The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
A Co-production with Headlong Theatre - European Premiere

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Ticket prices: £6 - £29.5
Fri 28 Mar 2008 - Sat 10 May 2008

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a wildly funny court-room drama in which history's most infamous betrayal is dissected by forces of good and evil. In a court room that owes as much to the ghetto to the Gospels, figures such as Pontius Pilate, Mother Teresa and Sigmund Freud are called to testify in a trial of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth versus Judas Iscariot.

Stephen Adly Guirgis is best known for his critically acclaimed Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (Donmar Warehouse,West End and Off-Broadway), and In Arabia We'd All Be Kings (Hampstead Theatre). Adly Guirgis is a longtime member of Philip Seymour Hoffman's New York LAByrinth Theatre Company.

This production reunites Olivier Award Winning director Rupert Goold with the creative team behind 2007's sell-out West End Macbeth featuring Patrick Stewart. Goold won the 2007 Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Best Director awards for Macbeth.

Visit Headlong Theatre website   

Download the production programme as a PDF document

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The Cast
Photo of actor Shane Attwooll

Shane Attwooll - Butch Honeywell

Shane Attwooll’s theatre credits include Glengarry Glen Ross for the Apollo Theatre, Death of A Salesman for the Lyric Theatre, Franco’s Bastard and Past Away for Sgript Cymru, Happy Days and Stand By Your Man on UK tour, and Porgy and Bess for the Royal Opera House. His television work includes Foyle’s War, The Ghost Squad, Midsomer Murders, The Commander, Spooks, Nuts and Bolts and The Bill. His film credits span work including Kingdom of Heaven, This Filthy Earth, Clean Sheets, and Porgy and Bess.
Photo of actress Amanda Boxer


Amanda Boxer - Henrietta Iscariot


Amanda Boxer’s theatre credits include The Pain And The Itch and The Strip for the Royal Court, The Arab Israeli Cookbook for the Tricycle Theatre and Gate Theatre, The Merchant of Venice, Othello and The Importance of Being Earnest for the Young Vic, Macbeth for the Arcola Theatre, The Graduate for the Gielgud Theatre, and The Pixie-Led at the Judith Anderson Theater, New York, as well as extensive regional theatre work. Her television credits include Trial and Retribution (No's III and VII), Death in a White Tie, Casualty, Cider With Rosie, and Sense and Sensibility. Her film work includes Bad Behaviour, United ’93, and Saving Private Ryan.

Photo of actor Ron Cephas Jones

Ron Cephas Jones - Pontius Pilate/Uncle Pino
 
Ron Cephas Jones appeared in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped the A Train at the Donmar Warehouse, on the West End and in New York. He has worked extensively in US theatre productions including Two Trains Running for the Signature Theatre, Richard III for NYSF Public Theatre, and Our Lady of 121st Street for LAByrinth at the Union Square Theatre. His television credits include Raisin in the Sun, Lipstick Jungle, NYPD Blue and Law & Order. His film work includes Across The Universe, Half Nelson, Sweet & Lowdown, and He Got Game.
Photo of actor Josh Cohen


Josh Cohen - Sigmund Freud/Saint Thomas


Josh Cohen has previously appeared on tour with the Almeida in A Chaste Maid In Cheapside in 2002. His other theatre credits include Into the Hoods for Sadler’s Wells, What We Did To Weinstein for the Menier Chocolate Factory, Phallacy for The King’s Head, and The Graduate and Rent in the West End. He has appeared in The Murder Rooms for the BBC, and several films including Fire, The Campaign, and The Lost Batallion.

