The Divide is an epic five-part satire of the sexes written for more than thirty voices. A world exclusive semi-staged reading, featuring a cast of 18 from Ayckbourn’s Confusions and Hero’s Welcome plus special guest appearances, takes place on Sunday 27 September.
Alan Ayckbourn says: “I wanted to challenge the director in me to write something that was ‘unstageable’. The Divide could be a radio play, a movie or I’d love to reinvent it as a full production but it’s so big that, as far as I know, this will be a unique one-off, the one occasion anyone will get a chance to see, hear or experience it.
“I’ve written it for younger audiences, it’s less Game of Thrones, more social satire. It’s a dystopian fantasy set in a completely reimagined world where men and women live separately.”
Not so long ago, let it not be forgotten, as decreed by The Preacher, Men and Women lived apart on separate sides of the Divide in segregated isolation. The celebrated novelist Soween Clay-Flin recalls this period in our recent history with dramatised readings based on documents of the period, including her own personal diary as a young girl who lived through it and survived to tell the tale.
The Divide will see the writer and director reunited with actors from previous Stephen Joseph Theatre productions. Heather Stoney (Lady Ayckbourn), whose last Ayckbourn role was in the 1985 premiere of Woman In Mind, appears in the mature role of lead character Soween Clay-Flin, also played by Terenia Edwards from the upcoming world premiere of Hero’s Welcome and young actress Velvet Hebditch.
|Alan Ayckbourn with Heather Stoney, Terenia Edwards & Velvet Hebditch|
Copyright: James Drawneek
The gala reading will support the commissioning and production of new work at the theatre. It can be seen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Sunday 27 September from 3pm to approximately 9.30pm and will include three intervals and a supper break.
Tickets, priced from £15 to £60 (£60 includes picnic supper – limited availability), are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.