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Tom Stoppard's Arcadia to tour in 2015

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ENGLISH Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Brighton Productions have announced the first major tour of Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece, Arcadia, since the originl production.

The new production, directed by Blanche McIntyre, will open at the Theatre Royal Brighton on January 30, 2015 before touring the UK.

In a stately home in 19th Century rural Derbyshire, secret desires and professional rivalries take hold of the residents of Sidley park as Thomasina, a talented pupil, makes a startling discovery well ahead of her time, whilst in the present day academics Hannah and Bernard attempt to piece together the fragments of truth that tell her story.

Arcadia explores the delicate relationship between past and present, blending history with actuality as the focus drifts from 1809 to now, and back again.

Arcadia, which received its world premiere at the National Theatre in 1993, is often hailed as one of the greatest plays of the last century, winning countless awards including the 1993 Olivier Award and the 1995 Tony Award for Best Play.

Recently, Arcadia was voted one of the nation’s top five plays in English Touring Theatre’s ‘My Favourite Play’ poll, which was conducted to mark the company’s 21st Birthday celebrations.

The production, announced at a special visit by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to the Theatre Royal Brighton, will be one of the first to benefit from the new Theatre Tax Relief. The relief will provide an additional corporation tax deduction, or payable tax credit, worth up to 25% of qualifying expenditure for touring production such as Arcadia.

Tom Stoppard said:

“I’m delighted that a new tour of Arcadia, directed by the young, visionary Blanche McIntrye, is to take place next year reaching audiences across the UK. The current challenges for regional theatre in the UK mean that a production of this scale and quality are very rarely toured. I welcome the news that a new tour of Arcadia is to be one of the very first to take advantage of the new funding incentives for touring live performance which was launched today and has directly helped realise the ambitious vision of this tour.”

And Rachel Tackley, Director of English Touring Theatre, said:

“It is an incredible thrill and honour to tour a new production of this much loved play by Tom Stoppard – the first time its been toured throughout the UK since its original production nearly 20 years ago. The introduction of a theatre tax relief, without which this production simply wouldn’t happen, is an important and significant investment that will see a healthy and positive impact on the national arts community.”

This production will mark a new collaboration between Theatre Royal Brighton Productions (Dandy Dick, Blue Orange), English Touring Theatre (Translations, Ghosts, The Misanthrope) and multi award-winning Blanche McIntyre, hailed by critics as the one of the hottest new directors in the UK, with recent plays including Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare’s Globe, The Seagull (winning best director at the UK Theatre Awards 2013) and English Touring Theatre’s Tonight at 8.30.

Full tour dates and casting have yet to be announced.

To book tickets for the Brighton dates (January 30 to February 7, 2015) call 0844 871 7650 or visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-brighton/.