Photo of actress Dona Croll

Dona Croll - Gloria/Mother Teresa
 
Dona Croll has previously appeared at the Almeida playing Mona in the 2004 production of Two Step. Her other theatre credits include Christ of Coldharbour Lane for Soho Theatre, Elmina’s Kitchen for the National Theatre, Back Pay for the Royal Court, Victor & The Ladies and Smile Orange, for the Tricycle Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company’s production of Anthony and Cleopatra (playing Cleopatra). Her television work includes Silent Witness, Doctor Who, Bremner, Bird and Fortune, and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence. Her film credits include Mammoth, Eastern Promise, Manderlay, I Could Never Be Your Woman and Tube Tales: Rosebud.
Photo of actor Gawn Grainger

Gawn Grainger - Caiaphas The Elder/Saint Matthew
 
Gawn Grainger has previously appeared at the Almeida in Party Time, Mountain Language and No Man’s Land. His other theatre credits include You Can’t Take It With You for Southwark Playhouse, Amy’s View for the Theatre Royal, Bath, The Crucible for the Comedy Theatre, Fool for Love at the Donmar Warehouse, and The Seagull, The Misanthrope, and The Passion for the National Theatre. His film credits include Christmas Carol, Little Drummer Girl and Blood Royal. His extensive television work includes Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War and Dalziel and Pascoe.
Photo of actor Douglas Henshall


Douglas Henshall - Satan
 
Douglas Henshall can currently be seen as Professor Nick Cutter in ITV’s science-fiction series Primeval. His theatre credits include The Cryptogram for the Donmar Warehouse, Death of a Salesman at the Lyric Theatre, Darwin in Malibu for Hampstead Theatre, The Crucible for Sheffield Theatres, The Coast of Utopia for the National Theatre, American Buffalo for the Young Vic and The Relapse for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  His film credits include the soon to be released The French Film, Flying Lessons, It’s All About Love and Ripley Underground.  His other television credits include The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, Dalziel and Pascoe and Frances Tuesday. 

Photo of actor Edward Hogg

Edward Hogg - Jesus of Nazareth
 
Edward Hogg's theatre credits include The Dybbuk at the King's Head Theatre, Noises Off, Cressida, and Our Country’s Good for the Young Vic, Rock ‘n Roll for the Royal Court and in the West End, Measure For Measure, The Tempest, and The Storm for The Globe, The Pillowman for the National Theatre, and Woyzeck performed at The Gate and St Anne’s Warehouse, Brooklyn. On television he has appeared in Doctors, The Bermuda Triangle: Beneath The Waves, Celeb, and Heartbeat, whilst his film credits include White Lightnin’ , Alfie, and Nicholas Nickleby. He has recorded several dramas for Radio 4.
Photo of actor Corey Johnson

Corey Johnson - Judge/Soldier
 
Corey Johnson has previously performed at the Almeida as Andy in Aunt Dan and Lemon in 1999. His other extensive theatre work includes The Prayer For My Daughter for the Young Vic, Frost/Nixon for the Donmar Warehouse and on Broadway, Clever Dick and Sunday Father for Hampstead Theatre, A View From The Bridge for Birmingham Rep & West Yorkshire Playhouse, and Death of a Salesman and Absolute Hell for the National Theatre. His film work includes The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93, End Game, The Contract, The All Together, Seven Seconds, and Second Coming. His television credits include Sex and the City, Spooks, Foyle’s War, Doctor Who, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Band of Brothers, and Kavanagh QC.
Photo of actor Mark Lockyer

Mark Lockyer - Yusef El-Fayoumy
 
Mark Lockyer has previously performed with Headlong Theatre in Restoration; his other theatre credits include The Adventures of Tin Tin, and Outbreak of God in Area 9 for the Young Vic, Theatre of Blood, The Madness of George III, Ghetto, Bartholemew Fair, and The Changeling for the National Theatre, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, The Cherry Orchard, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and The Merchant of Venice for the RSC, and Antipedes and Hamlet for the Globe. His television work includes The Fall of Rome, The Great Kandinsky, Joking Apart, The Bill and Out of Order
Photo of actress Susan Lynch

