Birdsong UK tour – cast and extension announced

Edmund Wiseman as Stephen Wraysford and Cloudia Swann as Jeanne in the 2015 UK tour of Birdsong credit Jack Ladenburg (2)Peter Duncan, Edmund Wiseman and Emily Bowker head the cast of the 2015 national tour of Rachel Wagstaff’s stage play BIRDSONG, adapted from the novel by Sebastian Faulks, which will open on 4 February 2015 at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. The tour has been extended by a week, and will now play Richmond Theatre from 29 June – 4 July.

Peter Duncan returns to BIRDSONG as Jack Firebrace, having played the role in the 2014 tour. Though perhaps best known as a Blue Peter presenter, and most recently seen competing on BBC One’s Tumble, Peter began his acting career in the 1970s when he joined the National Theatre. Recent theatre credits include Denry Machin in The Card (for which he received an Olivier nomination for Best Actor in a Musical), Alan Ayckbourn‘s Things We Do For Love, the twins in Corpse, Stan Laurel in Laurel and Hardy, Macduff in Macbeth and Fantastic Mr Fox, both at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, and the title role in Charlie Peace – His Amazing Life And Outstanding Legend at Nottingham Playhouse and Coventry Belgrade’s B2.

Edmund Wiseman, whose recent theatre credits include Richard II (RSC/Barbican), Duchess of Malfi (White Bear Theatre) and Filumena (Almeida), and Emily Bowker, whose recent roles include A Bunch of Amateurs (The Watermill), What the Women Did (Two’s Company/Southwark Playhouse) and London Wall (Two’s Company/Finborough and St James Theatres), play the romantic leads of Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire. Also in the cast are Emily Altneu, Max Bowden (currently Justin Fitzgerald in BBC One’s Waterloo Road), Selma Brook, James Findlay (winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2010), Roger Martin, Liam McCormick, James Staddon, Cloudia Swann and Alastair Whatley.

Touring during the 100th anniversary of the First World War, BIRDSONG tells a mesmerising story of love and courage, before and during the war. In pre-war France, a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their worlds upside down. As the war breaks out, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war, Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle and the idyll of his former life as his world explodes around him.

The 2013 and 2014 tours were hugely successful and critically acclaimed, seen by over 130,000 people and receiving 4- and 5-star reviews, with audiences calling the show ‘simply stunning’. Sebastian Faulks was thrilled the show was re-mounted to tour again, and has previously stated: “Both Rachel and I want this to be the definitive version of Birdsong on stage. The audience watch it and think, thank God I have never undergone all of this. These experiences are far outside the lives of most people but there is something about the way the production works which makes people identify and think, it could be me…”

Rachel Wagstaff is currently co-writing two screenplays with Sebastian Faulks, one for Eleventh Hour Productions, and one for Bob & Co. She is also under commission to write a new musical for Vicky Graham Productions/Old Vic Productions, and writing a stage play for The Original Theatre Company. Rachel adapted Sebastian Faulks’s novel, The Girl at the Lion d’Or, for Radio Four (Woman’s Hour), and When I Lost You, an Afternoon Play for Radio Four, co-written with Duncan Abel, was featured on Pick of the Week last year.

BIRDSONG is again directed by Alastair Whatley, with set design by Victoria Spearing, lighting by Alex Wardle for Charcoalblue and sound by Dom Bilkey.

BIRDSONG is produced on tour by Alastair Whatley for The Original Theatre Company and Anne-Marie Woodley and Jon Woodley for Birdsong Productions Ltd.

Official BIRDSONG website:



10 – 14 February    ABERDEEN       His Majesty’s Theatre          01224 641122

17 – 21 February    BUXTON            Opera House                      0845 127 2190

23 – 28 February    NEWCASTLE     Northern Stage                   0191 230 5151

3 – 7 March            READING           The Hexagon                     0118 960 6060

10 – 14 March        DARLINGTON    Civic Theatre                     01325 486555

16 – 21 March        GUILDFORD      Yvonne Arnaud                  01483 440000

24 – 28 March        POOLE              The Lighthouse                  0844 4068666

13 – 18 April          LIVERPOOL      The Playhouse                   0151 709 4776

21 – 25 April          EDINBURGH      King’s Theatre                    0131 529 6000

27 April – 9 May     BRISTOL           Old Vic                               0117 987 7877

12 – 23 May           LEEDS               West Yorkshire Playhouse   0113 213 7700

*25 – 30 May          DERBY              Derby Theatre                     01332 59 39 39

1 – 5 June              PORTSMOUTH Kings Theatre                     023 9282 8282

8 – 13 June            HEREFORD       Courtyard Theatre              01432 340555

16 – 20 June          CREWE              Lyceum                              01270 368 242

22 – 27 June          SHREWSBURY  Theatre Severn                  01743 281281

29 June – 4 July     RICHMOND        Richmond Theatre             0844 871 7651

*New dates announced