Renowned actor Simon Callow performs playwright and poet Frank McGuinness’ adaptation of De Profundis, Wilde’s letter to Lord Alfred Bosie from Reading Gaol.

H.M. Prison, Reading. Dear Bosie, After long and fruitless waiting I have determined to write to you myself, as much for your sake as for mine, as I would not like to think that I had passed through two long years of imprisonment without ever having received a single line from you, or any news or message even, except such as gave me pain.

De Profundis is Oscar Wilde’s searing and passionately eloquent meditation on his life, and address of love and reproach to his lover Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas. Imprisoned in Reading Gaol and forbidden from writing works of fiction, Wilde was permitted to write – though not to send – the ‘letter’ that became De Profundis “for medicinal purposes” by the prison governor. McGuinness describes it as ‘Wilde’s last great play’.

Simon Callow’s recent tour de force stage credits include Being Shakespeare, The Mystery Of Charles Dickens and Inside Wagner’s Head. He currently leads the TV series The Rebel, now in its second series. His other screen credits include Four Weddings And A Funeral, Shakespeare In Love, and Angels In America. He is also the author of several books, including Oscar Wilde And His Circle.

Frank McGuiness is an acclaimed playwright, poet and translator. He has won numerous awards and prizes throughout his distinguished career, including a Tony Award, an Irish PEN Award and the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Directed by Mark Rosenblatt, De Profundis runs Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 January 2018, as part of Classic Spring Company’s year-long celebration of the life and work of Oscar Wilde. Mark Rosenblatt was Associate at the National Theatre Studio from 2011 to 2013, and Associate Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 2013 to 2016.

De Profundis’ remarkable revelations come days after the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

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