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Be at the opening of Kneehigh classic

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 23, 2013

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FIRST performed in 2006 at Restormel Castle, Tristan & Yseult is one of Kneehigh's best-loved – and critically acclaimed – shows.

Since then it has toured to places as diverse as the Eden Project, the National Theatre, Sydney Festival, the New Zealand International Arts Festival, and Spoleto Festival in South Carolina.

For this new tour, six years after it was last staged, Kneehigh will visit three key partner venues in the UK – West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Hall for Cornwall (June 25 to 29) and Bristol Old Vic – before heading off to the States, where they have recently had fantastic success with The Wild Bride.

As well as returning to the Berkeley Rep theatre in San Francisco, this show will also be going to The Guthrie in Minneapolis and the Chicago Shakespeare theatre.

The company will be in America from November until April.

Reviving this classic show is no small task and the company will be bedded down at the Kneehigh barns in Gorran Haven for the next month, reinventing and breathing new life into the ancient Cornish story of love, loss, and betrayal.

As with their recent revival of The Wild Bride in New York, director Emma Rice will ensure that while the beauty and magic of the show is retained, the show evolves and adapts to the new company.

Several of the original cast are returning: Tristan Sturrock (Brief Encounter), whose one-man show Mayday Mayday has just finished a much-lauded run in New York, will be playing the part of the enigmatic Tristan, and Mike Shepherd, founder and co-artistic director of Kneehigh, reprises his role as the Cornish King Mark.

Giles King and Craig Johnson also return as King Mark's right-hand man Frocin and Yseult's long-suffering 'lady'-in-waiting Brangian. They are joined by Kneehigh musicians Stu Barker and Ian Ross.

Carly Bawden (My Fair Lady, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) will be Whitehands, and Yseult, the beautiful and tragic heroine, will be played by Patrycja Kujawska (The Red Shoes, The Wild Bride).

As well as Tristan & Yseult, another of Kneehigh's best-loved shows is making a comeback this year. Brief Encounter will tour Australia from September to December, and then goes on to the new Wallis Annenberg Centre in LA and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington in the spring of next year.

Paul Crewes, chief executive and executive producer of Kneehigh, said: "It is amazing to take our work to audiences around the world who respond so positively and passionately.

"Working with new collaborators in Australia and America brings a fresh energy and spirit to the work. Developing those relationships is very productive and opens up many opportunities for the future.

"To see our work performed in Bogata, Sao Paulo, New York, Sydney and San Francisco as well as the UK, is very fulfilling and inspiring."

To celebrate the return of Tristan & Yseult, What's On has two pairs of tickets to give away to the opening night at the Hall for Cornwall on June 25. To win, tell us who performs the song Love Letter, which appears in the show. Is it:

The Birthday Party

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds


Answers, marked Tristan, to whatsoncornwall@c-dm.co.uk by Wednesday, May 29, complete with contact details. Alternatively send them by post to Lee Trewhela, What's On, Highwater House, City Wharf, Malpas Road, Truro, TR1 1QH. See Notices for terms and conditions.

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