Directed and adapted for the stage by Simon Reade, Private Peaceful has designs by Bill Talbot and sound by Jason Barnes. Casting will be announced shortly. The National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors will continue its run at the Haymarket from 1 October after this two-week break.
Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. During the night he looks back at his short but joyful past growing up in rural Devon: his exciting first days at school; the accident in the forest that killed his father; his adventures with Molly, the love of his life; and the battles and injustices of war that brought him to the front line.
Private Peaceful was inspired by a visit to Ypres where Morpurgo was shocked to discover how many young soldiers were court-martialled and shot for cowardice during the First World War. A film of the same name, with the screenplay adapted by Reade, is due for UK release in the autumn. Private Peaceful received its world premiere at the Bristol Old Vic in 2004 prior to sell out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004. Then, produced by Scamp Theatre, it played three more sell out Edinburgh seasons in 2007, 2009 and 2011, as well as Trafalgar Studios in the West End in 2005 and 2007, and four hugely successful UK tours in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The production has also played off-Broadway, Hong Kong, The Dublin International Festival and the New Zealand International Festival.
Michael Morpurgo, the author of over 100 books, was Children’s Laureate from 2003-05. He received both the Blue Peter Book of the Year and Children’s Book Award for Private Peaceful, the latter he also received for Kensuke’s Kingdom. Morpurgo’s other novels include The Wreck of the Zanzibar, for which he won the Whitbread Children’s Novel Award, The Butterfly Lion, for which he won the Smarties Prize and Writers’ Guild Award, The War of Jenkin’s Ear and Why the Whales Came. Most recently Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, adapted for the stage has been performing to critical acclaim in the West End, on Broadway and in Toronto, and last year saw the release of the film directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Simon Reade has previously adapted Michael Morpurgo's Toro! Toro! for Salisbury Playhouse, The Mozart Question for Scamp Theatre’s UK tour, Twist of Gold for Polka Theatre and he wrote the BBC radio play and feature film screenplay of Private Peaceful . His other plays include Philip Pullman's The Scarecrow and His Servant for Southwark Playhouse, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for Bristol Old Vic for which he won the TMA Award, Pride & Prejudice for Theatre Royal Bath Productions, and Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children both for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The National Theatre presents Private Peaceful, a Scamp Theatre production in association with Poonamallee Productions, by arrangement with the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
The National Theatre’s award-wining production of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse is currently playing at the New London Theatre, booking to 26 October 2013. War Horse is also playing on Broadway and in Toronto. An Australian production will open later this year as well as an American Tour. In autumn 2013 a UK Tour is due to commence. The National’s One Man, Two Guvnors is currently booking at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 12 January 2013. As well as the concurrent Broadway production, a UK tour will begin in October this year. Private Peaceful will play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket whilst the current cast of One Man, Two Guvnors take a contractual holiday.
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