Edward Bond’s controversial and seminal play, Saved, is to be revived at the Lyric Hammersmith this autumn in the first professional London production for over 25 years.
Saved, a depiction of violence among the working classes in South London which famously features a scene in which a baby is stoned to death, premiered at the Royal Court in 1965 under ‘theatre club’ conditions after being banned by the Lord Chamberlain. Backed by theatrical luminaries including Laurence Olivier, the play was instrumental in the abolition of censorship a few years later.
The Lyric Hammersmith is no stranger to taking on controversial works which divide critics. Earlier this year the venue received an Olivier Award for its 2010 revival of Sarah Kane’s darkly violent piece Blasted – which was inspired by Saved – directed by Artistic Director Sean Holmes, who will also direct this production of Saved.
For the past 25 years playwright Bond has refused permission for professional productions of Saved. Following this new production, which plays from 6 October to 5 November, Bond will work with Holmes to stage three of his one-act plays in April 2012 in the Lyric Studio. The playwright himself will direct Chair and The Under Room, while Holmes directs Have I None. All three short plays explore dystopian societies in England in 2077, and all three will be performed by the same company.
Saved forms part of a 2011/12 season which also includes work by theatre companies Kneehigh, Filter and Frantic Assembly.
The season begins with Kneehigh’s The Wild Bride, playing from 7 to 24 September, billed as “a grown-up romance with a brutal edge”. Kneehigh is the award-winning theatre company behind shows including The Red Shoes, Brief Encounter and The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, which is currently playing in the West End.
Following Saved, a Christmas production of pantomime Aladdin (19 November to 31 December) reunites the writing team of Joel Horwood, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and director Steve Marmion, who collaborated on previous pantos Dick Whittington And His Cat and Jack And The Beanstalk.
Frantic Assembly returns to the Lyric Hammersmith from 11 to 28 January with Lovesong. A tale of togetherness that centres on a couple in their 20s and then years later, Lovesong is written by Abi Morgan, whose play The Night Is Darkest Before The Dawn played as part of the Tricycle’s Great Game: Afghanistan season. Frantic Assembly’s previous work includes a radical interpretation of Othello, which played at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2008.
The new season concludes with what is set to be another innovative version of a Shakespeare play, Filter’s take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The company once again teams up with director Holmes to stage the Bard’s magical tale following versions of Twelfth Night and Chekhov’s Three Sisters. A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays from 9 February to 17 March.