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Hampstead shares Olympic story

Published January 30, 2012

Though the Olympics may be staged in East London this summer, Hampstead is getting in on the athletic action, staging the theatrical adaptation of Oscar-winning film Chariots Of Fire.

The 1981 movie, which tells the tale of two very different British athletes breaking barriers and overcoming issues to compete in the 1924 Paris Olympics, is to be brought to the stage from 9 May to 16 June in a production written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Hampstead theatre’s Artistic Director Edward Hall.

Bartlett, who is best known his Olivier Award-winning play Cock and Headlong collaboration Earthquakes In London, will retell the story of Scottish Christian Eric Liddell and English Jew Harold Abrahams, whose motivation for running is very different, but who share a passion for sprinting.

Also announced as part of Hampstead theatre’s new season is DruidMurphy, a trilogy of three plays by Tom Murphy telling the epic tale of Irish emigration from 1846 to 1980. Staged as part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the cultural Olympiad, the three plays by one of Ireland’s most respected living dramatists – Conversations On A Homecoming, A Whistle In The Dark and Famine – can be seen over a period of nights or as an entire cycle in one day from 20 to 30 June.

Hall’s all-male Shakespearean company Propeller returns to Hampstead in July (3 to 21) to play a double bill of Henry V and A Winter’s Tale. The first, one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, is the tale of England’s folkloric warrior king, while the second is part tragic tale of jealousy, part pastoral comedy.

Before the new season of work takes to the Hampstead theatre stage, the venue in North-West London will present the world premiere of Richard Nelson’s Farewell To The Theatre, which runs from 1 March to 7 April, and English National Opera collaboration Jakob Lenz, which brings the ENO to Hampstead for the first time to celebrate the 60th birthday of leading German composer Wolfgang Rihm between 17 and 27 April. The theatre is currently staging Simon Stephens’s darkly funny satire The Trial Of Ubu.

MA

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