In the wake of Armistice Day, and as the 100th World War l commemorations continue, plans are underway to tour a mesmerising play of love and courage, before and during World War l.
A new tour of Rachel Wagstaff’s stage play Birdsong, adapted from the novel by Sebastian Faulks, begins on February 4 and will reach His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen on Tuesday, February 10 for a week-long run.
The production will tour until June and is set in pre-war France, when a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their worlds upside down.
As the war breaks out, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground.
Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war, Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle and the idyll of his former life as his world explodes around him.
The 2013 and 2014 tours of the play were hugely successful and critically acclaimed, seen by over 130,000 people and receiving four and five star reviews.
Sebastian was thrilled the show was re-mounted to tour again, and has said: “Both Rachel and I want this to be the definitive version of Birdsong on stage. The audience watch it and think, thank God I have never undergone all of this.
“These experiences are far outside the lives of most people but there is something about the way the production works which makes people identify and think, it could be me...”
Rachel is currently co-writing two screenplays with Sebastian, one for Eleventh Hour Productions, and the other for Bob & Co, and she is also under commission to write a new musical for Vicky Graham Productions/Old Vic Productions, and writing a stage play for The Original Theatre Company.
Rachel adapted Sebastian's novel, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, for Radio Four (Woman's Hour), and When I Lost You, an Afternoon Play for Radio Four, co-written with Duncan Abel, was featured on Pick of the Week last year.
Birdsong is again directed by Alastair Whatley, with set design by Victoria Spearing, lighting by Alex Wardle for Charcoalblue and sound by Dom Bilkey.
Tickets for the HMT run are available online at www.aberdeenperformingarts.com, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.