“1930s England. Darlington Hall runs like clockwork under one of the last truly great butlers. Reserved and dutiful, with the funny and forthright housekeeper Kenton by his side, Stevens faithfully serves his employer. Meanwhile, England stands on a precipice as fascism builds and boils in Europe.
20 years later, Stevens travels to find an old friend who might finally offer him redemption, remembering choices made and not made, journeying to one last chance at happiness”.
2017 Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Remains of the Day’ will embark on a 10 week tour following its world premiere at Royal and Derngate, Northampton, in February, as part of the theatre’s ‘Made In Northampton’ season. The nationwide tour from March 2019 will include visits to Oxford Playhouse, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Salisbury Playhouse, Theatre Royal York, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Nuffield Southampton, Derby Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.
A deeply atmospheric drama about time and memory, loneliness and longing, ‘The Remains of the Day’ depicts the morally-compromised truth behind a world of manicured gardens, formal dinners and grand houses. As the fires rage through England during and after the Second World War, we get an intimate glimpse into one man’s half-lived life, realised too late.
Adapted for the stage by Barney Norris, one of Britain’s most exciting young writers, ‘The Remains of the Day’ is directed by Christopher Haydon, and will feature design by Lily Arnold, lighting design by Mark Howland, composition by Sophie Cotton, sound design by Elena Peña, video design by Andrzej Goulding and movement by Lucy Cullingford.
Barney Norris is a playwright and Times best-selling novelist. He won the Critics Circle Award and Off West End Award for Most Promising Playwright for his work ‘Visitors’, which ran at the Arcola Theatre. He founded the theatre company Up In Arms with the director Alice Hamilton after they met in a youth theatre in Wiltshire, and together they have made and toured work around woods, schools, hospices, pupil referral units, village halls and theatres across the UK. Norris worked for Out of Joint from 2011 – 2013, and is delighted to return to the company to adapt ‘The Remains of the Day’.
Christopher Haydon is an award-winning director. His work includes ‘Grounded‘, which won a Fringe First and an Off West End Award for Best Production, and ‘On The Exhale’, which won a Fringe First Award and garnered rave reviews. A former Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre, Haydon’s credits include ‘Diary of a Madman’, ‘The Iphigenia Quartet‘ and ‘The Christians‘ (Traverse Theatre), ‘Image of An Unknown Young Woman‘ (Winner – Best Production, Off West End Awards), ‘The Edge Of Our Bodies‘, ‘Trojan Women‘, ‘Purple Heart‘, ‘The Prophet‘ and ‘Wittenburg‘.
His other theatre credits include ‘Twelve Angry Men‘ (Birmingham Rep/West End/national tour), ‘The Caretaker‘ (Bristol Old Vic/Royal and Derngate), ‘Trying It On‘ (China Plate/RSC/Royal Court), ‘Sixty-six Books‘, ‘In The Beginning’ (Bush Theatre/Westminster Abbey); ‘Grace‘, ‘Pressure Drop‘ (On Theatre); ‘Deep Cut‘ (Sherman Cymru/National Tour). His first short film ‘In Wonderland‘ has screened at festivals all over the world winning several awards – most recently Best Drama at the BAFTA-accredited Aesthetica Short Film Festival.
The cast will be led by Stephen Boxer as butler Stevens. Boxer’s credits ‘Stories‘, ‘Macbeth‘ and ‘King Lear‘ (National Theatre) and ‘Regeneration‘ (Royal and Derngate and Touring Consortium Theatre Company). Joining Boxer as Kenton will be Niamh Cusack, whose stage credits include ‘My Brilliant Friend‘ (Rose Theatre Kingston), ‘The Winter’s Tale‘ (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), and most recently, in the role of Lady Macbeth in the RSC’s production of ‘Macbeth‘ (RSC and Barbican Theatre).
The cast also includes Stephen Critchlow (Morgan, Spencer, Ensemble), Pip Donaghy (Stevens Senior, Waiter), Edward Franklin (Reginald, Ensemble), Miles Richardson (Darlington, Carlisle, Ensemble), Sadie Shimmin (Mrs Taylor, Mme Dupont, Ensemble) and Patrick Toomey (Lewis, Ensemble).
‘The Remains of the Day’ is commissioned by Royal and Derngate, and co-produced by Royal & Derngate and Out of Joint in association with Oxford Playhouse.
James Dacre, Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, added: “After several years of development, we can’t wait to bring the world premiere of the iconic story to the stage. We are thrilled to be working with playwright Barney Norris and delighted to be welcoming Christopher Haydon back to Royal & Derngate.”
Kate Wasserberg, Artistic Director of Out of Joint, said: “Out of Joint are absolutely delighted to be working with Royal & Derngate and Oxford Playhouse to bring Ishiguro’s seminal story to stages around the country. We’re incredibly excited to be working with Barney and Chris to adapt this classic tale of love, loss and regret.”
“Ishiguro’s masterpiece of memory, regret and undeclared love has entranced millions as a novel and a BAFTA-winning Merchant Ivory film. Now transformed into an exquisite stage play for the first time, ‘The Remains of the Day’ is a story for anyone who has ever been afraid to follow their heart”.
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