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  • 14 June 2007

Dying tonight – new play charts an actor’s last stand


David Bradley stars in The Quiz

David Bradley stars in The Quiz

A new play by Richard Crane - dramatist and University of Sussex lecturer in creative writing - gets its world premiere this week as part of a special season at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne.

The one-man play, The Quiz, stars David Bradley, the Olivier Award-winning actor who won plaudits for his performance as King Lear and who also plays Harry Potter film regular Argus Finch.

The Quiz is part of a short Solo season of new work brought to the stage in collaboration with the New Vic theatre workshop, London, and with support from the Arts Council of England. It is directed by veteran David Giles, whose work includes TV's Forsyte Saga, The Mayor of Casterbridge and The Barchester Chronicles. His theatre work includes the play Goodbye Gilbert Harding, seen during its 2002 tour at the Theatre Royal, Brighton.

Bradley stars as a tour-weary actor performing in a play. His stage manager has gone missing, he's "had a few sherries" and outside, in the real world, planes are flying into buildings. He breaks away from the script to contemplate, among other things, his own ending: "'It was always your dream to conk out on stage, like Kean, Irving and Tommy Cooper. Will tonight be the night you transcend the text and make the ultimate leap?"

Richard Crane, who helped to set up the creative writing courses at the Centre for Continuing Education, University of Sussex, 13 years ago, is the recipient of nine Edinburgh Festival Fringe First awards. He has been Resident Dramatist at the National Theatre, Literary Manager at the Royal Court Theatre and Writer in Residence at HM Prison Bedford. His past theatre writing includes the Mutiny On the Bounty-inspired musical Mutiny! with David Essex, a stage adaptation of Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov (which starred Alan Rickman) and Bloody Neighbours for the National Theatre, with Hollywood-feted actress Brenda Blethyn.

The Quiz is produced in association with Eastbourne Theatres and the New Vic workshop, which is dedicated to discovering, developing, and producing entirely new work for the stage. Formed in 1997 by Tony Milner and Moira Brooker, its past successful productions include Four Knights in Knaresborough, Goodbye Gilbert Harding and Telstar. The Quiz will go on national tour next year, before beginning a run in London's West End.

To find out if it really is the final curtain Richard Crane's actor on the brink, or if he manages to pull off the performance of a lifetime, book your ticket for one of three weekend performances (details below).

Notes for editors

  • The Quiz by Richard Crane is performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne Saturday 16 June at 2.30pm and again at 7.45pm; Sunday 17 June 2.30pm. Tickets £12 (£5 students) Tel: 01323 412000. Online booking www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk.
University of Sussex press office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing, tel: 01273 678 888 or email press@sussex.ac.uk

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