Following a highly successful national tour, a new stage adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations will open in London's West End at the Vaudeville Theatre on Wednesday 6 February 2013, following previews from 1 February. Although it is Dickens's most popular novel (Guardian Poll 2012) and having previously had many incarnations, including as a film, a television drama and even a stage musical, this will be the first time there has ever been a production of Great Expectations as a full-scale stage play in either the West End or on Broadway.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS, which was originally published between 1 December 1860 and 3 August 1861, has been adapted for the stage by Jo Clifford, who is one of Scotland's leading playwrights. She has been working in the theatre for over thirty years; she is the author of approximately 80 plays; her work has been translated into several languages and produced throughout the world. As John Clifford, his work with the Traverse Theatre in the eighties helped establish the international reputation of the Traverse, with plays including Losing Venice (Fringe First 1985), Lucy's Play, Playing with Fire, Inés de Castro and Light in the Village. Since transitioning to Jo, she has continued writing, notably Faust Part One, Faust Part Two and Every One for Royal Lyceum Edinburgh. She has also adapted The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard for Theatre Alba (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 and 2011).
The West End Première of Great Expectations will star Jack Ellis as Jaggers, Chris Ellison as Magwitch and Paula Wilcox as Miss Havisham. The cast of 14 also includes Paul Nivison as Adult Pip, Grace Rowe as Estella and Taylor Jay-Davies as Young Pip.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is directed by Graham McLaren, with set by Robin Peoples, costumes by Annie Gosney and Graham McLaren, lighting by Kai Fischer, original music by Simon Slater and sound by Matt McKenzie. Giovanni Bedin, Head Couturier for House of Worth, has worked with Annie Gosney on the creation of Estella's couture gowns for the show. Charles Frederick Worth, the world's first official couturier, was a contemporary of Charles Dickens.
The Dickens Legacy has been launched alongside the stage show to receive a royalty share of box office. Set up by the producer with Lucinda Dickens Hawksley (great, great, great grand-daughter of Charles Dickens), it will distribute funds to concerns dealing with issues Dickens was passionate about, for example, prison reform, adoption, literacy etc. The Dickens Legacy is also sponsoring Tuesday evening performances, when, for every full price adult ticket, a child under 16 goes free (subject to availability).
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is sponsored by House of Worth and Rocco Venezia. The new adaptation is published by Nick Hern Books (www.nickhernbooks.co.uk).
GREAT EXPECATIONS is produced by Bruce Athol MacKinnon on behalf of Beckman Unicorn Ltd & Satis House Productions Ltd.