Casting And Dates Announced For ‘The Divide’ At The Old Vic

The Old Vic today gives a sneak preview of what’s to come in 2018 at The Old Vic during its bicentenary.

The Divide, a new play by Alan Ayckbourn, will open at The Old Vic on 3 February 2018 with previews from 30 January 2018, following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer.

The Divide is a tale that unflinchingly explores a dystopian society of repression, insurrection and forbidden love. The show, presented in two parts, is directed by Annabel Bolton, an Associate Director of The Old Vic.

The Divide is set in the aftermath of a deadly contagion which, a century from now, has decimated the English population and rendered contact between men and women fatal. Under the dictates of an elusive Preacher, an unthinkable solution is enforced. Separated by the Divide, the adult survivors are segregated by gender, as men wear white as a mark of their purity, and women – still infected – are clothed in black as a sign of their sin.

Brother and sister Elihu (Jake Davies) and Soween (Erin Doherty) grow up learning the ways of their tightly controlled society. As they begin to glimpse the cracks in the system, Elihu falls for Giella (Weruche Opia), the daughter of two radical mothers, risking fatal disease and threatening to ignite a bloody revolution. The Divide is a vision of a dystopian future defined by brutal repression and forbidden love.

The Divide runs at the King’s Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival over a two-week run (8 August to 20 August 2017) before opening at The Old Vic in January 2018. The Old Vic has a long history with the International Festival, having performed at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and many times in the following decade. This collaboration with EIF is the first of several brokered by The Old Vic to mark the bicentenary of the theatre in 2018.

Matthew Warchus says

‘Alan Ayckbourn is of course famous for his domestic tragi-comedies. It is perhaps overlooked the extent to which he is a great and perpetual experimenter with form. He has plays which run backward through time, where an exit from one play becomes an entrance into another, where one beginning has sixteen possible endings, even plays which take place simultaneously on two different stages. Now as he turns 78 he delivers an extraordinary piece of writing which arguably may not even be a play – The Divide – described on its title page as “a dramatic narrative for voices”.

The Old Vic was in residence 70 years ago at the very first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and The Old Vic celebrates its 200th birthday in 2018 and it’s with great pleasure and hugely fitting that we celebrate our respective milestones by collaborating again to co-produce the world premiere of Alan’s ambitious and exciting new work, The Divide.’

Clare Burt plays Hork. Her recent theatre credits include Flowers for Mrs Harris (Sheffield Crucible) for which she received the 2016 UK Theatre Award, Sunspots (Hampstead Theatre) A Streetcar Named Desire (Young Vic) and the role of Jan in the National Theatre production of London Road and in the film adaptation. Other theatre credits include The Miracle, DNA, Babygirl, Coram Boy, Sunday in the Park with George (National Theatre), Game (Almeida), Vernon God Little (Young Vic), Into the Woods, Company, Nine (Donmar Warehouse), Now You Know (Metropolitan Room New York/Pizza on the Park) and The Hired Man (Astoria theatre). Recent on-screen work includes the new ITV series Tina and Bobby and the short film Failure to Thrive.

Jake Davies plays Elihu. His recent theatre credits include Beautiful Thing (Arts Theatre), Barbarians (Soho Theatre), Yen (Royal Court/Manchester Royal Exchange), Friend or Foe, The Good Person of Szechuan (Mercury Theatre Colchester) and Something For The Winter (Southwark Playhouse). Television credits include Black Mirror, The Missing II, Silent Witness, Cyber Bully, A Mother’s Son, Call the Midwife, Holby City and Bad Education. Film work includes Ghost Stories, Pregnant Pause, X+Y, Leave to Remain and Vengeance.

Erin Doherty plays Soween. Her theatre credits include Lights Out (Royal Court) Wish List (Royal Court/Manchester Royal Exchange), Junkyard, The Glass Menagerie (UK Tour) Who Cares (The Lowry) and Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic). She is best known for her role in the television series Call the Midwife.

Thusitha Jayasundera plays Kest. Her theatre credits include Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Crime and Punishment, War Horse, Caucasian Chalk Circle (National Theatre), Tiger Country (Hampstead Theatre), Marine Parade (English Touring Theatre), A Day at the Racists (Finborough Theatre), Dreams of Violence (Out of Joint), Twelfth Night (Young Vic), The Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus and Pentecost (RSC). Television work includes Doctor Foster, Broadchurch, The C Word, Lewis, Above Suspicion: Red Dahlia and Silent Scream. Film work includes Diana and Signal to Noise.

Richard Katz plays Conrad. His recent theatre credits include The Encounter (Broadway/International Tour), Richard II and Nell Gwynn (Shakespeare’s Globe), War Horse, Measure for Measure, The Wind in the Willows (National Theatre), Silence, Romeo and Juliet and The Morte D’Arthur (RSC). His recent television credits include Taboo, Crossing Lines, Honourable Woman, MI High, Rome and Green Wing. Film credits include The Infiltrator, Dance of a Killer, Guardian of the Galaxy and Measure for Measure.

