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Alex Jennings to lead the cast in Stephen Beresford’s The Southbury Child at the Bridge Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ALEX Jennings will lead the cast in the world premiere of Stephen Beresford’s The Southbury Child. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, it runs at the Bridge Theatre from April 29 (previews from April 22) to June 27, 2020.

Raffish, urbane and frequently drunk, David Highland has kept a grip on his remote coastal parish through a combination of disordered charm and high-handed determination. But when his faith impels him to take a hard line with a bereaved parishioner, he finds himself dangerously isolated from public opinion.

As his own family begins to fracture and his marriage falls apart, David must face a future that threatens to extinguish not only his position in the town, but everything he stands for.

Stephen Beresford’s darkly comic new play is an exploration of family and community, the savage divisions of contemporary society and the rituals that punctuate our lives.

Alex Jennings will make his Bridge Theatre debut in The Southbury Child reuniting him with Nicholas Hytner who has previously directed him in Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, Collaborators, The Habit of Art, The Alchemist, The Winter’s Tale and The Importance of Being Earnest amongst others.

Jennings was last on stage in Hansard at the National Theatre where he has worked extensively as well as at the Royal Shakespeare Company. During his theatre career, he has been the recipient of three Olivier Awards.

His many screen credits include Prince Charles in The Queen, Alan Bennett in The Lady in the Van alongside Maggie Smith and directed by Hytner, the Duke of Windsor in The Crown and Stephen Friers’ A Very English Scandal.

Stephen Beresford’s writing credits include The Last of the Haussmans for the National Theatre, an adaptation of Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander for The Old Vic and the BAFTA-winning film Pride.

Nicholas Hytner co-founded the London Theatre Company with Nick Starr. He was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015 where the productions he directed included The History Boys, Hamlet, One Man, Two Guvnors and Othello. His films include The Madness of George III, The Lady in the Van and The History Boys. His book Balancing Acts is published by Jonathan Cape.

For the Bridge, Hytner has directed Young Marx, Julius Caesar, Allelujah!, Alys, Always, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Two Ladies. In July this year, also at the Bridge, he will direct Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage in Bryony Lavery’s new stage adaptation and in February 2021, he will direct Simon Russell Beale in Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman in a new version by Lucinda Coxon.

The Southbury Child will be designed by Mark Thompson, with sound by George Dennis and lighting by Max Narula. Further casting will be announced shortly.

Booking is now open for Bridge priority members with booking for advance members from February 27. Public booking opens at 10am on February 28, 2020.