Keira Knightley and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss will star in Lillian Hellman’s drama The Children’s Hour when it opens in the West End early in 2011.
The A-list cast will be directed by Ian Rickson, who most recently earned critical acclaim for the multi award-winning play Jerusalem. Venues, dates and full casting are yet to be announced by producers Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott Landis.
Hellmen’s 1934 drama tells the story of Karen Wright (Knightley) and Martha Dobie (Moss) and the all-girls boarding school they have spent years establishing. With the school flourishing and Karen on the verge of marriage, their lives and loves finally appear secure. However, when malicious student Mary runs away from the school and seeks to avoid being sent back, she draws on hearsay, gossip and her own imagination to concoct a story that threatens the school, the marriage and their entire futures.
Knightley made her stage debut last year in The Misanthrope at the Comedy theatre and received a 2010 Laurence Olivier Award nomination for her performance. As one of Britain’s most famous young actresses, Knightley has starred in numerous films including The Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy, Atonement, The Duchess and Love Actually. Her latest film, Never Let Me Go, opened the London Film Festival earlier this month.
Having made her Broadway debut in Speed-The-Plow in 2008, The Children’s Hour will mark Moss’s first foray into London theatre. The American actress is best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Peggy Olson in the popular television series Mad Men. As well as also appearing in the hit series The West Wing, Moss has film credits including Get Him To The Greek, Girl Interrupted and the forthcoming On The Road and Darling Companion.
Rickson was Artistic Director of the Royal Court from 1998-2006 and had successes with West End and Broadway transfers of The Weir, Mojo and The Seagull. The Laurence Olivier Award-nominated director has also worked at the National Theatre with productions including The Hothouse and The Day I Stood Still.