Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP) is delighted to announce that Kristin Scott Thomas (Electra, Darkest Hour) and Lily James (All About Eve, Pam & Tommy) will star in the world premiere of Lyonesse, a searingly funny and passionate new play by Penelope Skinner (The Village Bike, Fresh Meat) directed by Ian Rickson (Jerusalem, Uncle Vanya). Lyonesse will play a strictly limited season from 17 October – 23 December 2023 at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Tickets go on sale at midday on Thursday 29 June at www.lyonesseonstage.com.
Elaine (Kristin Scott Thomas) a reclusive and talented actress, disappears in mysterious circumstances. 30 years later, she finally feels ready to tell her story – summoning Kate, a young film executive (Lily James), to her remote Cornish home to assist with her glorious comeback.
But who really controls the stories we tell, and how we get to tell them? Will these women own their narrative, or will it be swept away from them at any given moment?
Lyonesse is a powerful story for our times by Penelope Skinner, winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for The Village Bike, and whose other works for stage include Angry Alan, Meek, Linda, The Ruins of Civilisation, Fred’s Diner, Eigengrau and F*cked. For screen, she was a writer on four seasons of Fresh Meat (Channel 4), wrote the film How I Live Now and, along with her sister Ginny Skinner, has created and written the upcoming TV thriller The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies (Sister/BBC1).
Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James join forces for the first time on stage for Lyonesse after appearing together in the Oscar and BAFTA winning film Darkest Hour (Working Title Films/ Universal) and screen adaptation of Daphne De Maurier’s Rebecca (Netflix/ Working Title). The play also reunites long-time collaborators Ian Rickson and Scott Thomas following their work together on The Seagull (Royal Court/ Broadway – for which Scott Thomas won an Olivier for her performance), Electra (Old Vic) and West End productions of Betrayal and Old Times (both produced by SFP). This will be Rickson’s twelfth collaboration with SFP including celebrated West End productions such as Jerusalem, Rosmersholm, Walden, The Children’s Hour and The Birthday Party. James last appeared on stage in the SFP production of All About Eve (West End).
Lyonesse will be designed by Georgia Lowe, with lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, music by Stephen Warbeck and sound by Tingying Dong.
Penelope Skinner said: ‘I am thrilled to be working with Ian Rickson to bring this story to life, alongside such a remarkable cast and creative team. I’m a huge admirer of both Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James, and am so grateful for Sonia Friedman’s faith and vision in giving this new play a home in the West End. I was inspired to write Lyonesse after wondering what would happen if the dramatic action of a traditional revenge tragedy was flipped, so that the story instead became about the person upon whom revenge had been sworn. Themes of creativity, purpose, isolation, violence, magic and mothers rushed to join in with this central provocation, and the characters of the story came into being.’
Kristin Scott Thomas said: ‘Working with Ian is one of the great joys of my professional life. And a new play is such an adventure. Penelope Skinner’s writing had me gripped from the first page. I love the questions the story raises. Acting with Lily is starting to become a habit. Luckily it’s good for everyone!’
Lily James said: ‘I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful company. I have always wanted to work with Ian Rickson. When I received Penelope Skinner’s brilliant play, I read it in one sitting and adored it – I was utterly gripped by these strong, original characters. To work with Sonia Friedman again is an absolute dream but most importantly, I am so happy to be reunited with my friend, Kristin Scott Thomas.’