Paul Chequer and Mark Quartley will share the title role in Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful which will have a strictly limited run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 18 – 29 September 2012. Directed and adapted for the stage by Simon Reade, award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful has designs by Bill Talbot and sound by Jason Barnes.
Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. During the night he looks back at his short but joyful past growing up in rural Devon: his exciting first days at school; the accident in the forest that killed his father; his adventures with Molly, the love of his life; and the battles and injustices of war that brought him to the front line.
Paul Chequer can be seen later this year as Corporal in the Private Peaceful feature film. His National Theatre credits include Michael Morpurgo's War Horse where he played young solider David Taylor in the original cast, England People Very Nice and Tales from Vienna Woods. His other theatre credits include The Water Engine for Theatre 503, A Midsummer Night's Dream for The Royal Shakespeare Company and A Woman of No Importance for the Royal Exchange Theatre. His television his credits include Torchwood, Sherlock and Sinchronicity. Chequer has previously performed Private Peaceful on stage at the Bristol Old Vic.
Mark Quartley graduated from RADA in 2010. He has subsequently appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Measure for Measure and Written on the Heart for the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Tempest for the Theatre Royal Bath. He has previously performed Private Peaceful on tour nationwide as well as on BBC Radio 4. He was last in the West End in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Written on the Heart at the Duchess Theatre.
Private Peaceful was inspired by a visit to Ypres where Morpurgo was shocked to discover how many young soldiers were court-martialled and shot for cowardice during the First World War. A film of the same name, with the screenplay adapted by Reade, is due for UK release in the autumn. Private Peaceful received its world premiere at the Bristol Old Vic in 2004 prior to sell out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004. Then, produced by Scamp Theatre, it played three more sell out Edinburgh seasons in 2007, 2009 and 2011, as well as Trafalgar Studios in the West End in 2005 and 2007, and four hugely successful UK tours in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The production has also played off-Broadway, Hong Kong, The Dublin International Festival and the New Zealand International Festival.
Michael Morpurgo, author of over 100 books, was Children's Laureate from 2003-05. He received both the Blue Peter Book of the Year and Children's Book Award for Private Peaceful, the latter he also received for Kensuke's Kingdom. Morpurgo's other novels include The Wreck of the Zanzibar, for which he won the Whitbread Children's Novel Award, The Butterfly Lion, for which he won the Smarties Prize and Writers' Guild Award, The War of Jenkin's Ear and Why the Whales Came. Most recently the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse has been performing to critical acclaim in the West End, on Broadway and in Toronto, and last year saw the release of the film adaptation directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Simon Reade has previously adapted Michael Morpurgo's Toro! Toro! for Salisbury Playhouse, The Mozart Question for Scamp Theatre's UK tour, Twist of Gold for Polka Theatre and he wrote the BBC radio play and feature film screenplay of Private Peaceful . His other plays include Philip Pullman's The Scarecrow and His Servant for Southwark Playhouse, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for Bristol Old Vic for which he won the TMA Award, Pride & Prejudice for Theatre Royal Bath Productions, and TEd Hughes' Tales from Ovid and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children both for the Royal Shakespeare Company.