Susan Lynch - Fabiana Aziza Cunningham
 
Susan Lynch’s London theatre credits include The Night Season, Pericles and Le Cid for the National Theatre, O Go My Man and Ashes and Sand for the Royal Court, Mnemonic for Theatre de Complicite and The Clearing for the Bush Theatre.   Last year she was seen on Broadway in Brian Friel’s Translations directed by Garry Hynes.  Her film credits include Within, City Rats, The Golden Age, Enduring Love, Waking Ned and Beautiful Creatures.  Her television credits include The Robber Bride, The Ten Commandments, Bodies, A Royal Scandal and Truth or Dare.
Photo of actor John Macmillan

John Macmillan - Bailiff/Simon the Zealot
 
John Macmillan has performed in The Member of the Wedding at the Young Vic, Cymbeline on a Cheek By Jowl world tour, Titus Andronicus at the National Drama Festival, Dream Weaver for Hull Truck, and Sympathy for a Psychopath at the Edinburgh Festival. He has also worked on a short film Don Juan.
Photo of actor Joseph Mawle

Joseph Mawle - Judas Iscariot
 

Joseph Mawle has previously appeared in Hamlet for Nuffield Theatre,Time for the Good Looking Boy at the Old Vic, Anthony and Cleopatra for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Love and Understanding at Battersea Arts Centre, and Troilus and Cressida for Shakespeare at The Tobacco Factory. His television credits include Jesus in The Passion for the BBC/HBO, Soundproof, Dunkirk, The History of Miss Polly, Silent Witness, The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton, Persuasion, Foyle’s War & Clapham Junction. His film credits include Lecture 21 and Merlin.
Photo of actress Poppy Miller

Poppy Miller - Loretta/Mary Magdalene/Sister Glenna
 

Poppy Miller appeared in The Jew of Malta at the Almeida in 1999; her other theatre credits include Ophelia in Rupert Goold’s Hamlet for the Theatre Royal, Northampton, Switchback at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Amy’s View at the Salisbury Playhouse, Bartholomew Fair and Two Gentlemen of Verona for the RSC, Twelfth Night for Filter Theatre, and Villette and Blue Remembered Hills for The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Her television credits include Kingdom II, Torn, Gold-Plated, If I Had You, Red Cap II, The Commander I & II, Attachments, and In Deep. Her film work includes The Flood, and she has worked on numerous radio dramas for Radio 4.
Photo of actress Jessika Williams

Jessika Williams - Saint Monica
 
Jessika Williams’ has recently appeared in The Bacchae for King’s Theatre Edinburgh and the Lyric Hammersmith. Her other theatre credits include Rebecca’s Midnight and Such is Nature for Cat in a Cup Theatre, Beowulf for The Arches Theatre Company and Therese Raquin for Citizens’ Theatre. Her television work includes Taggart and she has worked on films Immeasurable Joy and Contorted Hazel.
 
 
 
Creative Team

Stephen Adly Guirgis - Writer
 
Stephen Adly Guirgis is a longtime member of New York’s LAByrinth Theatre Company. His plays include Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which after completing a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway run was seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Donmar Warehouse and The Arts Theatre in London’s West End. His other plays include Our Lady of 121st Street and In Arabia We’d all Be Kings.  His writing for television includes The Sopranos, NYPD Blue, UC Undercover and Big Apple. 
 
Rupert Goold - Director
 
Rupert Goold is Artistic Director of Headlong Theatre, where his credits include Rough Crossings, Faustus, Paradise Lost and Restoration.  His other theatre work includes The Glass Menagerie for the Apollo Theatre, The Tempest and Speaking Like Magpies for the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as Hamlet, Insignificance, Betrayal and Othello all for Northampton Theatre Royal where he was Artistic Director.  His production of Macbeth, with Patrick Stewart in the title role, transferred from Chichester Festival Theatre to the Gielgud in the West End and opens at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Feburary.  Goold won the 2007 Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and South Bank Show Awards for Best Director for this production.

