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Regeneration - Richmond Theatre and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PAT Barker’s Booker-nominated novel, Regeneration, has been adapted for the stage by Olivier Award-winning playwright Nicholas Wright and, in August, receives its world premiere at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton prior to a national tour that visits Richmond Theatre from October 28 to November 1, 2014.

Regeneration is a war saga in which not a shot is fired, but where battles are fought for the minds of men.

Marking the centenary of the start of the First World War, Regeneration is described as a compellingly compassionate look at war and the devastating after effect it had on a generation of young men. It examines the insanity of war with shocking clarity, and is a powerful anthem for the youth of the First World War and the lives of young soldiers today.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. Siegfried Sassoon, July 1917.

Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland 1917. Poet and soldier Siegfried Sassoon has been institutionalised in an attempt to undermine his public disapproval of the war. His Army Psychiatrist, Dr William Rivers, has been tasked with returning shell-shocked officers to the trenches, yet under Sassoon’s influence, has become tormented by the morality of what is being done in the name of medicine.

The cast comprises Stephen Boxer (as Captain Rivers), Christopher Brandon (Robert Graves), Simon Coates (Yealland/Anderson), Tim Delap (Siegfried Sassoon), Joshua Higgott (Campbell), David Morley Hale (Callan), Jack Monaghan (Billy Prior), Garmon Rhys (Wilfred Owen) and Lindy Whiteford (Nurse Rogers).

A co-production between the Touring Consortium Theatre Company and leading regional producing theatre, Royal & Derngate Northampton, Regeneration is directed by Simon Godwin, with design by Alex Eales, lighting by Lee Curran, music by Stuart Earl, sound by George Dennis, and movement by Struan Leslie.

Pat Barker was born in 1943. Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy, comprising Regeneration (1991), which was made into a film of the same name, The Eye in the Door (1993), which won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road (1995), which won the Booker Prize. Her more recent novels include Another World, Border Crossing, Double Vision and Toby’s Room. She lives in Durham.

Nicholas Wright’s plays include Treetops and One Fine Day (Riverside Studios), The Gorky Brigade (Royal Court), The Crimes of Vautrin (Joint Stock), The Custom of the Country and The Desert Air (RSC), Cressida (Almeida Theatre at the Albery) and Mrs. Klein, Vincent in Brixton (Olivier Award 2003), The Reporter and Travelling Light (National Theatre). His play A Human Being Died That Night, based on the book by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, was produced at Hampstead in 2012 and 2014 and is scheduled to play at BAM in New York in the Spring of 2015

His adaptations include Philip Pullman’s three-book cycle His Dark Materials (National Theatre) and The Last of the Duchess, adapted from the book by Caroline Blackwood (Hampstead Theatre). His versions of Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman and Chekhov’s Three Sisters were presented at the National Theatre, while his versions of Pirandello’s Naked and Wedekind’s Lulu were produced by the Almeida.

As well as Richmond, the tour will visit York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool.

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