Joanne McGuiness plays Axi. Her theatre credits include Spuds (Oran Mor), Snow White and the Seven Wee Muppets (Websters Theatre, Glasgow), Dragon, Glasgow Girls (National Theatre of Scotland/Citizen’s Theatre) and Peter Pan (King’s Theatre, Glasgow). Film credits include The Wee Man, Zombie Musical and Going Viral.

Sophie Melville plays Sassa. Theatre credits include Low Level Panic (Orange Tree Theatre), Blackbird (The Other Room Theatre), Insignificance (Theatr Clwyd), Iphigenia in Splott (Sherman Theatre/National Theatre/ UK Tour) and Romeo and Juliet (Sherman Theatre). Film work includes Cupidity and Telling Tales and television work includes The Missing II.

Clare Lawrence Moody plays Desollia. Her theatre credits include Home Chat (Finborough Theatre), The Distance (Orange Tree Theatre), Love Games (Chichester Festival Theatre), Mary Shelley (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Oxford Playhouse) and Fram (National Theatre). Her television includes Holby City, EastEnders, Ultimate Force, Bad Girls, Longitude, This Could Be the Last Time and Harry. Film credits include Pride.

Weruche Opia plays Giella. Theatre credits include The Trial (Young Vic), Liberian Girl (Royal Court), The Waiting Room, For Coloured Girls, The Inheritors (National Theatre Nigeria) and Shakespeare Sonnets (Shakespeare’s Globe). On-screen she is best known for playing Cleopatra in the television series and film Bad Education. Other television credits include Inside No.9, Banana, Suspects, Top Boy and The Bill. Film work also includes When Love Happens.

Martin Quinn plays Fergo. A recent graduate from Guildhall School of Music & Drama, his recent theatre credits include Let The Right One In (Dundee Rep, Royal Court, Apollo). His television credits include Limmy’s Show. Letty Thomas (Ensemble) is a recent graduate from RADA where her theatre credits include Strange Orchestra, A Little Night Music, Girls and Dolls, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Man of Mode, The Oresteia, King Lear, Men and Seeing Double.

Sian Thomas plays Older Soween. Her extensive theatre credits include The Cherry Orchard, Eldorado, Small Craft Warnings (Arcola Theatre), Platinum, Blue Heart Afternoon, The Glass Room (Hampstead Theatre), Welcome Home Captain Fox, Richard II (Donmar Warehouse), The Trial (Young Vic) Passion Play (West End), Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith) and many productions for the National Theatre and RSC. Television credits include Atlantis, New Tricks, Merlin, The Royal Bodyguard, Lewis, Ruby in the Smoke and Holby City. Film work includes Harry Potter, Finding Your Feet, War Machine, Vanity Fair and Rose Red.

Finty Williams plays Chayza. Her recent theatre credits include The Vote (The Donmar Warehouse/More 4), Macbeth, The Lightning Child, Bedlam (Shakespeare’s Globe), Volcano (Vaudeville), Luise Miller (Donmar Warehouse), Twelfth Night (National Theatre), and Bedroom Farce (Rose Theatre, Kingston/Duke of York’s). Her television credits include Doc Martin, Cranford – series 1 and 2, Born and Bred, Tales From The Crypt and The Torch, and film credits include Delicious, The Good Night, Ladies in Lavender, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Gosford Park, North West One, Mrs Brown, Dame Flora, The Secret Rapture and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Alan Ayckbourn. 2017 marks Alan’s 56th year as a theatre director and his 58th as a playwright. His work has been translated into over 35 languages, and has been performed on stage and television throughout the world. He is perhaps best known for his plays Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. In 2009, he retired as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, a post he held for 37 years and where almost all his plays have been and continue to be first staged. Since 2005 he and the SJT company have been regular visitors to the Brits-off-Broadway Festival at 59E59 Theatres New York, where his work always attracts uniformly excellent reviews. Later this year he will direct a revival of his and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s By Jeeves, as well as the premiere of his latest play, A Brief History of Women, at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Alan received the 2016 Oxford Literary Festival’s Honorary Fellowship and in recent years he has been inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre.

Annabel Bolton is an Associate Director of The Old Vic. Annabel has directed and produced many high profile events both in the UK and USA. She is currently directing The Divide which opens at Edinburgh International Festival this summer, before transferring to The Old Vic. Previous credits as director include Future Conditional (Co-Director with Matthew Warchus, The Old Vic), Love Story (Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia), 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala, Scenes from Romeo and Juliet with West Side Story, Variety Nights at The Old Vic and many workshops. Credits as Associate Director include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Sam Mendes, Hay Fever for Howard Davies, Million Dollar Quartet for Eric Schaeffer, Love Story for Rachel Kavanaugh, Deathtrap and La Bête for Matthew Warchus, Backbeat for Iain Softley (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), The Norman Conquests for Matthew Warchus (The Old Vic and on Broadway); Complicit for Kevin Spacey (The Old Vic); Speed-the-Plow for Matthew Warchus (Recklinghausen, Germany). Assistant Director: The Lord of the Rings and Stones in His Pockets (UK tour). Film credits include Music Coordinator for Pride and for television Up the Women (BBC workshop).

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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