News: Alex Jennings to star in world premiere of The Southbury Child at the Bridge Theatre

Three-time Olivier award-winning Alex Jennings will lead the cast in the world premiere of The Southbury Child, the new play by BAFTA winner Stephen Beresford. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, the production will play at the Bridge Theatre next summer following an opening run at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Set designs are by Mark Thompson with costume by Yvonne Milnes, sound by George Dennis and lighting by Max Narula.

The Southbury Child will run at Chichester Festival Theatre from 13 to 25 June 2022, with press night on 17 June, and then at The Bridge from 1 July to 27 August 2022. Priority booking for the Bridge run opens at 10am today, 11 November 2021, with public booking opening at 10am on 16 November 2021. Tickets for the Chichester run will go on sale in early spring.

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. He 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 Frears’ 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.

For the Bridge Theatre Nicholas Hytner has directed Young Marx, Julius Caesar, Allelujah!, Alys, Always, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Ladies, Beat the Devil, The Shrine, Bed Among the Lentils, A Christmas Carol and Bach & Sons. Later this month, he will direct Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage in a new stage adaptation by Bryony Lavery and in March next year he will direct Ralph Fiennes in David Hare’s Straight Line Crazy, both also at The Bridge. Previously he was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015.

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