The first London production in nearly 75 years of Welsh playwright Emlyn Williams’ The Wind of Heaven opens at the Finborough Theatre for a four-week Christmas season on Tuesday, 26 November 2019.
Dilys Parry lives in Blestin, a Welsh mountain village which has no children and worships no god since a disaster snatched away all its youth.
Inconsolable since her husband died in the Crimean War, Dilys is gradually re-awakened to life when a prophet-like child working in her household is called by God to serve the world.
In the wake of vast social inequality and a mismanaged war, one small community rediscovers its lost faith, with startling consequences for the village, and the world beyond…
A parable about healing the wounds inflicted by a national trauma, The Wind of Heaven was first produced in the West End in April 1945, just three weeks before the end of the Second World War in Europe, starring Emlyn Williams himself. It now receives its first London production in nearly 75 years at the Finborough Theatre, well known for its recent rediscoveries of Emlyn Williams’ work, including the multi-award-winning Accolade.
Playwright Emlyn Williams (1905-1987), dubbed “the Welsh Noël Coward”, was one of the most successful actor-dramatists of the 1930s and 1940s. His greatest works, Night Must Fall and The Corn Is Green, were made into films starring Albert Finney, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, and remain much revived. Williams’ plays have twice been rediscovered by the Finborough Theatre – The Druid’s Rest in 2009, and Blanche McIntyre’s multi-award-winning production of Accolade in 2011, which subsequently transferred to St James Theatre. Williams was a pioneering LGBTQ+ figure, and his remarkable life began in a working-class family in North Wales, where he spoke no English until the age of eight and could barely read or write. He lived much of his adult life in Dovehouse Street, a short walk from the Finborough Theatre.
Director Will Maynard’s work includes Open (VAULT 2019), Head-Rot Holiday (Hope Theatre), Tiger (VAULT 2018), Finding Mr Hart (Blackburn Exchange for the University of London) and Blavatsky’s Tower (Barons Court Theatre). Shorter plays include Classical Studies (Arcola Theatre), Crocodile (Old Red Lion Theatre), Sunflower (Bunker Theatre) and Gold Star (Hen and Chickens Theatre). Assistant Direction includes Bloody Poetry (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Mary Rose (Brockley Jack Theatre).
The cast features Louise Breckon-Richards, Rhiannon Neads, Kristy Philipps, Seiriol Tomos, David Whitworth, Jamie Wilkes and Melissa Woodbridge.
The Wind of Heaven plays at the Finborough Theatre from Tuesday, 26 November – Saturday, 21 December 2019.
Photo credit: Stefan Hanegraaf