In 2014 English Touring Theatre, the country’s leading touring company, turns 21. Today the company announced the first part of its exciting touring commitments to celebrate its birthday year.
The company unveiled touring and casting details for Howard Brenton’s Eternal Love (formerly entitled In Extremis) alongside full touring details for Brian Friel’s Translations and Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30, the first time nine plays from the collection have been presented together, since its original 1936 production. Before the end of 2013, English Touring Theatre is also set to reveal the nation’s favourite play by giving the public the chance to vote in the company’s My Favourite Play survey. Voting closes on December 8.
Director Rachel Tackley said, ‘‘we have decided to mark 2014, our 21st birthday, with the most ambitious touring schedule in the company’s history and that’s just the first half of the year, so there is much more to come. I’m delighted English Touring Theatre are co-producing Eternal Love with the National Touring Group, Translations with Sheffield Theatre, Rose Theatre Kingston and Tonight at 8.30 with Nuffield.”
Eternal Love is the inaugural production for the newly formed National Touring Group (a consortium of eight regional theatre companies and English Touring Theatre). The production was originally produced by Shakespeare’s Globe under the title In Extremis and will be touring to Cambridge, Truro, Wolverhampton, Darlington, Blackpool, Edinburgh, Malvern, Brighton and Canterbury. It will star Jo Herbert and David Sturzaker as lovers Heloise and Abelard. The pair will be co-starring for the second time in an English Touring Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe production after appearing together in Anne Boleyn, directed by John Dove in 2012. Eternal Love tells the story of an ill-fated affair between philosophy teacher Abelard and his student Heloise, and their persecution at the hands of the Catholic Church.
Co-produced by English Touring Theatre, Sheffield Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston, Translations tells the story of an Irish farm girl torn between the affections of the local teacher and the love of a British soldier. Translations will open at Sheffield Theatres on February 17 2014 as part of a season of work dedicated to Friel, before travelling to Cambridge, Exeter, Newcastle, Oxford and Ipswich and with the tour culminating in Rose Theatre Kingston from 22 April to 3 May 2014.
Tonight at 8:30, Coward’s bold collection of nine one-act plays, will be co-produced with Nuffield and will run from April 24 until May 24 2014 in Southampton, before heading out on the road to venues including Oxford, Manchester, Cambridge and Brighton.