Last part of Wolf Hall trilogy heading to West End stage this autumn

Last Updated on 21 May 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

The stage adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, the third part of her Wolf Hall trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, opens at London’s Gielgud Theatre in September

Ben Miles Nathaniel Parker Wolf Hall
Ben Miles and Nathaniel Parker. Photos: Keith Pattison

The final part of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall stories about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII is coming to the stage, with Ben Miles and Nathaniel Parker returning to the lead roles.

The Mirror and the Light, based on the third book in Mantel’s award-winning trilogy, will run at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End from 23 September for a strictly limited season until 28 November. Tickets go on sale on 27 May.

Adapted for the stage by Mantel and Miles, it follows the stage adaptations of the first two novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which sold out their London runs in 2014 and transferred to Broadway. Parker won an Olivier Award and was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance.

Jeremy Herrin, who was nominated for an Olivier Award for the first two productions, returns to direct. It is produced by Playful Productions and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

The books and plays chart the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the ruthless court of Henry VIII. The third play picks up in 1536 when Anne Boleyn’s fate has been sealed by the executioner. Jane Seymour must deliver King Henry a healthy heir and, to the disgust of Henry’s nobles, Cromwell continues his ruthless ascent from the gutters of Putney to the highest rank beside his master. But with the threat of invasion and the King’s legacy tottering, Cromwell is vulnerable and his enemies are poised to strike.

The production will feature scenic and costume design by Christopher Oram, who won both Olivier and Tony Awards for his work on Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, while music is composed by Stephen Warbeck.

Matthew Byam Shaw, producer for Playful Productions, said: “Hilary Mantel and Ben Miles have created a taut and fast-paced final instalment to this epic trilogy. It is wonderful that Jeremy Herrin and Christopher Oram will once again bring the work to life, reuniting with Ben and Nathaniel Parker as Cromwell and Henry VIII.

“It feels especially good to be presenting this play now as the country re-emerges from a very difficult year. We hope that it brings a palpable feeling of excitement to theatre audiences once again.”

Gregory Doran, artistic director of the RSC, added: “Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies were welcomed with extraordinary enthusiasm and excitement back in 2014 and audiences have waited patiently to see the third and final part. It’s a much anticipated theatrical climax to an epic and ambitious work, and we can’t wait to open and share it with audiences in the West End this year.”

Opening the show is subject to the Government allowing indoor performances to begin with sufficient notice, understanding what restrictions on social distancing and audience number caps are imposed, the public health status, and the availability of insurance cover either from the market or more likely from a government indemnity scheme.

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.