Hampstead Theatre to stage plays by Tennessee Williams and Tom Wells

Last Updated on 18 May 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

A revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play and a new play, Big Big Sky by Tom Wells, are to be staged this summer at Hampstead Theatre in London

Hampstead Theatre Two Character Play and Big Big Sky

Hampstead Theatre has announced it is to stage a lesser-known Tennessee Williams play and a new work by Tom Wells.

The revival of Williams’ The Two Character Play, which had its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre in 1967, will run on the main stage from 17 July until 28 August, directed by Sam Yates.

Wells’ Big Big Sky will have its world premiere at the smaller Hampstead Downstairs from 30 July to 11 September, directed by Tessa Walker, Hampstead Theatre’s new associate director.

Both productions will have reduced capacity and social distancing for the duration of their runs even if national restrictions are lifted. Tickets will go on sale from Thursday 20 May at 10.30am.

Roxana Silbert, artistic director and joint chief executive of Hampstead Theatre, said: “Hampstead Theatre has historically embraced playwrights at all stages of their careers. Tennessee Williams was at the height of his when he chose to offer the world premiere of The Two Character Play, a very personal play, to James Roose Evans to direct.

“It speaks volumes of the regard in which he held Hampstead as a leading artistic space for experimental work and I am excited by Sam’s vision for this gem from our Originals series.

“Tom Wells’ play is a very different theatrical voice: naturalistic, understated, bursting with humour and humanity.”

The Two Character Play, later rewritten and staged as Out Cry for its US premiere, is a psychological thriller about a brother and sister, both actors, who find themselves abandoned by the rest of their troupe on an empty stage with an expectant audience.

The creative team includes designer Rosanna Vize, lighting designer Lee Curran, sound designer Dan Balfour, video designer Akhila Krishnan, movement director Malik Nashad Sharpe, assistant director Lizzie Manwaring and casting director Stuart Burt. The cast is yet to be announced.

Big Big Sky is described as a beautifully tender new play that explores nature’s influence on love, friendship and family – the belief that anyone who is lost can be found, even in the remotest of places.

Set in his hometown of Kilnsea in East Yorkshire, Wells’ touching drama draws on the beauty of his local coastal landscape while also subtly highlighting the vulnerability of nature and the need for better care.

Wells, whose previous plays include The Kitchen Sink, Drip and Ghosting, said: “I’m really delighted to be working again with Tessa Walker – our first time together at Hampstead Theatre – with Big Big Sky. It feels properly special to be making theatre again, and making it with such a brilliant director.

“The play is set in Kilnsea, where I grew up and where my mum and dad still live. It’s a small village on the very edge of East Yorkshire, windswept and sea-nibbled, but it has its own beauty, I think – a bit peaceful, a bit restorative. Fingers crossed Big Big Sky can bring a bit of this to audiences in Hampstead. Also a few jokes about oat slice, and some line dancing. I think probably we need those at the moment too.”

The cast features Jennifer Daley, Jessica Jolleys, Sam Newton and Matt Sutton, with a creative team including designer Bob Bailey, lighting designer Jai Morjaria and sound designer Laura Howard.

Hampstead Theatre reopens on 28 May with a revival of Alfred Fagon’s darkly compelling drama, The Death of a Black Man.


About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.