A new stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations will be staged at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen this winter as part of a UK tour before opening in London’s West End.
It will mark the great British novelist’s 200th birthday, and make it a Dickens double bill at the city theatre, with a chilling re-production of The Haunting in September followed by Great Expectations in November.
The new drama will star Coronation Street and Bad Girls star Jack Ellis, alongside Chris Ellison (The Bill), Paul Nivison and Paula Wilcox (Emmerdale, The Smoking Room and Man About the House). Further casting will ne announced later.
Great Expectationswill be staged at HMT from Tuesday to Saturday, November 6 to 10 and tickets go at saleto APA Friends next Friday (June 29) and to the general public the following Monday (July 2) online at www.boxofficeaberdeen.com, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.
The UK tour begins at Richmond Theatre on September 13 and Aberdeen is the only Scottish date.
“This is a major production and a keenly-anticipated new take on the classic novel and Aberdeen is the only Scottish date on the tour – which is quite a coup,” said Aberdeen Performing Arts head of programming Ben Torrie.
“Often we get superb shows direct from the West End here in Aberdeen, but rarely do we get a chance to see them before London audiences do.
“We expect this to be one of our hottest tickets this autumn.”
Jack Ellis will play Jaggers – he is known for being Harry Mason in Coronation Street, Robert Ashford in Where the Heart Is, and Jim Fenner in Bad Girls, as well as appearing in the West End in A Few Good Men with Rob Lowe and Suranne Jones and an international tour of Richard III with Kevin Spacey.
Chris Ellison will play Magwitch, Paul Nivison the adult Pip and Paula Wilcox Miss Havisham.
Originally published between December 1860 and August 1861, Great Expectations has been adapted for the stage by one of Scotland's leading playwrights Jo Clifford.
She has been working in the theatre for over 30 years, with 80 plays to her credit and her work has been translated into several languages and produced throughout the world.
As John Clifford, his work with the Traverse Theatre in the 80s helped establish the international reputation of the theatre, with plays like Losing Venice (Fringe First 1985), Lucy’s Play, Playing with Fire, Inés de Castro and Light in the Village.
Since transitioning to Jo, she has continued writing, notably Faust Part One, Faust Part Two and Every One for Royal Lyceum Edinburgh. She has also adapted The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard for Theatre Alba.
Great Expectations will be directed and co-designed by Graham McLaren., who established the internationally-acclaimed Theatre Babel. In 2005, he joined Perth Theatre as artistic and co-creative director, where he remained until January 2008, after which he joined the Toronto-based theatre company Necessary Angel as an associate artist.
Graham is an associate director for the National Theatre of Scotland and his production of A Christmas Carol for them has just won Best Production 2011/2012 at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
Dickens Trust is being launched alongside the show and will receive a royalty share of box office. Set up with Lucinda Dickens Hawksley (great, great, great grand-daughter of Charles Dickens), it will distribute funds to concerns dealing with issues Dickens was passionate about, for example, prison reform, adoption, literacy etc.
Great Expectations is represented by Beer & Partners Limited and sponsored by House of Worth and Rocco Venezia. The new adaptation will be published by Nick Hern Books (www.nickhernbooks.co.uk).