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Gill directs own play at Donmar

Published 17 April 2008

Peter Gill’s Small Change, directed by the playwright, and Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden continue the 2008 season at the Donmar Warehouse, following the already announced The Man Who Had All The Luck.

Playwright and director Gill returns to the Donmar following Days Of Wine And Roses in 2005 to direct a new production of his own play Small Change, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1976. Running from 10 April-31 May 2008 (press night 15 April), Small Change is set in Cardiff in the 1950s and recalls the friendship between two boys and the relationship with their mothers, and the tragedy of things that go unsaid and are forever unresolved.

A prolific director, Gill’s most recent productions in London include Gaslight at the Old Vic earlier this year, The Voysey Inheritance at the National in 2006, Epitaph For George Dillon at the Comedy, the RSC’s Romeo And Juliet at the Albery (now Noël Coward), Scenes From The Big Picture at the National and his own play The York Realist at the Royal Court and Novello. He is currently directing Penelope Keith in the Theatre Royal Bath production of The Importance Of Being Earnest, which comes to the Vaudeville in January. As well as Small Change and The York Realist, Gill is the author of the plays The Sleeper’s Den, Over Gardens Out, Kick For Touch, Cardiff East and Certain Young Men.

Following Small Change, Donmar Artistic Director Michael Grandage will direct Penelope Wilton in The Chalk Garden, which runs from 5 June-2 August 2008 (press night 11 June).

Bagnold is best known for her novel National Velvet, but also wrote plays including Lottie Dundass, The Chinese Prime Minister and Matter Of Gravity. The Chalk Garden was first staged at the Haymarket in 1956, directed by John Gielgud. It tells the story of 16-year-old Laurel, who runs wild in the garden of the manor house beside the sea where she is raised. As her eccentric grandmother tends to the garden, Laurel’s need for love forces her into a world of fantasy. But things begin to change with the sudden appointment of a governess who brings a mysterious new presence to an already dysfunctional household.

Wilton was last seen at the Donmar in John Gabriel Borkman earlier this year, and her credits at the venue also include The Little Foxes and A Kind Of Alaska. Other recent London stage credits include Afterplay at the Gielgud, The House Of Bernarda Alba at the National and the voiceover for Eh Joe at the Duke Of York’s. She has been seen on film in Calendar Girls, The History Boys, Match Point and Pride And Prejudice.

Now celebrating five years in his post at the Donmar, Grandage has directed many productions for the venue, including The Vortex, Grand Hotel, The Wild Duck, Caligula, Frost/Nixon and Don Juan In Soho, plus the forthcoming production of Othello, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor, which opens on 4 December.

Further casting has also been confirmed for The Man Who Had All The Luck, which starts the 2008 season (28 February-5 April). Felix Scott (Lost Yet Found at the Hampstead) and Michelle Terry (Love’s Labour’s Lost in this season at Shakespeare’s Globe) join Andrew Buchan in Miller’s play, directed by Sean Holmes (Moonlight And Magnolias at the Tricycle, The Entertainer at the Old Vic).

Due later in the 2008 season are Strindberg’s Creditors, Life Is A Dream by Spanish playwright Pedro Calderon de la Barca, and T.S Eliot’s The Family Reunion, for which no further details are yet announced.

CB

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