As the culmination of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, a new stage adaptation of one of his best loved novels, GREAT EXPECTATIONS will begin a national tour, prior to London's West End, opening at the Richmond Theatre on 13 September.
Jack Ellis (Harry Mason in Coronation Street, Robert Ashford in Where the Heart Is, and Jim Fenner in Bad Girls, as well as appearing in the West End in A Few Good Men with Rob Lowe and SurAnne Jones and an international tour of Richard III with Kevin Spacey, directed by Sam Mendes) will star as Jaggers, Chris Ellison (Frank Burnside in The Bill) as Magwitch, and Paul Nivison as Adult Pip, with Paula Wilcox (Hilary Potts in Emmerdale, Lilian in The Smoking Room, and Chrissy in Man About the House) as Miss Havisham. Further casting to be announced.
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 like 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, with The Three Sisters forthcoming for 2012).
GREAT EXPECTATIONS will be directed and co-designed by Graham McLaren. Graham established the internationally acclaimed Theatre Babel. As Artistic Director from the company's beginning, he started directing and designing for the company in 1999. In 2005, he joined Perth Theatre, Scotland as Artistic and Co-Creative Director, where he remained until January 2008, after which he joined the Toronto-based theatre company Necessary Angel as an Associate Artist. Graham is an Associate Director for The National Theatre of Scotland and his production of A Christmas Carol for them has just won Best Production 2011/2012 at the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS will be co-designed by Robin Peoples, with lighting by Kai Fischer, original music by Simon Slater and sound by Matt McKenzie. Giovanni Bedin for House of Worth will be creating the couture elements of the show, including Miss Havisham's wedding dress. Charles Frederick Worth, the world's first official couturier, was a contemporary of Charles Dickens.
Dickens Trust is being launched alongside the show and will receive a royalty share of box office. Set up 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.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is represented by Beer & Partners Limited and sponsored by House of Worth and Rocco Venezia. The new adaptation will be published by Nick Hern Books (www.nickhernbooks.co.uk).