Stoppard’s Arcadia revived in West End

Published March 20, 2009

Ed Stoppard is to appear in the first major revival of his father Tom Stoppard’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning play Arcadia, which plays at the Duke of York’s theatre from 27 May (press night 11 June).

Neil Pearson, Dan Stevens, Samantha Bond, Nancy Carroll and Jessie Cave star alongside Stoppard in the David Leveaux-directed production.

Arcadia, which premiered at the National Theatre in 1993 directed by Trevor Nunn, is set in April 1809 at a stately home in Derbyshire. Thomasina (Cave), a gifted pupil, proposes a startling theory beyond her comprehension. All around her the adults, including her tutor Septimus (Stevens), are preoccupied with secret desires, illicit passions and professional rivalries. Two hundred years later, academic adversaries Hannah (Bond) and Bernard (Pearson) are piecing together puzzling clues, curiously recalling those events of 1809 in their quest for an increasingly elusive truth.

Following its premiere, Arcadia won the 1994 Play of the Year Laurence Olivier Award and subsequently transferred to Broadway where it was Tony Award-nominated. One of Britain’s foremost contemporary playwrights, Stoppard’s numerous plays include Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, The Coast Of Utopia, The Real Thing, The Invention Of Love, Jumpers, Hapgood and, most recently, Rock ‘N’ Roll, which premiered at the Royal Court in 2006 and transferred to the Duke of York’s theatre and Broadway.

Ed Stoppard’s London stage credits include playing Hamlet in an English Touring Theatre production at the New Ambassadors theatre, plus productions of On The Rocks at the Hampstead theatre and The Glass Menagerie at the Apollo theatre.

Stevens was recently seen in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre and previously in The Vortex at the Apollo theatre and Hay Fever at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Also a regular on television, his work includes The Line Of Beauty and the BBC’s recent serialisation of Sense And Sensibility.

Both Bond and Pearson are regulars on the London stage. Bond – who is also well known for playing Miss Moneypenny in several James Bond films – has London stage credits including Donkeys’ Years, A Woman Of No Importance, Macbeth and Amy’s View. Pearson has been seen on stage in Uncle Vanya, Old Times, Cloaca, Benefactors and Closer, while his numerous screen appearances have included The State Within, Drop The Dead Donkey, Between The Lines and the film Bridget Jones’ Diary and its sequel.

Carroll has worked frequently with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre and has recently been seen on the London stage in Waste at the Almeida theatre. Cave, who makes her West End debut in this production, appeared in television’s Cranford and will soon feature in the new Harry Potter film.

Leveaux has previously directed Stoppard’s Jumpers and The Real Thing. His international career has incorporated London productions of No Man’s Land, Betrayal and Electra, plus numerous productions on Broadway including Nine, Anna Christie, Cyrano De Bergerac and The Glass Menagerie.

Arcadia opens at the Duke of York’s theatre following Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge, which closes on 16 May. It is booking until 12 September.

CB

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