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A World Elsewhere by Alan Franks at Theatre 503

Theatre 503Richard Nixon, Oxford University and the Vietnam War collide in a new play by journalist Alan Franks at Theatre503.

Former Times journalist Alan Franks, playwright and author of the recently acclaimed novel The Notes of Doctor Newgate, will premiere his new play A World Elsewhere at Battersea’s Theatre503. The play is set in an Oxford College in 1968, which is where Alan Franks once studied alongside former US President Bill Clinton. The play is a blistering examination of the world on the edge of yet another war and the institutional politics of one of the oldest universities in England. The production is directed by Sally Knyvette, who was the director of Judgement at Nuremberg at the Tricycle Theatre.

Oxford, Autumn 1968. A year on from the summer of love, America is exploding with rage against a long-running war in the Far East. Vietnam is rousing students from their hedonism and the bitter run-up to Richard Nixon’s inaugural presidential election looms large. In the University’s timeless quads the charismatic international post-graduate Elliott Farmer is leading the protests. This thrillingly intelligent play is a drama of politics on all levels – from international statesmanship, through to the dirty tricks of old rivals, and the rule-free warfare of the bedroom.

Alan Franks’ previous plays include The Mother Tongue, starring Prunella Scales (Greenwich Theatre), Previous Convictions (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), and Augusta (New End Hampstead). His novel, The Notes of Doctor Newgate, was made Guardian Book of the Week. He worked as a feature-writer for The Times for over thirty years, covering a wide of subjects, as well as interviewing many world figures in the arts, including Arthur Miller, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Cohen, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Tom Stoppard and Jonathan Miller. He has released five albums of his songs, which have been performed by him and also singer Patty Vetta.

Sally Knyvette’s directing credits include Judgement at Nuremberg at the Tricycle Theatre, together with 5 other productions at the venue as part of the Lawyers@Tricycle Company. She is also a well-known actress, probably best known for her performances as Kate Sugden in ITV’s Emmerdale, as well as Jenna in the Sci-Fi series Blake’s Seven which was broadcast between  1978 and 1981. Her theatre credits include The Presidential Suite (Edinburgh Festival) and King Lear (A Jonathan Miller production).

Directed by Sally Knyvette
Designed by Sarah Jane Booth
Cast: TBA
Tuesday 21 January – Saturday 15 February 2014
Times: 7.45pm Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm Sundays
Venue: Theatre503, 503 Battersea Park Road, SW11 3BW
Box Office: 020 7978 7040
Website: www.theatre503.com
Tickets: £15 (£12 Concessions), pay what you can on Sundays


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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