Anthony Ward - Design
 
Anthony Ward previously designed for several Almeida productions, including The Rehearsal, A Hard Heart, Dona Rosita, The Novice and Marianne Dreams. He has also designed extensively for the National Theatre, the RSC, the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court, and opera productions both in Britain and internationally, including The Makropulos Case (Metropolitan Opera NY), Tosca (De Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp) Peter Grimes & Gloriana, (Opera North), The Magic Flute (Glyndebourne) and The Carmelites (ENO & WNO). He has produced critically acclaimed work on the West End and Broadway including Macbeth (Gielgud Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium/Broadway), Gypsy (Broadway), Oliver! (London Palladium), and Oklahoma! (Lyceum Theatre/Broadway).
 
Howard Harrison - Lighting
 
Howard Harrison has worked on extensive theatre projects both on the West End and on Broadway including Glengarry Glen Ross, Macbeth, Love Song, Guys and Dolls, Donkey’s Years, and Heroes (West End), Mary Poppins, (West End/Broadway), Mamma Mia! (West End/Broadway/international tour), The Vertical Hour (Royal Court) and Nutcracker! and Edward Scissorhands for Sadler’s Wells and on tour in the UK and the US. He has also worked on numerous opera and dance productions including Il Trovatore and Otello  for the Royal Opera House, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet for English National Ballet, and The Makropulos Case and Nabucco for the Metropolitan Opera, New York.  
 
Adam Cork – Composer & Sound
 
Adam Cork has worked previously on Almeida productions The Late Henry Moss and Tom and Viv; he has designed for West End and Broadway productions including Macbeth, Frost/Nixon, Suddenly Last Summer,Don Carlos and The Glass Menagerie. His other extensive theatre credits include Speaking Like Magpies and The Tempest for the RSC, Caligula, The Wild Duck, Don Juan in Soho, John Gabriel Borkmann and Othello for the Donmar Warehouse, Troilus and Cressida for the Old Vic and Faustus for Hampstead Theatre. His film and television work includes Frances Tuesday, Re-ignited, Imprints,The Three Rules of Infidelity, and Tripletake. His radio credits include Losing Rosalind, The Luneberg Variation and Don Carlos.

 

Lorna Heavey - Video & Projection Design

Lorna Heavey recently worked with the Almeida on Marianne Dreams; she has provided video, film and set design for a range of other theatre productions, including Macbeth for the Gielgud Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, The Caucasian Chalk Circle for the National Theatre, The Tempest for the RSC and the Novello Theatre Michigan, Phaedra for the Donmar Warehouse, Rough Crossings for the Lyric Hammersmith, Faustus for Hampstead Theatre, and Betrayal for Theatre Royal Northampton. Lorna has also designed for opera including Mahabharata for Sadler's Wells, and Dido and Aeneas for Opera North, and her television work includes The Mighty Boosh and The Bendix Report. Lorna has also designed for art exhibitions and has written and directed several film and theatre productions.

 
 
Reviews & Articles

REVIEWS

 

"..do yourself a favour, go and see it..."

Sarah Churchwell, BBC Newsnight Review, 4 April 2008

 

"...a fine play...it's not just asking religious questions, but human questions...absolutely riveting stuff"

 

Rt Rev Dr Thomas Butler, Bishop of Southwark, in discussion with writer Stephen Adly Guirgis, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 8 April 2008

 

"...a truly epic production...Guirgis and Goold have a sensational hit on their hands"

Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2008

Read full review

 

"**** (4 stars) A gloriously intoxicating brew"

Michael Billington, Guardian, 4 April 2008

Read full review

 

"...genuinely scary Douglas Henshall as witness Satan"

Benedict Nightingale, The Times, 4 April 2008

Read full review

 

"...extraordinary, comic and gripping...surely going to be on the shortlist for Best New Play of the Year"

Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday, 6 April 2008

Read full review

 

"...the intensity is terrific...Goold's direction echoes and amplifies the excitement"

Susannah Clapp, The Observer, 6 April 2008

Read full review

 

