swenson-Graham and Rita Walters.

Produced by Savio(u)r Theatre Company in association with the King’s Head Theatre, Our Town is designed by Neil Gordon.

Tickets: £10 to £25 – available from the box office on 020 7478 0160 or online at www.kingsheadtheatre.org/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.15pm, Sunday at 3pm. Extra matinee on Saturday, July 20 at 2pm.

Also at the King’s Head Theatre: Liz Lochhead’s Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated American play Boys’ Life, by Howard Korder.