James Purefoy and Sheridan Smith will join Sienna Miller in Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path, directed by Trevor Nunn at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Opening on 10 March 2011 with previews from 4 March 2011 Flare Path is booking until 4 June 2011. Set and costumes are by Stephen Brimson Lewis. Flare Path is produced by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Tom McKitterick and the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company in association with Act Productions Ltd.
It is 1942. At the Falcon Hotel, on the edge of an airfield in Lincolnshire, Teddy, a young bomber pilot is celebrating a reunion with his actress wife Patricia. Events take an unexpected turn, when Peter a famous heartthrob film star arrives, and an urgent bombing mission over Germany is ordered. As the night gives way to dawn, Patricia finds herself at the centre of a passionate conflict of love and loyalty as unpredictable as the war in the skies.
The cast includes Joe Armstrong (Dusty), Sarah Crowden (Mrs.Oakes), Sienna Miller (Patricia), James Purefoy (Peter), Sheridan Smith (Doris) and Clive Woods (Swanson). Final casting details will be announced shortly.
Flare Path was first performed in the West End at the Apollo Theatre in 1942. It is based on Rattigan’s own Bomber Command experiences when he served as a tail gunner during the Second World War. He later reworked Flare Path into a screenplay and in 1945 the re-titled The Way to the Stars starring Michael Redgrave was successfully released.
James Purefoy is best known on television for his role as Marc Antony in HBO’s epic award-winning TV series Rome. His other television credits include NBC’s The Philanthropist in which he played the leading character, Teddy Rist, and the forthcoming Injustice for ITV1. His most prominent film credits include Resident Evil, Vanity Fair, the Black Prince in A Knight’s Tale and the title role in Solomon Kane. He has recently completed filming the forthcoming Ironclad and John Carter of Mars. His theatre credits include Macbeth, The Tempest, The Man Who Came to Dinner and King Lear all for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hamlet for the Bristol Old Vic, Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre, Simon Callow’s stage adaptation of Les Enfants du Paradis at the Barbican, and The Relapse, directed by Trevor Nunn, at the National Theatre.
Sheridan Smith has recently completed a critically acclaimed run as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Savoy Theatre. Her other theatre credits include Into the Woods at the Donmar Warehouse, Ancient Lights for Hampstead Theatre, The People are Friendly for the Royal Court, Tinderbox at The Bush Theatre, Little Shop of Horrors at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park. Her extensive television credits include BBC comedies Two Pints of Lager & A Packet of Crisps, The Royle Family, Grown Ups, Love Soup and the ITV1 comedy Benidorm. She recently worked with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jonathan Pryce on her first feature film, Hysteria, to be released later this year.
Sienna Miller trained at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. She was last on stage at Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre playing the title role in After Miss Julie. Her other New York theatre credits include Independence, The School for Scandal and Cigarettes and Chocolate. She was last on stage in the West End playing Celia in Shakespeare’s As You Like It opposite Helen McCrory and Dominic West. Her many film credits include Layer Cake, Alfie, Casanova, Factory Girl, The Interview, Stardust, Camille, The Edge of Love, Hippie Hippie Shake, G.I. Joe and Yellow. On television her credits include Bedtime and Keen Eddie.
Trevor Nunn was the longest-serving Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1968 to 1986). During that time he directed most of the Shakespeare canon, as well as Nicholas Nickleby and Les Misérables. He returned to the RSC to direct King Lear and The Seagull. From 1997 to 2003 he was Director of the National Theatre where his 21 productions included award-winning revivals of Troilus and Cressida, The Merchant of Venice, Summerfolk and The Cherry Orchard, as well as Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, and Anything Goes. He has directed the world premieres of Tom Stoppard’s
Arcadia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Coast of Utopia and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and of Cats, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard and The Woman in White by Andrew Lloyd Webber. His more recent theatre work includes Hamlet and Richard II at The Old Vic, Timon of Athens and Skellig for the Young Vic, The Lady From the Sea for the Almeida, Scenes from a Marriage for the Belgrade, Coventry, A Little Night Music for the Menier Chocolate Factory, in the West End and on Broadway, Cyrano de Bergerac for Chichester Festival Theatre, Inherit the Wind for The Old Vic and Birdsong at the Comedy Theatre.
Born in 1911 Terence Rattigan became one of Britain’s most important dramatists. His first play French Without Tears was a critical success and was soon followed by titles such as After the Dance, The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea and Separate Tables. Several of his plays were adapted for film and television. He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of June 1971 for services to the theatre. 2011 marks the centenary of the birth of Terence Rattigan. As well as Flare Path, celebrations for Rattigan’s centenary year will include several major revivals of his plays in London and beyond, including Cause Célèbre at The Old Vic, a new film of The Deep Blue Sea, a season of his films at the BFI, a special display at the British Library, BBC radio productions and the publication of new editions of his work.
A campaign to create a memorial to the achievements of Bomber Command in the Second World War is now reaching its climax, having gained the approval of the Royal Family and Government. Although there remains opposition to the erection of the memorial on moral grounds, the unimaginable bravery of the bomber crews is undeniable, as evidenced in the play.
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