The Watermill Theatre has announced the World Stage Premiere of A Bunch of Amateurs by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, opening on Thursday 22 May 2014, with press night on Monday 26 May at 7.30pm.
Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford only to find that this is not the birthplace of the Bard but a sleepy Suffolk village and the cast are a bunch of amateurs. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested by the enthusiastic amateur thespians – who are not averse to a spot of ego, vanity and insecurity themselves. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself and his relationships with other people… along with his inner Lear!
A Bunch of Amateurs is a 2008 British comedy film starring Burt Reynolds, Samantha Bond, Derek Jacobi and Imelda Staunton, which received its World Premiere in a gala opening attended by Her Majesty the Queen. Based on an original story by Jonathan Gershfield and John Ross, writers Ian Hislop and Nick Newman are now revisiting their screenplay to recreate it for the intimate stage of The Watermill Theatre.
Ian Hislop is a British journalist, comedian, writer, broadcaster and editor of the magazine Private Eye. He has appeared on countless radio and television programmes, and is perhaps best known as team captain on the BBC’s comedy quiz show Have I Got News for You.
Nick Newman is best known for his work as a satirical cartoonist, working regularly for Private Eye since 1981, and as pocket cartoonist for The Sunday Times since 1989. His cartoons and strips have appeared in many other publications including Punch and The Spectator.
As writers, Ian and Nick have collaborated for over 30 years, with co-writing credits including Spitting Image, Murder Most Horrid for Dawn French, two series of My Dad’s the Prime Minister for BBC1, sketches for The Harry Enfield Show and the BBC Radio 4 series Gush.
A Bunch of Amateurs is directed by Caroline Leslie with design by Tom Rogers and music by Paul Herbert. The cast features Emily Bowker as Lauren, Eleanor Brown as Jessica and Sarah Moyle as Mary, with further casting to be announced. It is presented by The Watermill In association with Trademark Films.
The Watermill is a local theatre with a national reputation. From a converted watermill in rural West Berkshire seating just 220 people, The Watermill creates award-winning work that is recognised throughout the UK and abroad, with a bold artistic ambition to present a range of work from Shakespeare, classic plays and new writing to the reimagining of large-scale musicals. Alongside West End and Broadway transfers, and national and international tours, The Watermill also creates productions for small-scale touring, ensuring that those living in rural isolation are able to enjoy high quality theatre on their doorstep. Attracting the very best artists and creative teams, both established and at the early stages of their careers, The Watermill has earned itself a reputation as one of the very best producing theatres in the country.
THE WATERMILL THEATRE
Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8AE
Press Night: Monday 26 May at 7.30pm
Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Saturday 28th June performances at 1.30pm and 6.30pm
Tickets: £14.50 – £26
Box Office: 01635 46044
Monday 31st March 2014