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The York Realist - Donmar Warehouse

Ben Batt in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse. Photographer Craig Fleming.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE YORK Realist, by Peter Gill, is the second production in the Donmar’s new 2017/2018 season and it runs from February 13 (previews from February 8) to March 24, 2018.

I live here. I live here. You can’t see that, though. You can’t see it. This is where I live. Here.

A cottage, 1960s Yorkshire. The York Mystery plays are in rehearsal. Farmhand George strains against his roots as a new world opens up to him.

Peter Gill’s influential play about two young men in love is a touching reflection on the rival forces of family, class and longing.

Robert Hastie directs a cast that includes Ben Batt (as George), Lucy Black (Barbara), Lesley Nicol (Mother), Katie West (Doreen) and Matthew Wilson (Arthur).

Ben Batt returns to the Donmar Warehouse following his role in Making Noise Quietly. His theatre credits elsewhere include Woyzeck (Old Vic), A Streetcar Named Desire, As You Like It (Royal Exchange, Manchester), and The Funfair (HOME, Manchester).

Batt’s recent television credits include Prey, Barbarians Rising, From Darkness, The Go-Between, The Village (Series 2), From There to Here, Scott & Bailey, Prisoners Wives, Death in Paradise, and the forthcoming In The Dark. He has also appeared in the films The Windmill, Slapper and Me, Despite The Falling Snow, Coach, Electricity and A Running Jump.

Lucy Black’s many theatre credits include Strife (Chichester Festival Theatre), 3 Winters, Children of the Sun (National Theatre), Drawing the Line (Hampstead Theatre), A Taste of Honey (Edinburgh Lyceum), The Only True History Of Lizzie Fynn (Southwark Playhouse), Epsom Downs (Salisbury Playhouse), Cause Celebre (Old Vic), The Misanthrope, A Tender Player, How The Other Half Loves and Seed Of The Bauhinia (Bristol Old Vic) and Antony And Cleopatra, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Titus Andronicus and Three Sisters (Tobacco Factory).

On television, she has appeared in The Durrells, The Level, Casualty, Jericho, Call the Midwife, Granchester, EastEnders, Vera, Doctors, Holby City, The Bill, Waterloo Road, Wire In The Blood, The Royal, Bombshell and Murder In Mind.

Lesley Nicol’s theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (Palace Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre), Our House (Cambridge Theatre) and East is East (Royal Court), for which she also reprised her role in the BAFTA 1999 Best British Film adaptation of the play. Although she is best know on television for her role of Beryl Patmore in Downton Abbey, she has also appeared in The Catch, Shameless, Blackadder, Dinnerladies, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Inspector George Gently.

Katie West’s theatre work includes Uncle Vanya, Chamaco (HOME, Manchester), Lela & Co (Royal Court), Carmen Disruption (Almeida Theatre), Hamlet, Blind-Sided, Blithe Spirit (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Macbeth (Manchester International Festival/Park Avenue Armory, New York), A Taste of Honey (Sheffield Crucible) and Sense (Southwark Playhouse). Her screen credits include Inspector George Gently, Doctors, Without You and United (TV); Peterloo directed by Mike Leigh and Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh (film).

Matthew Wilson’s theatre credits include Snack Family Robinson (Rose Theatre Kingston), The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (New Vic Theatre), The God’s Weep and Othello (RSC), Psychogeography (Southwark Playhouse), Enemies (Almeida Theatre), The Romans in Britain (Sheffield Crucible) and Fair (Finborough Theatre). His numerous TV credits include Broken, Call the Midwife, Unforgotten, Vera, Poldark, Arthur & George, Endeavour, Sherlock and Mr Selfridge. He has also appeared in the films Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Inbetweeners.

Robert Hastie is Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse and the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres. For the Donmar he directed My Night with Reg, which transferred to the West End’s Apollo Theatre and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Revival; conceived and directed My Mark with writer Michelle Terry, a project dramatising interviews with primary school children across the country and coinciding with the 2015 and 2017 General Elections; and directed Splendour by Abi Morgan.

Peter Gill is a hugely influential and radical figure in British theatre; he is a renowned playwright and one of the most important directors of the last thirty years. Previous Donmar credits include Versailles, 2014 (writer and director), Making Noise Quietly, 2012 (director), Small Change, 2009 (writer) and Days of Wine and Roses, 2005 (director).

A Donmar Warehouse and Sheffield Theatres co-production, The York Realist will be designed by Peter McKintosh, with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Emma Laxton. Composer is Richard Taylor.

Image: Ben Batt in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse. Photographer Craig Fleming.