"**** (4 stars) Joseph Mawle's astonishingly fine Judas electrifies the stage...I cannot recall a young actor whipping up such an intense emotional storm"

Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard, 4 April 2008

Read full review

 

Critics' Choice: "**** (4 stars) Stephen Adly Guirgis has the gift of the gab...startling and often humorous...superb cast"

Jane Edwardes, Time Out, 10 April 2008

Read full review

 

 

 

ARTICLES

 

Douglas Henshall talks about The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Times Online, 25 March 2008

 

Read article

 

Writer Stephen Adly Guirgis talks to the Daily Telegraph, 22 March 2008

 

Read article

 

Director Rupert Goold talks to the Society of London Theatre, 2 April 2008

 

Read article

 
 
Audience Reaction

Audience comments on The Last Days of Judas Iscariot:
 
I thought the play was very original, I loved the music in between scene changes and the blurry city scene videos were amazing...
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The performances were great and the concept and execution was so original, I will be recommending it highly... 

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The concept of this show was nothing like I have seen before and the last half an hour was so powerful it was untrue. I've never cried to a piece of film or theatre, but it had me welling up...

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I've seen almost ten performances at the Almeida over the last three years and this was by far the best!...” 

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The actors were really emotional and believable which made the experience even more fulfilling...” 

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The characters were very strong, the roles were splendidly acted, and the script was thoughtful and entertaining... 

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It was extremely dramatic and had an important message, the humour was evident all the way through...I was made to think about my life at various moments as I’m sure those around me did...

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Judas Trailer


Watch The Last Days of Judas Iscariot trailer to see exclusive footage of the cast in rehearsal and an interview with director Rupert Goold.

 

 

The Last Day of Judas Iscariot Trailer Transcript 

   
Video produced by Misfit Films. For further information please visit www.misfitfilms.co.uk or email info@misfitfilms.co.uk 

 
 
Rehearsal Blog
Read our The Last Days of Judas Iscariot Rehearsal Blog.

Assistant Director Vik Sivalingam tells us what's happening in the rehearsal room:
 

Rehearsal Week 6

Tech week - when everything that has been worked on in the rehearsal room is now transferred on to the stage and the set.
 
Monday morning was spent with just the actors doing a speed run, simply to remind them of the play. We began the first tech session in the evening, starting from the top of the play and working our way through, inserting all the elements that would make it the final product that would become.
 
There were music and sound effects to be added, video and multi-media projection on the incredible surface of the set, and lighting the scenes to give them maximum impact. Also there were technical elements of a lift that carried actors from the bowels to the stage.
 
All these elements take time and patience to go over again and again and yet again! This process took the best part of three days which was really very efficient, and we were able to do a dress run on Thursday afternoon, finally seeing the play in it’s final version. 


Rehearsal Week 5

This week was when we concentrated on the detail of the play. After two runs in the previous weeks, there was a fluency in the scenes. The actors were beginning to own their characters and the play in the way that allowed the play to take on a life of it’s own.
 
Not content to leave at this, we dissected and interrogated the play further- really crystallizing what the characters were doing at any given point.
 
In order to achieve this, we worked individual scenes on Monday and Tuesday. We also scheduled in an intensive three-hour workshop with mask expert John Wright, who spent Tuesday afternoon with four actors working on archetypes.
 
Wednesday morning we ran Act One and then did working notes in the afternoon, and on Thursday we did the same for Act Two.
 
On Friday, we ran the play for the once again before the long Bank Holiday weekend. All in all, it was a satisfactorily thorough week, leaving us in a very comfortable place for the coming tech week.


Rehearsal Week 4
 
This was the week for spit and polish. The run on Saturday had helped to give an overview of the play, the overall shape and the state of play that we were at.

What we realised from the run was where the story telling was clear and the places it needed clarifying and more importantly whose story we are telling.
 
So the majority of this week was really about deconstructing the play and working it through beat by beat in each of the scenes. This included breaking down some of the staging that had been agreed upon and making sure that the moves enhanced the story telling. Then on Friday afternoon, we ran the play in its entirety for the second time.


