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Watch a special virtual production of Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong adapted by Rachel Wagstaff

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 9 June 2020, Last Updated 9 June 2020

To mark the 104th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, there will be a special fully cast, abridged virtual production of Rachel Wagstaff’s highly acclaimed adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s best-selling novel Birdsong, streamed online on 1 July.

The critically acclaimed Original Theatre Company and Birdsong Productions production toured between 2013 and 2018, receiving 4-and5-star reviews and has been seen by over 250,000 people in over 75 theatres across the UK and in Ireland.

In Birdsong, audiences will follow the story of love and courage, before and during the war. In pre-war France, a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their worlds upside down. As the war breaks out, Stephen leads his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war, he clings to the memory of Isabelle and the idyll of his former life as his world explodes around him.

Catch these cast members in the Birdsong on 1 July

The cast, made up from members of the previous four companies, will include Tom Kay (Stephen Wraysford), Madeleine Knight (Isabelle Azaire), Tim Treloar (Firebrace), Liam McCormick (Arthur Shaw), Malcolm James (Captain Gray), Poppy Roe (Jeanne Fourmentier), Jeffrey Hamer (Colonel Barclay), Stephen Boxer (Rene Azaire), Olivia Bernstone (Lisette Azaire), Samuel Martin (Evans), Max Bowden (Private Tipper), Christopher Harper (Levi), James Findlay (Cartwright) and Tony Green (Military Policeman).

Fans of the book will also be pleased to learn that the performance will be introduced and narrated by Sebastian Faulks, with a special reading by him from his novel during the interval. 

Combining video technology, live performance, sound design, and music, the production will create a unique portrayal of one of the greatest love stories in modern literature. Moreover, the cast will be in full costume, with digitally designed scenes and lighting, making this the most ambitious online production yet. 

Directed by Alastair Whatley and Charlotte Peters, Birdsong Online will be raising money for The Royal British Legion, with tickets available from £10 and viewing limited to UK only.

The show will be released online via www.birdsongonline.co.uk at 7pm on 1 July and will then be available for a further 72 hours. Mark your calendars and get the popcorn ready, it’s going to be a goodun’! 

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