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Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James to star in Lyonesse

Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP) is delighted to announce that Kristin Scott Thomas (Electra, Darkest Hour) and Lily James (All About Eve, Pam & Tommy) will star in the world premiere of Lyonesse, a searingly funny and passionate new play by Penelope Skinner (The Village Bike, Fresh Meat) directed by Ian Rickson (Jerusalem, Uncle Vanya). Lyonesse will play a strictly limited season from 17 October – 23 December 2023 at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Tickets go on sale at midday on Thursday 29 June 2023.

Kristin Scott Thomas - Credit Jon Compson.
Kristin Scott Thomas – Credit Jon Compson.

Elaine (Kristin Scott Thomas) a reclusive and talented actress, disappears in mysterious circumstances. 30 years later, she finally feels ready to tell her story – summoning Kate, a young film executive (Lily James), to her remote Cornish home to assist with her glorious comeback.

But who really controls the stories we tell, and how we get to tell them? Will these women own their narrative, or will it be swept away from them at any given moment?

Lyonesse is a powerful story for our times by Penelope Skinner, winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for The Village Bike, and whose other works for stage include Angry Alan, Meek, Linda, The Ruins of Civilisation, Fred’s Diner, Eigengrau and F*cked. For screen, she was a writer on four seasons of Fresh Meat (Channel 4), wrote the film How I Live Now and, along with her sister Ginny Skinner, has created and written the upcoming TV thriller The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies (Sister/BBC1).

Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James join forces for the first time on stage for Lyonesse after appearing together in the Oscar and BAFTA winning film Darkest Hour (Working Title Films/ Universal) and screen adaptation of Daphne De Maurier’s Rebecca (Netflix/ Working Title). The play also reunites long-time collaborators Ian Rickson and Scott Thomas following their work together on The Seagull (Royal Court/ Broadway – for which Scott Thomas won an Olivier for her performance), Electra (Old Vic) and West End productions of Betrayal and Old Times (both produced by SFP). This will be Rickson’s twelfth collaboration with SFP including celebrated West End productions such as Jerusalem, Rosmersholm, Walden, The Children’s Hour and The Birthday Party. James last appeared on stage in the SFP production of All About Eve (West End).

Lily JamesLyonesse will be designed by Georgia Lowe, with lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, music by Stephen Warbeck and sound by Tingying Dong.

Penelope Skinner said: ‘I am thrilled to be working with Ian Rickson to bring this story to life, alongside such a remarkable cast and creative team. I’m a huge admirer of both Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James, and am so grateful for Sonia Friedman’s faith and vision in giving this new play a home in the West End. I was inspired to write Lyonesse after wondering what would happen if the dramatic action of a traditional revenge tragedy was flipped, so that the story instead became about the person upon whom revenge had been sworn. Themes of creativity, purpose, isolation, violence, magic and mothers rushed to join in with this central provocation, and the characters of the story came into being.’

Kristin Scott Thomas said: ‘Working with Ian is one of the great joys of my professional life. And a new play is such an adventure. Penelope Skinner’s writing had me gripped from the first page. I love the questions the story raises. Acting with Lily is starting to become a habit. Luckily it’s good for everyone!

Lily James said: ‘I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful company. I have always wanted to work with Ian Rickson. When I received Penelope Skinner’s brilliant play, I read it in one sitting and adored it – I was utterly gripped by these strong, original characters. To work with Sonia Friedman again is an absolute dream but most importantly, I am so happy to be reunited with my friend, Kristin Scott Thomas.’

BAFTA and Olivier winning actor Kristin Scott Thomas has extensive credits across stage and screen including the films The English Patient (for which she was Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated), Four Weddings and a Funeral (for which she won a BAFTA and Evening Standard British Film Award), Darkest Hour (for which she was nominated for a BAFTA), Nowhere Boy (for which she was BAFTA and BIFA nominated), Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (for which she was Golden Globe, BAFTA and César nominated), A Handful of Dust, Angels and Insects and Partir (for all of which she won Evening Standard British Film Awards and for Partir was also César nominated) and Gosford Park. On television she was nominated for an Emmy for her role in Fleabag and also recently starred in Talking Heads (BBC) and two series of Slow Horses (Apple TV) with the third soon to be released. Her debut feature film as a director, North Star, in which she also stars, will also be released soon. On stage, she won the Olivier for Best Actress for her performance in The Seagull (Royal Court/ Broadway) and was nominated for her roles in Electra (Old Vic), Three Sisters, Betrayal and Old Times (all West End). Other notable stage roles include playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience (West End).

Lily James is best known for her roles in films such as Baby Driver, Cinderella, The Dig, Yesterday, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Darkest Hour, What’s Love Got To Do With It and TV dramas including Pam & Tommy (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and Emmy Award), War and Peace, Rebecca, The Pursuit of Love and Downton Abbey. Upcoming films released later this year include Relay, The Iron Claw and Finalmente l’alba. On stage she most recently appeared in All About Eve (West End). Other theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (Kenneth Branagh Season, West End) and Vernon God Little (Young Vic).

LISTINGS
Sonia Friedman Productions presents
Lyonesse
Written by Penelope Skinner
Directed by Ian Rickson
Designed by Georgia Lowe
Lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun
Music by Stephen Warbeck
Sound by Tingying Dong

Harold Pinter Theatre
Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN

First performance: 17 October 2023
Final performance: 23 December 2023
Press night: 25 October 2023

Related News & Reviews Past & Present

  1. Full Casting Announced for Lyonesse at the Harold Pinter Theatre
  2. Kristin Scott Thomas receives her damehood from the Queen today
  3. Lyonesse at the Harold Pinter Theatre | Review
  4. All About Eve starring Gillian Anderson and Lily James rehearsal images
  5. All About Eve – Gillian Anderson & Lily James

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