Rehearsal Week 3

This week the rehearsal cranked up in intensity. We moved in to the part of the process when the actors are beginning to get ‘off book’- to work without their scripts.
 
Naturally, this is a slower and sometimes frustrating process. The actors stumble initially on the scenes simply because the lines now take on a different life and they have to find the various thoughts in the other actors and the space.
 
What is amazing about this part of the rehearsals is that as the scenes take shape, we begin to discover greater depths to the characters and situations. These revelations render some of the earlier choices either too easy or superfluous.

As the play takes shape both textually and physically, Rupert begins to address some of the moments that aren’t written in the play: moments that illuminate the friendship between Judas and Jesus- something that is reported a lot in the play.

We staggered the play in its entirety for the first time on Saturday morning- a useful exercise to see the shape of the play.

Rehearsal Weeks 1 & 2
 
The first day began with the obligatory meet and greet. In an established building like the Almeida, this is a more involved process simply due to the number of people. Once introductions were done, Rupert Goold (director) and Anthony Ward (designer) presented the model of the set to everyone.
 
We then gathered the company together to read the play. Rupert then talked about the play and its challenges: the subject matter that everyone will be aware of in some version, the inversion of this awareness and the intensely American vernacular that is the language of the play.

The rest of week one and two was spent looking at the scenes in isolation with the actors concerned. Rupert and the actors discuss the story of the scenes and the characters relationship to each other. Once a consensus is agreed upon, the scene is put on its feet in the playing space. 
 
Susan Lynch
 
The Evolution of Judas Iscariot

James Martin, a senior Jesuit Priest, was involved as theological advisor during the writing, rehearsals and performance of LAByrinth Theater Company’s original production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. He writes: 
 
"The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, which ended a sold-out run at the Public Theater in New York City in April 2005, examines the fate of one of the most reviled men in history. Adly Guirgis provided a sophisticated theological treatment of the issue, in all the slangy (and sometimes foul-mouthed) urban argot for which he is known amongst theater aficionados.
 
Before my first meeting with Stephen [Adly Guirgis], his new play already had a long history. In a way, it had begun when Stephen was in third grade. That year, one of the Dominican sisters teaching at Corpus Christi told his class the story of Judas. Stephen was horrified. He believed in a loving God, and the idea that God had consigned Judas to a place called hell “just stopped me in my tracks”. How could God not feel sorry for Judas?
 
Theological questions were foremost in the playwright’s mind, and our conversations ranged from the broader questions about grace, forgiveness, and despair to more detailed inquiries into the history of the individual characters in the drama.
 
After all his research, Stephen wanted to hear what I thought about who killed Jesus. The responsibility for Jesus’ death was the underlying theme of his play, and the answer to the question of who was responsible would help us unlock the riddle of Judas Iscariot.
 
But the Gospels are murky about precisely what lay behind the death of Jesus. For the evangelists were not as concerned with providing a historically accurate picture as modern readers might assume. What [they] were intent on providing was not historical truth but something more elusive, and far more important for the early Christians: the religious meaning of the events in question.
 
Stephen’s use of the trial device would show the audience not only how but also why the death of Jesus occurred, shedding light on a notoriously dark topic. As I watched Stephen deal with the demands placed upon these scenes – the requirement to sort through so much history, the artistic need to keep the interest of the audience, and the sordid history of the Passion plays always lurking in the background – I was impressed with what he was able to accomplish."


Edited excerpts from A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas, and Life’s Big Questions by James Martin, SJ (Loyola Press 2007). Reprinted with permission of Loyola Press. To order copies of this book contact Columba Bookservice at +353 1 294 2556 or visit www.columba.ie
For more information click here 

 

Further extracts from this book and other background information on the play and the cast/creative team is available in the production programme

 

Click here to download programme as a PDF document
 

 
 
Arts Council England ASP Group