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Stephen Boxer stars in Written On The Heart, playing at the Duchess theatre (photo: Ellie Kurttz)

Stephen Boxer in Written On The Heart (photo: Ellie Kurttz)

Duchess receives RSC’s Heart

Published 27 February 2012

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of David Edgar’s Written On The Heart, a drama marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, will transfer into this West End this April.

The production will play at the Duchess theatre for a strictly limited run from 23 April (previews from 19 April) until 21 July and will star Royal Shakespeare Company veterans Oliver Ford Davies and Stephen Boxer.

Written On The Heart, which continues its run at the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon until 10 March, opened to critical acclaim last winter with The Times declaring it: “The RSC at its best: fine actors, swimming in great words and ideas.”

Rather more serious than the RSC’s last West End transfer, Matilda The Musical, the drama is set across an 80 year divide in which Edgar’s play sees two men translate the word of God into the English tongue. For one, it means death at the stake. For the other, it could mean an archbishop’s mitre. After almost a century of unrest, the King James Bible was intended to end the violent upheavals of the English reformation but, in Written On The Heart, deep-seated conflicts force a leading translator to confront the betrayal of his youthful religious ideals, for the sake of social peace.

Ford Davies, whose extensive screen appearances include Star Wars Episodes I-III and televisions series Kavanagh QC, Spooks and Foyle’s War, has appeared in more than 25 productions for the RSC. His other stage credits include an Olivier Award-winning performance in Racing Demons, Edgar’s Playing With Fire, Murmuring Judges, The Absence Of War and Hamlet at the National Theatre, King Lear, Naked and Ivanov at the Almeida, and Absolutely! (Perhaps?) and Heartbreak House in the West End.

Boxer was last seen at the RSC in 2008’s The Taming Of The Shrew. The actor, who has also appeared in The Tragedy Of Thomas Hobbes, Measure For Measure and Twelfth Night for the Stratford-upon-Avon company, has also been seen in The Holy Rosenbergs, Aristocrats and Volpone at the National Theatre and in television series Prime Suspect and Garrow’s Law.

Written On The Heart’s playwright Edgar has previously written Destiny, Pentecost and Nicholas Nickleby for the RSC. His latest production is directed by the company’s Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran (Cardenio, Morte D’Arthur, Hamlet).

The play will follow another transfer at the Duchess theatre, the National Theatre’s The Pitmen Painters which is currently booking until 14 April.

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