Toby Jones and Niamh Cusack are to star in a new play about British artist Turner at the relocated Arcola theatre in January.
The Painter has been written by award-winning playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz to open the Arcola theatre’s new home in a converted factory near Dalston Junction. The building is the former home of paintmakers Reeves, suppliers of paint for artists including Turner.
Lenkiewicz’s drama follows the artist at the start of the 19th century when the young working class Cockney was on his way to becoming a painter who would change the landscape of art forever. Exploring his obsession with his work, his relationships with his parents and his competition with Constable, The Painter shows the passion of an artist on the threshold of superstardom.
Jones, who plays Turner, is a regular face on the London stage, with credits including Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre, Parlour Song at the Almeida theatre and The Play What I Wrote in the West End, for which he won a Laurence Olivier Award. His film work includes The Painted Veil, Frost/Nixon and W.
Cusack plays Turner’s mistress Sarah Danby. The Irish actress, who has worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, has recently been seen on the London stage in The Enchantment at the National Theatre and Dancing At Lughnasa at the Old Vic.
Playwright Lenkiewicz has a long association with the Arcola theatre as her first play, Soho – A Tale Of Table Dancers, opened the theatre’s original Dalston home in 2001. Her plays also include The Night Season and Her Naked Skin at the National Theatre and The Lioness as part of the Tricycle theatre’s Women, Power And Politics season.
The Painter is directed by the founder of the Arcola theatre, Mehmet Ergen.