David Joss Buckley’s new play opens on 29 September, following previews from 24 September, and plays a limited season until 1 November.
Girl With A Pearl Earring tells the story of Johannes Vermeer (Dunbar), who hires the young Griet to help at his house. Before long she becomes more than a servant, helping in the studio and learning to paint from the master. Secretly Vermeer begins to paint her, and Griet becomes both model and muse for his greatest masterpiece, Girl With A Pearl Earring.
Dunbar’s most recent London theatre appearance came last year, when he took to the stage in hit comedy Boeing Boeing. The actor, whose films include The Crying Game and My Left Foot, has previously appeared at the Royal Court (King Lear, Saved, Pope’s Wedding) and the Young Vic (Ghosts).
Dunbar is joined in the cast of Girl With The Pearl Earring by Kimberley Nixon, who plays Griet. Nixon, who only graduated from the Royal Welsh College Of Music And Drama in 2007, is swiftly building an impressive reputation, having already appeared in BBC costume drama Cranford as Sophy and gained film credits in Wild Child and Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging. Girl With A Pearl Earring will be her professional theatre debut.
The play’s cast is completed by Sara Kestelman, Niall Buggy, Lesley Vickerage, Maggie Service, Jonathan Bailey and Flora Spencer-Longhurst. It is directed by Joe Dowling.
Tracy Chevalier’s novel, written in 1998, has previously been adapted as an Oscar-nominated film starring Colin Firth as the artist and Scarlett Johansson as his muse.
Playwright Buckley is an old hand at adaptations, having previously brought Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne and James M Cain’s Double Indemnity to the stage.
Girl With A Pearl Earring, which has a short run at the Cambridge Arts Theatre before its London transfer, follows new musical Marguerite into the Theatre Royal Haymarket. A tragic love story set during the Second World War, Marguerite will close on 13 September.