Producers Playful Productions and the Royal Shakespeare Company have announced that the third and final novel in the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light has been adapted for the West End stage. The world premiere will run at the Gielgud Theatre from Thursday 23rd September for a strictly limited season until Sunday 28th November, with an Opening Night on Wednesday 6th October.
The play will be the concluding chapter of Dame Hilary Mantel’s multi-award-winning novels about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, all commissioned and developed for the stage by Playful Productions. The Olivier and Tony Award-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies were hailed as landmark and must-see theatrical events and sold out their London runs in 2014. The Mirror and the Light has been adapted for stage by Mantel herself alongside Ben Miles, who will return to his role as Cromwell to complete the trilogy. Nathaniel Parker joins him, resuming his Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated role as Henry VIII. Jeremy Herrin, who was nominated for an Olivier Award for the first two productions, returns to direct.
Wolf Hall won the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2009, and Bring Up the Bodies won in 2012, making Mantel the first woman ever to have received the award twice. Bring Up the Bodies also won the Costa Novel Award, the first time the same novel has won both this and the Man Booker.
The trilogy charts the riveting rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the ruthless court of Henry VIII.
England, 1536. Anne Boleyn’s fate has been sealed by the executioner. Jane Seymour must deliver King Henry a healthy heir. And to the disgust of Henry’s nobles, Thomas Cromwell continues his ruthless ascent from the gutters of Putney to the highest rank beside his master. But with the threat of invasion and the King’s legacy tottering, Cromwell is vulnerable and his enemies are poised to strike.
The further you climb, the harder you fall.
The production will feature scenic and costume design by Christopher Oram who won both Olivier and Tony Awards for his work on Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies and music by Stephen Warbeck.
Matthew Byam Shaw, Producer for Playful Productions, said: “I am delighted that we are able to bring this brilliant visceral play to the stage this autumn. Hilary Mantel and Ben Miles have created a taut and fast-paced final instalment to this epic trilogy. It is wonderful that Jeremy Herrin and Christopher Oram will once again bring the work to life, reuniting with Ben and Nathaniel Parker as Cromwell and Henry VIII. It feels especially good to be presenting this play now as the country re-emerges from a very difficult year. We hope that it brings a palpable feeling of excitement to theatre audiences once again.”
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director said: “We are thrilled to be opening the final part in the Wolf Hall trilogy this autumn working alongside Playful Productions, and with Hilary Mantel and Ben Miles on the fantastic adaptation. Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies were welcomed with extraordinary enthusiasm and excitement back in 2014 and audiences have waited patiently to see the third and final part. It’s a much anticipated theatrical climax to an epic and ambitious work, and we can’t wait to open and share it with audiences in the West End this year”.
Opening the show is subject to the government allowing indoor performances to begin by then with sufficient notice, understanding what restrictions on social distancing and audience number caps are imposed, the public health status, and the availability of insurance cover either from the market or more likely from a government indemnity scheme.
Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis & Nick Salmon for Playful Productions, and the Royal Shakespeare Company present
THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT
Adapted by Hilary Mantel and Ben Miles
London W1D 6AR
First preview: 23rd September 2021
Press Night: 6th October 2021
Final Performance: 28th November 2021
Performance times: Tues – Sat 19.30; Wed, Sat and Sun also at 14.30
Running time: Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes including an interval
Audio described performance:Tuesday 9th November, 19.30
Captions performance: Thursday 11th November, 19.30
Groups and schools rates available.