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Edinburgh Lyceum to stage new play by David Haig

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World premieres of a new play by David Haig and an adaptation by Donna Franceschild of her BAFTA Award-winning Takin’ Over The Asylum are to be presented as part of the Royal Lyceum’s 2012/13 season.

Haig’s new play, about meteorologist James Stagg who set the date for the D-Day landings, will be staged in association with the Chichester Festival Theatre. It is one of four co-productions in a season which includes work with Dundee Rep, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.

Commenting on the season, which also includes Shelah Delaney’s A Taste of Honey and JB Priestley’s Time and the Conways, Lyceum artistic director Mark Thomson said: “They are all big society plays presented at a time when tough economics challenge us to consider what the most precious values of our society are. Theatre and its great writers have a lot to say in this debate.

“Human nature, how we imagine ourselves and who we reveal ourselves to be is the subject of our season’s canvas. Perhaps it always is, but it has a particularly focussed edge this year.”

The season opens with a new production of The Guid Sisters, the Scots translation by Bill Findlay and Martin Bowman of Michael Tremblay’s Les Belles-Soeures. Produced as a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland, it will be directed by Serge Denoncourt and the cast of 15 Scottish actors will include Kathryn Howden and Karen Dunbar.

Matthew Lenton of Vanishing Point will return to the Lyceum to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A newly commissioned version of Cinderella by rising Scottish pantomime star Johnnie McKnight will be the Christmas show. Former Lyceum assistant director Jemima Levick will return to direct Time and the Conways as a co-production with Dundee Rep.

Takin Over the Asylum will be presented as a co-production with the Citizens. The original TV serial starred David Tennant and Ken Stott as a double-glazing salesman and a DJ reviving a hospital radio station in a fictional mental institution.

Commenting on her new adaptation, Franceschild said: “A lot’s changed since Takin’ Over the Asylum was aired in 1994. This stage version is set in a world of mobile phones, the internet and zillions of channels of digital television. But two things haven’t changed. Sixties Soul Music is still the Greatest Popular Music of All Time (fact, not opinion!). And people with mental health problems are still stigmatised, discriminated against in the workplace, depicted as ‘disability junkies’, ignored, shunned, even physically assaulted.”

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