“Heartbreakingly beautiful, powerful and poignant”

The British Theatre Guide

Directed by
Mike Higginson

Production synopsis Birdsong is the critically acclaimed play, based on the world famous novel by Sebastian Faulks; it has been rarely seen outside the professional circuit so we are very privileged to be able to perform it.

Northern France, 1910, a young Englishman begins a passionate and dangerous love affair with the beautiful wife of his employer, with consequences neither of them can foresee.

When war comes, and he leads his men through the carnage of the Somme and deep underground, through the tunnels dug by his soldiers, he is tortured by his memories.

This is a mesmerising story of love and passion, courage and loss, for the lovers and for those around them, in the trenches and in the town of Amiens.

Below you can watch an interview with director Mike Higginson on this production. You can also watch Mike’s original pitch for Birdsong from our 2020 “Lockdown Launch”. (Please note that this video displays the original 2020 production dates).

Casting: The play is written to be played by 7 men and 4 women but with some doubling outside the principal parts. My starting point will be the suggested doubling in the script but I intend to be flexible so please be prepared to be flexible too!

Rehearsals: We will start no later than Monday 20 September (with the usual pattern of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and some Sundays) but it will be vital that you avoid conflicting commitments/holidays, or please declare them upfront!

Characters

Stephen Wraysford (Lieutenant) – age 25-35

Isabelle Azaire – age 25-40, elegant and kind-hearted

Jeanne Fourmentier – age 20-35, Isabelle’s younger sister, “family likeness” will be helpful.

Lisette – age 14-20, Isabelle’s daughter (will double as the prostitute)

Gregoire – age 14-18, Isabelle’s son (will double as Tipper)

Monsieur Azaire – age 40 -60 (will double)

Berard – age 40-60- M. Azaire’s neighbour, decent part (with possible add-ons)

Jack Firebrace (Soldier) – age 25-35, a key tragic figure throughout. It will be helpful if he can lead trench songs.

Turner (Soldier) – age 30-50- a small part in the trenches, but will probably double as either Azaire or Captain Gray which are larger parts

Shaw (Soldier) – age 25-40- the old hand in the trenches.

Evans (Soldier) – age 25-40- Welsh accent required

Tipper (Soldier) – age 18-20. The new recruit. Will double as the teenage Gregoire

All of the soldiers in the trenches must be able to crawl on hands and knees and be prepared to be blown up! The Soldiers, all except Jack, will have other roles.

Isabelle and the prostitute will show some bare flesh to the audience, but we will agree what is within your comfort zone and likely to be back view only.

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