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Sheffield Theatres’ Democracy transfers to Old Vic

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MICHAEL Frayn’s gripping cold war drama, Democracy, has extended its run at the Old Vic by two weeks – until July 28, 2012.

Previously Posted: Sheffield Theatres’ production of Democracy, Michael Frayn’s gripping cold-war drama, is transferring to the Old Vic, where it runs from June 20 (previews from June 15) to July 14, 2012.

Described as a witty and intriguing play, Democracy is about the geopolitical ambitions of an inspirational politician and the forces in play around him, exploring the Machiavellian nature of coalition government.

West German Chancellor Willy Brandt – one of the most charismatic leaders in post-war politics – makes history as he starts to reunite Europe; but he discovers things aren’t as straightforward as they seem when a spy is uncovered in his office and his plans are thrown into chaos.

Paul Miller, Associate Director of Sheffield Theatres, directs a cast that includes Andrew Bridgmont, David Cann, Patrick Drury, Richard Hope, William Hoyland, Ed Hughes, David Mallinson, Aidan McArdle, James Quinn and Rupert Vansittart.

Democracy received its premiere at the National Theatre in 2003, winning the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Best Play awards.

The current revival, first seen at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield as part of the celebrated Michael Frayn season, marks the first London transfer under Daniel Evans’ tenure as Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director in this the Crucible’s 40 anniversary year.

Michael Frayn said: “All three of the productions that Sheffield Theatres did of my plays earlier this year were terrific. I’m so pleased that at any rate one of them, Paul Miller’s Democracy, has found a London home – if only because I so much want to see it again myself. And a particular pleasure to have it at The Old Vic, still warm from their Noises Off.”

And Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director of The Old Vic, said: “I am delighted that we are continuing our relationship with Michael Frayn following the great experience we’ve had together with Noises Off. Michael’s work is compelling and we’re excited now to work with Daniel Evans and Sheffield Theatres to bring their terrific production of Democracy to a wider audience.”

Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on The Guardian and The Observer. His plays include the multi award-winning Noises Off, which is currently at the Novello Theatre after transferring from The Old Vic, Copenhagen, Afterlife, Benefactors and Donkeys’ Years.

His book, My Father’s Fortune: A Life, was published by Faber & Faber in September 2010 and shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Biography Award and winner of the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2011. His novel, Spies, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize (2002) and won the Whitbread Award for Fiction (2002). And Headlong was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize, the Whitbread Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction.

His other novels include Towards the End of the Morning, The Trick of It, A Landing on the Sun, The Tin Men, Now You Know, Sweet Dreams and Skios, which has just been published by Faber & Faber.

Paul Miller’s work includes True West and Hamlet (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Elling (Bush Theatre and Trafalgar Studios), Baby Girl/DNA/The Miracle, The Enchantment, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads and The Associate (National Theatre), The History Boys (West End and Ahmanson Theater LA) and Total Eclipse (Menier Chocolate Factory).

Democracy is designed by Simon Daw, with lighting by Mark Doubleday and music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham.

For more information and to book tickets call the box office on 0844 871 7628 or visit

The Duchess of Malfi continues at the Old Vic until June 9, 2012.