The Michael Frayn Season
Continuing the tradition for producing whole seasons dedicated to the work of one writer, Sheffield Theatres present a month-long festival celebrating the work of multi-award-winning playwright Michael Frayn from Wednesday 29 February – Saturday 31 March. The festival includes major revivals of three of his most famous award-winning plays; Copenhagen, Democracy, and Benefactors. Taking place in each of the theatre’s spaces, alongside a series of talks, interviews and discussions, the season offers audiences a unique opportunity to experience the range, scope and development of Frayn’s work from three different decades of his career.
Copenhagen explores the uncertainty of the past and the inevitability of the future, through a story based on the real-life events of two eminent scientists at the height of the Second World War. Henry Goodman (Fiddler on the Roof) and Geoffrey Streatfeild (Calum in Spooks) play Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, the friends meeting for the last time. They will joined by Barbara Flynn as Bohr’s wife, Margrethe, who returns to Sheffield for the first time since performing on the Crucible stage in the hugely successful Hamlet, in 2010. This new production will be directed by David Grindley, who previously directed the Olivier Award-nominated and Tony Award-winning revival of Journey’s End, which toured to the Lyceum last autumn.
Benefactors, on stage in the Studio Theatre, is a comedy about idealism, realism and the tangled nature of human relationships, set against a backdrop of a high-rise building project with the aim of improving housing facilities in one suburb of London. Charlotte Gwinner (Knowledge/Little Platoons at the Bush Theatre, 2011) will direct Abigail Cruttenden (Benidorm and Sharpe), Rebecca Lacey (May to December), Simon Wilson (EastEnders, Waking the Dead, Doctors) and Andrew Woodall in this Olivier Award-winning comedy.
Rounding off The Michael Frayn Season is Democracy, a witty and compelling play about an inspirational man. 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.
A fantastic ensemble of actors will bring to life the political world of Democracy. Andrew Bridgmont (War Horse, National Theatre), David Carr (American Trade and Comedy of Errors, RSC), Patrick Drury (Cold Blood, Silent Witness and Inspector Morse), Ed Hughes, Richard Hope (Malokeh in Dr Who, Holby City and EastEnders), William Hoyland, David Mallinson, Aidan McArdle (Silvester in Garrow’s Law), James Quinn and Rupert Vansittart all star in this new production, directed by Associate Director of Sheffield Theatres, Paul Miller (True West and Hamlet).
Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director Daniel Evans` said: ‘Following the success of last year’s David Hare Season, I am delighted to dedicate a festival to the work of Michael Frayn this year. Michael is certainly one of the most significant figures in British theatre with a career spanning nearly half a century. I’m thrilled to present three of his plays for the first time ever at Sheffield Theatres. To have such talented casts and creative teams under the direction of David Grindley, Charlotte Gwinner and Paul Miller is fantastic, and I cannot wait to see them bring these extraordinary plays to life across all three of our stages simultaneously.’
Speaking about the season himself, Michael Frayn said: ‘To have a season of my plays at Sheffield Theatres is a great honour for me, and I’m very grateful to Daniel Evans for his (characteristic) boldness in embarking upon it. It’s been set up with striking panache, and I hope that this in itself will make the occasion a memorable one.’
To complement the three plays Sheffield Theatres has programmed rehearsed play readings of The Sneeze (Friday 9 March), Here (Friday 16 March) and Wild Honey (Friday 23 March) and a reading of extracts from Michael Frayn’s novels and columns (Friday 30 March). Also, on Friday 23 March there will be an In Conversation event with Frayn himself about his life and work.
Tickets for each play in the season are on sale now, priced from £10.00. Book for all three main stage plays in the Michael Frayn Season at the same time and save 10% on the price of your tickets. For more information and to book, call the Box Office 0114 249 6000 or visit sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.
Read more about the season via The Independent
Photo by Ekko von Schwichow